Australian School Library Association response to The shape of the national curriculum: A proposal for discussion.
The Australian School Library Association Inc. (ASLA) appreciates the opportunity to provide feedback to the development of the national curriculum.
Our association acknowledges the need to develop ‘a continuum of learning in literacy and numeracy skills, ranging from basic competencies in the early years through to the advancement of extension of these skills in the middle and later years of schooling’ (p. 6).
Concerns that ASLA has is the limiting scope that ‘the foundations of literacy will be built primarily in English’ (p. 6) and ‘literacy will be broadened to include communications skills’ (p.9).
A common position is that literacy relates to the development of reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing skills. These skills are essential for every learner.
Another area of concern is the assumption that information and communication (ICT) competence equates to ‘the ability to evaluate the source, reliability, accuracy and validity of information’ (p. 9). These competencies should be considered under information literacy. ‘To be information literate an individual must recognise when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information’ (American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy, 1989). ASLA’s policy statement for information literacy can be found at Information literacy
ASLA has consistently promoted a learning matrix for student learning that includes literacy, information literacy and information & communication technologies (ICT) literacy. This matrix is based on a developmental and sequential approach (a continuum of learning) to skills acquisition from early childhood through to senior secondary with a cross curriculum focus. ASLA’s learning matrix is based on common language as sourced from the eight curriculum profiles for Australian schools documents published in 1994 by the Curriculum Corporation. Teacher librarians throughout Australian schools provide school library programs that utilise the learning matrix to assist students to develop information literacy and fluency and a level of proficiency in ICT skills.
The reference to ‘annotated student work samples ... to illustrate the differences in quality of student work’ is of significant relevance to the work of ASLA and teacher librarians. ASLA’s learning matrix was a key component in the production of a professional development CD-ROM, Teaching information skills, in 1997. The CD-ROM presents 12 case studies of classroom activity in the development of information skills for students from lower primary to upper secondary. Annotated student work samples provide evidence of a student’s competency in the content area and the process of learning.*
As an association, representing teacher librarians, we would encourage the National Curriculum Board to take a strong stand on the inclusion of information literacy as a viable and visible component in the development of the national curriculum for Australia.
Submitted: 17 December 2008
*Note: A copy of the CD-ROM, Teaching information skills, was sent to the National Curriculum Board.