i3 conference held this week at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. Joseph Essel (one of my PhD students, in the University of Sheffield Information School) talked about Conceptions of the Information literate teacher by teacher trainees at a Ghanaian University. This is a phenomenographic study, investigating the variation in conceptions of the information literate teacher of trainee teachers in Winneba Univerity, Ghana.
He started by talking about the background to the study, including the changing information and teaching landscape, and the need for teachers to be information literate in order to develop information literate students. He identified that information literacy (IL) may not be well understood in developing countries, and that the conception of the information literate teacher has not been studied. The University of Education Winneba does aim to develop their trainee teachers as information literates, but there had not been extensive work to achieve this at the time of the study. Joseph went on to explain the nature of phenomenography, a qualitative approach which gives insight into the different ways in which people experience or conceive of a phenomenon.
25 participants (trainee teachers) were interviewed. Ages ranged from 25 to 42 (with 11 females and14 males), with a varied amount of teaching experience and teaching 12 different subjects between them. Five different conceptions of the information literate teacher were discovered:
1. Linguistic conception: the information literate teacher (ILT) is seen as knowing and speaking English (since this allowed you to access information in thre first place, and you also needed English to function effectively as a teacher)
2. ICT and information retrieval conception: ILT conceived of as being aware of ICT tools and able to use them
3. Critical awareness conception - acquiring the mindset to be able to evaluate and filter the information
4. Knowledge building conception, with the ILT deepening knowledge to become well informed
5. Professional growth category, with the ILT applying information to develop professional skills and knowledge, and becoming a professional teacher.
This is an inclusive hierarchy, with the first category including the second, the top category (category 5) including all the previous ones.
Photo by Sheila Webber: through a window in Dunnottar Castle, Scotland, June 2015