DEVELOPMENT OF LIBRARY PERIOD PROGRAMME FOR TEACHING INFORMATION LITERACY SKILLS IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN NSUKKA.

DEVELOPMENT OF LIBRARY PERIOD PROGRAMME FOR TEACHING INFORMATION LITERACY SKILLS IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN NSUKKA.

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ABSTRACT

This study aimed at developing library period programme for teaching information literacy skills. In the study, library period programme (LPP) such as Library instruction, Story hour and project work were the independent variables. The dependent variables were literacy and communication skills, library use skills and critical thinking skills, all parts of information literacy skills. The study was an instrumentation research in which experiment was used to test effect of the developed curriculum. The population of the study included all primary 5 pupils of 15 public primary schools with libraries in Nsukka LGEA of Enugu state. The sample consisted of 346 primary 5 pupils of the 10 public primary schools purposively selected from the15 primary schools. However, random sampling was used to assign subjects to experimental and control group. The instruments for data collection were Library Period Programme (LPP), Observation and document analysis. In order to ascertain the effect of the curriculum, pre test was given to the whole subjects prior to the commencement of the teaching. Subjects received teaching covering the whole topics for second term-a period of 12 weeks. Post test was given thereafter and the hypothesis: There is no significant difference between the information literacy skills of pupils participating in library period programme and those not participating was tested using t- test statistics. The study also made use of mean score, standard deviation and charts to present and analyze data. Observations showed that pupils exhibited tremendous development as regard their literacy and communication skills, library use skills, and critical thinking skills during the cause of the treatment. It was also found out that pupils taught with library period curriculum did significantly better in the project given than those not taught. It was therefore concluded that the Library Period Programme (LPP) might be the powerful vehicle behind the higher performance of the experimental group. This had some implications for educational policy makers, school administrators, school librarians and class teachers. It was therefore recommended that all must join hands in the information literacy race to make pupils lifelong and comfortable learners.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study.

Information literacy is a vital key to belonging in the global community in this rapidly changing information age. It is only with information literacy that an individual would be self-aware and gather the life skills required in the society. According to American Library Association (2006), information literacy is the ability that enables individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information. Information literacy is the ability to access, evaluate and use information from a variety of sources For Doyle (1992). It is a process in which the learner needs to find, understand, evaluate and use information from its various forms to create for personal, social or global purposes.

            Information literate people have been described as those who have “learned how to learn” (ALA, 2006). In view of this, it is essential for life long learning activity and therefore encompasses knowledge of one’s information needs and ability to identify, locate, evaluate, organize and effectively use information to address issues or problems at hand, and is a prerequisite for participating effectively in the information society Webber and Johnson (2006). In the world’s education today, information literacy skills are critical to several of every nation’s educational goals. For instance, in the Nation Education Goal outlined in the Goal 2000 of United States of America Act, the aim was to increase “school readiness, student achievement and citizenship, and … lifelong learning” (United State Congress, 1994). Information literacy as Dike (2003) observed is at the heart of Nigerian educational philosophy cutting across all subjects. Life long learning is the bedrock of information literacy and therefore is a sine qua non for Nigerian education and this makes it a concept that should be stressed. The National Policy has made attempts to re-orient Nigerian education through information literacy hence; it stipulates that lifelong education should be the basis of the nation’s education policy, education activities shall be centered on the learner for maximum self-development and self-fulfillment among others (Nigeria, 2004). All people need to recognize when information is needed and know how to look for it.

           Information literacy is an umbrella term representing all forms of literacy skills, library use skills as well as critical thinking skills. Literacy skill is of great importance for information to be retrieved for it is only with this skill that one has access to information in many forms. Literacy according to the World Book Encyclopedia (2004) is defined as “the ability to read and write” as well as the “possession of enough reading and writing ability to function in society”. The skills that allow someone to perform well in the society would involve a “whole range of literacies, including visual literacy, media literacy, technological literacy, cultural literacy, computer literacy, among many others…..” (Amucheazi & Dike, 2002). The skills required for use of library are also information literacy skills. Through development of these skills, the library should no doubt be able to effect changes in attitude to learning; inculcate a spirit of enquiry; and promote the habit of seeking knowledge and information as basis for decision making. The use of library skills in learning to use information sources like computer and internet is now being stressed, as they involve knowing how to locate and access information from digital sources and present information in new ways, such as a power point presentation (Dike 2006).

            Information literacy skills in the dimension of critical thinking, have received increasing emphasis in modern education since there is need for everyone to adapt to changing circumstances. Thus, the expectation arises for one to know what they need, where to find it and how. The goal of critical thinking skills is a wise and ethical use of information in society. It therefore becomes necessary for critical thinking skills to be encouraged right from pre-primary school level. Dike (2008) notes that, among other library activities, project work is useful in developing critical thinking skills since information is relevant in problem solving and aids individuals to acquire the lifelong learning skills. According to Virkus (2003), increasing attention to information literacy in recent years is partly the result of information overload, especially related to the growth of digital information ….and partly of the new focus on student learning in lifelong context. The need for information literacy has now shifted to the citizens becoming active, effective and responsible through this continuous learning. The necessity for lifelong learning therefore makes information literacy vital for primary school pupils since they ought to be acquainted with these skills from the scratch for assessing information for reliability and relevance and for recording and organizing information (Dike 2003). The teachers also need critical thinking skills in order to teach students the skills in finding, sifting and integrating information from a variety of sources. Because critical thinking is an important educational outcome for pupils, there is need for education administrators to find strategies to help foster critical thinking as a means to enhance information evaluation and information literacy among pupils. This will ultimately help students, both young and old, to think for themselves.

           The school library is an ideal setting for development of information literate individuals. School libraries help in equipping a school child with the necessary information literacy skills needed presently. Udoh (2004) observes that the school library is the bedrock of education and should constitute a part of the design for any successful educational programme to ensure excellence. In other words, the school library provides significant opportunities for helping children learn how to access, evaluate and use information from variety of sources. The world Book Encyclopedia (2004) points out that school libraries are essential to teaching and learning activities of a school. As teachers need resources that will help them improve classroom instruction, student must also be able, with the help of the school library to know what they need, how to find them and where to search for them. The school library provides an atmosphere for building in a schoolteacher or a child for that matter, the ability to identify whenever they need information and critically use it. The importance of school library cannot be overemphasized. The school library is important in instructing and entertaining children through the use of a variety of media to access and use information. Ogunsheye (2001) stressed that it should be the centre of intellectual activities in the school so as to develop in pupils and teachers the appropriate library use skills that would facilitate the full exploitation of the library resources and in effect, enhance the acquisition of lifelong learning skills. Primary school libraries provide children with their first chance to use and enjoy a library. They need opportunities to use library materials in developing creativity and reasoning skills and those opportunities can be provided by library periods.

            Library periods are of special significance to the growth of information literacy. This time is a class period carved out for school children to learn how they can use the library and its contents to gain various skills that help them in continuous learning. For Dike (2008), it has to do with “a time set aside for pupils to learn how use the library and its resources and by so doing acquire the skills for lifelong learning” The library period reinforces the goal of school libraries and education, in order words, it helps pupils to develop information literacy skills, promotes reading as well as provides resources in support of the school curriculum. Ogunsheye, Elaturoti, Kolade and Oniyide (2001) stated that “Education can only be deemed effective if it enables the individual to seek, discover and therefore to continue his own education”. Usoro and Usanga (2007) therefore urged that there must be a period that is set aside for users to acquire these skills since school libraries aim at supporting the school programme, providing library materials for pupils, helping pupils to learn how to learn, etc.  This makes it even more imperative for there to be a programme designed to guide the librarians in using this period effectively. Hence, Adeniyi (2005) urges programme/ curriculum developers and reviewers to look at the various designs and apply them to the development of various school programmes, academic programmes and activities.

           Oraifor (2005) sees curriculum development as having to do with the process of planning, executing and disseminating a set of learning experiences for purpose of bringing changes in the learner. There is the need for a programme which could guide the librarians in using the library period in a very effective way as to help build pupils’ information literacy skills. The library period curriculum, when developed, will serve as a guide on the ways of teaching information literacy skills in connection with the school curriculum. Education is broadly viewed as lifelong process spanning the years from infancy to adulthood. A viable and dynamic educational system is often based upon the development of information literacy skills, which endow the learner, particularly primary school pupils, with strength to forge ahead in the future. For pupils to develop their information literacy skill fully there is need to incorporate the library period into their school curriculums.

           The issue of using the library period in Nigerian school and in Enugu State primary schools in particular needs to be considered urgently. The library period has been a long- standing recommendation by librarians to be a means of integrating school curriculum using library resources. Having recently received an approval of its inclusion in the school timetable, it is surprising that its implementation is still not achievable in primary school. This may be due to lack of time since there seems to be too many subjects taken each school day. This congestion may have made the inclusion unrealistic. It could also be as a result of lack of libraries in primary schools for without libraries, it would be difficult for the library programme to be carried out. Library services are very easily conducted in schools with library facilities. It also makes learning more efficient. The school administrators may not have recognized the essence of library period in the development of children’s lifelong learning. Indeed, the need to include the library periods as part of the school timetable with content designed to suit the syllabus of the school cannot be overestimated as without the library period, it becomes difficult for teachers and pupils to make maximum use of library resource to expand their horizon of learning. The necessity calls for programmes that encourage shifts in the roles of teachers and learners and such changes are essential to prepare learners to live and work in an information-centered society (Hancock, 2004). Educational professionals need to underscore the importance of high information quality and students in general need to be trained to distinguish between fact and opinion. They should encourage all students to examine “causes” of behaviors, actions and events in other words; people evaluate more effectively when causes are revealed (Eisenberg, Lowe & Spitzer, 2004).

            Nsukka central local government is a place of interest in the area of school library development. It is located in the centre of Nsukka Central Senatorial Zone of Enugu state and a former part of Nsukka Central Local Government Area has benefited greatly in the aid of both governmental and non-governmental agencies. One of such agencies is the World Bank assisted project through the Universal Basic Education (UBE). This agency had two focus schools in this local government; these are Model Primary School II, and Enugu Road Primary School I. These school libraries were built with collections of assorted kind with an aim to encourage library services among children. Educational Trust Fund (ETF) has also helped in developing some school libraries-Model Primary School II and Agu-Achara Primary School. This they realized by donating furniture to these school libraries as well as in some other part of the country. Some schools in Oyo benefited from ETF donation. Universal Basic Education (UBE) in Nigeria has also helped immensely in developing school libraries. This was to meet the objective of the National Policy on Education to give the child opportunity for developing in manipulative skills among others. Many schools benefited from UBE collection, Nsukka inclusive. These schools are Community Primary School II, Nru, Umuagu; Primary School, Nru, Hilltop Primary School, Obimo and Community Primary School, Onuiyi. Children’s Centre Library (CCL), UNN has also helped in the development of school libraries, Prison Libraries and other libraries such as public libraries, etc. This is an organization started up by the University Women’s Association. Their assistance to primary schools libraries started around 1998 and all schools that made effort in building a library, through the support of Parent’s Teachers’ Association (PTA) or tasking pupils for little donations, got a good number of collections from the C.C.L. Such schools are Township Primary Schools I and II, Central School I, Community Primary School I & II, Nru, Central School, Nru, Community Primary School, Obimo; Community Primary School, Nguru and Umuakashi/Achara Primary School. The Children’s Center Library has realized this objective of developing libraries in association and with the support of the People’s United for Libraries in Africa (P.U.L.A), a foreign non governmental organization that tries to reach out to unprivileged set of schools that may not have benefited from library development (A personal meeting with Prof V.W. Dike, 20th October, 2009).
            If these skills of information literacy are considered as sine qua non in the lives of pupils, the urgency of inculcating the library period into the school curriculum will be examined. This is what moved the researcher to develop library period programmes, which would build the information literacy skills of the children. Thus, it is based on this background that the researcher intends to undertake the study.

Statement of the Problem

            Information literacy skills are essential for lifelong learning. This is because information is increasingly needed for survival at this age. The world is rapidly changing that everyone needs to change with it thereby having all it takes to adapt with the changing world. The National Policy on Education (Nigeria, 2004 section 1 No.9b) has found these information literacy skills very crucial in her policy and has tried to re-emphasize lifelong learning in Nigerian education by stipulating that learning shall be centered on the learner and educational resource centre shall be provided.  In spite of this, there is still a problem in developing information literacy skills in children. Children are not easily developing these skills (Dike, 2003, Moore, 1997, etc). The reason could be that the school environment is not often conducive or the teacher-centered educational system where children are just taught to read textbooks for examination. The reason could also be attributed to lack of time for teachers to dwell more on the school content. Library periods have been identified by previous authors as a way of developing these skills of information literacy for their to reinforce the goals of school library and education by assisting in teaching pupils how they can learn to identify, access, and use variety of resources.  

            Unfortunately, this essential period has not yet been adequately incorporated into the school timetable despite the repeated calls. This may be due to inability on the side of school administrators to see the essence of it. Library period curriculum helps to guide teacher-librarians on how they could make maximum use of library period and library resources to make children comfortable lifelong seekers of information. If curriculum could be designed, it will make it easy for teachers and librarians to know how to use the library period.

Based on the above context, the research has decided to develop a library period programme for teaching information literacy skills in primary schools. If curriculum is not developed, there may be a hindrance in using the library period in schools. This may in turn continue to delay the building of information literacy skills in primary school pupils.

Purpose of the Study 

           This study aimed at developing library period for teaching information literacy skills in primary schools in Nsukka. The Specific objectives of the study include to:

1.      identify information literacy skills that could be incorporated into the library period programme/  curriculum.

2.      determine methods for developing information literacy skills in primary school pupils.

3.      identify curricular content to be integrated in library period progrmmes.

4.      assess the effect of the library period programmes on information literacy skills of pupils.

Research Questions

           The   following research questions were designed to attain the aim of this study.

  1. What information literacy skills could be incorporated into the library period programme/ curriculum?
  2. What methods could be employed for developing information literacy skills in primary school pupils?
  3. What curricular content could be integrated in library period progrmmes?
  4. What effect do library period programmes have on information literacy skills of pupils?

Significance of the Study

            This study will be of great significance to educational policy makers, school administrators, school librarians, teachers as well as potential researchers        

            The findings of this study will be beneficial in raising awareness of educational policy makers in the sense that they will realize the role library plays in lifelong learning and skill acquisition. This would make them to include library period in the educational policy thereby laying more emphasis on the need for information literacy to be built in children. Additionally, from the results of this study, the school administrators will derive a great knowledge on the essence of library period in the school timetables thereby fully integrating it in the curriculum to ensure the attainment of educational objectives. This would also ginger them to make provision for school librarian who would make services to be discharged during this available period.   

Furthermore, the school Librarians would have a common standard programme that could be used to teach pupils items in the curriculum. Ultimately, their role in influence teaching and learning positively will be realized and in effect, children’s literacy, literary, use and critical thinking skills would be bull. Again, the findings of this work will help enlighten teachers on the need to integrate the library period programmes with the school curriculum. They would know the essence of giving the librarian the opportunity to build up children’s/ pupils’ skills from what has taught them. Hence, this will create room for sharing and cooperation between them and the school librarian this work will help enlighten teachers. More so, with the development of the library period programme, children themselves will have the opportunity to engage in library activities which will in turn build their lifelong learning in them. 

           Finally, it is hoped that this study will be helpful for those that are interested in carrying out experiment on children’s literacy, school librarianship and information literacy thereby contributing to literature available

Hypothesis

            Ho: There is no significant difference between the information literacy skills of pupils participating in the library period programme and those not participating.

Scope of the Study.

           This study was delimited to primary school pupils in Nsukka Central Educational Zone. The public primary schools used were only those that have libraries in them. The content of the work focused on the development of library period programme for teaching information literacy skills.




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