The information literacy and continuous professional development practices of teachers at a Jewish day school.
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COGAN, A. and MARTZOUKOU, K. 2018. The information literacy and continuous professional development practices of teachers at a Jewish day school. Reference services review [online], Earlycite. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1108/RSR-12-2017-0045
This study investigated how in-service teachers within the context of an American Jewish day school perceive, practice and develop Information Literacy (IL), as a sociocultural practice and through Continuing Professional Development (CPD). A research gap exists in relation to empirical studies which examine sociocultural IL practices and the CPD learning experiences of in-service teachers within the professional environment of their work. Two emergent and compatible frameworks for investigating teachers' IL practices and CPD in context are identified and discussed within that context: the sociocultural approach and the interactive Continuing Professional Development (CPD) model. The research adopted an interpretivist phenomenological perspective via interviews with six teachers to explore their IL experiences through semi-structured in-depth interviews. Questions among others, addressed the participants' previous background, the working culture of the school, approaches to learning and developing new knowledge, sources and methods of obtaining work-related information, information literacy practices, and the differences between IL and CPD practices. Although teachers value the role of IL in their professional lives and they have confidence in their performance of it, they remain confounded by the IL terminology. Within the teachers' everyday working environment, the primacy of social and embodied information and the centrality of information sharing demonstrated the social and experiential nature of learning and the significance of contextualisation to IL development. The study found that IL, CPD and learning were found to be inseparable as they intersected within a single, organic situated learning practice of becoming an expert in context. This research makes valuable contributions to theory by supplying empirical evidence of sociocultural IL practices, linking the currently disparate scholarships on IL, CPD and learning, and providing suggestions for future research. In addition, the research demonstrates alternative avenues for developing teachers' IL and offers recommendations for supporting their CPD.