Conceptions of Teaching and Learning in the Context of a School Library Project: Preliminary Findings of a Follow-up Study

Eeva Kurttila-Matero 1 , Maija-Leena Huotari 2  and Terttu Kortelainen 3
  • 1 MNSc and Doctoral student, Finnish, Information Studies and Logopedics, Centre of Excellence in Research, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Finland. Email: eekurtti@mail.student.oulu.fi
  • 2 Professor, Finnish, Information Studies and Logopedics, Centre of Excellence in Research, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Finland. Email: maija-leena.huotari@oulu.fi
  • 3 University Lecturer, Finnish, Information Studies and Logopedics, Centre of Excellence in Research, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Finland. Email: terttu.kortelainen@oulu.fi

Abstract

The aim of this longitudinal (years 2002–2009), follow-up study is to increase understanding of potential changes in teachers' conceptions of teaching and learning when a school library was established and developed to change a school's operational culture and its way of working with information. An interdisciplinary approach was justified by the new definitions of both literacy and information literacy (IL), the curriculum's conception of learning, and the teaching practises in the schools. The Activity Theory is used to frame the phenomenon of the school's operational culture in the context of a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funded school library project. The data include reports written by the teachers of 11 comprehensive schools (grades 1–6) during 2002–2004, and teachers' group interviews in the same schools in 2009. The preliminary findings based on the qualitative content analysis of the first Data Set, including the use of QSR NVivo8, show that the teachers emphasised collaboration with other teachers, and they discussed about pedagogical issues after the project more than before. The teachers understood well the necessity to develop the pedagogy in relation to the school library space and materials. In the reports, the teachers focused on teaching IL, teacher collaboration, school's operational culture and teaching methods. The findings indicate that the school library project has increased the use of collaborative working methods and understanding of IL among teachers. The researchers' close involvement with the school library project may be considered as a limitation. However, it may give depth to the interpretation of the results. The next phase of the study will be the analysis of the interview data in relation to the written reports.

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Libri investigates the functions of libraries and information services from both a historical and present-day perspective and analyses the role of information in cultural, organizational, national and international developments.

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