Information Literacy Education in Asian Developing Countries: Cultural Factors Affecting Curriculum Development and Programme Delivery G E Gorman and Daniel G Dorner Victoria University of Wellington

Topics: Geert Hofstede, Information literacy, Education Pages: 24 (8093 words) Published: August 22, 2013
Date : 23/06/2006

Information Literacy Education in Asian Developing Countries: Cultural Factors Affecting Curriculum Development and Programme Delivery

G E Gorman and Daniel G Dorner Victoria University of Wellington

Meeting: Simultaneous Interpretation:

82 Division of Regional Activities Yes

WORLD LIBRARY AND INFORMATION CONGRESS: 72ND IFLA GENERAL CONFERENCE AND COUNCIL 20-24 August 2006, Seoul, Korea http://www.ifla.org/IV/ifla72/index.htm

Abstract The prevailing models of information literacy education (ILE) are contextually grounded in Western social and intellectual structures. For the most part these models follow the taxonomy developed in the 1950s by Bloom, which has been adopted as appropriate for developing societies without considering the contexts from which they are derived, and in which they are being applied. For ILE to be meaningfully embedded in the educational fabric of a developing country, it is important to take account of a range of contextual variables that affect how and why individuals learn. Focusing on ILE through the lens of cultural contextuality, this paper addresses three questions in relation to ILE in developing countries: How do we define information literacy in a developing country context? How do we best determine the educational objectives of information literacy education in a developing country context? How can cultural awareness improve information literacy education? Keywords Information literacy; Information literacy education; Developing countries; Cultural context; Geert Hofstede

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Introduction Culture, maintains Cutler (2005) is like an onion, multi-layered and increasingly intense as one peels away each layer. The outer skin consists of subjective elements such as visible behaviour, relationship styles, thinking and learning styles, organisation and work styles, communication styles. Beneath this surface layer are value systems and norms, shared values and accepted standards of behaviour; and at the deepest level are core cultural assumptions, what Cutler terms ‘basic “truths” about human identity and purpose, space, time, social organisation, ways of thinking and communicating that, for the most part, groups and their members are wholly unaware of’ (Cutler 2005, vol. 1, p. 76). In our view this way of visualising culture is instructive and informative, and in the context of this paper may in fact be the key to what we are seeking to understand – the way in which information literacy education models and techniques appear to be imported from one culture (i.e., typically ‘developed’ and ‘Western’) to another (i.e., typically ‘developing’ and ‘Southern’). The onion-image of culture can be applied at many levels: groups, organisations, institutions, regions, nations, etc. But each level tends to anchor its sense of culture at a different layer. For example, a teaching team culture (or indeed any ‘team’ of individuals) exists primarily at the level of behaviour (the outer layer of subjective culture) and much less at the level of core cultural assumptions, whereas ‘national culture often resides less in practices and more in taken-for-granted values and assumptions’ – that is, the inner layer of core cultural assumptions (Cutler 2005, p. 77).

Subjective culture

Norms and values

Core and values Norms cultural assimptions

Objective culture

Figure 1. Cutler’s Cultural ‘Onion’

In terms of information literacy education in developing countries these two quite different sets of cultural assumptions may well be setting up educational efforts for 2

failure. A Western-influenced information literacy curriculum, based on Western norms and taught according to Western pedagogical practices, may not succeed when it focuses on behavioural changes (as indeed it must, according to how we currently assess educational results in terms of outcomes). This is because, beneath the outer layer of visible behavioural styles, and learning and thinking styles,...

References: Aikenhead, G.S., and Jegede, O.J. (1999) ‘Cross-cultural Science Education: A Cognitive Explanation of a Cultural Phenomenon’. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 36, 269-287. Anderson, L.W., and Krathwohl, D.R, eds. (2001) A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Complete ed. New York: Addison Wesley Longman. Association of College and Research Libraries. (2000) Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. (accessed 11 Feb 2006). Bloom, B.S., et al. (1956) Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals. Handbook 1: Cognitive Domain. New York: Longmans, Green and Company. Costa, V.B. (1995) ‘When Science Is “Another World”: Relationships between Worlds of Family, Friends, School and Science’. Science Education 79: 313-333. Cutler, J. (2005) The Cross-Cultural Communication Trainer’s Manual. 2 vols. Aldershot: Gower Publishing.
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Geert Hofstede Cultural Dimensions. (accessed 11 Feb 2006). Note that this is not a site authorised by Hofstede and in fact has been the subject of litigation. While of some value, it contains errors and should be used with caution. Hofstede, G. (1980) Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in WorkRelated Values. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. Hofstede, G. (1986) ‘Cultural Differences in Teaching and Learning’. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 10: 301-320. Hofstede, G. (1991) Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. New York: McGraw-Hill. Hofstede, G., and Hofstede, G.J. (2005) Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. Intercultural Cooperation and Its Importance for Survival. New York: McGraw-Hill. Luke, A., and Kapitzke, C. (1999) ‘Literacies and Libraries: Archives and Cybraries’. Curriculum Studies 7, 3: 467-491. Norgaard, R. (2004) ‘Writing Information Literacy in the Classroom’. Reference & User Services Quarterly 43, 3: 220-226. Simmons, M.H. (2005) ‘Librarians as Disciplinary Discourse Mediators: Using Genre Theory to Move toward Critical Information Literacy’. portal: Libraries and the Academy 5, 3: 297-311. Waldrip, B.G., and Taylor, P.C. (1999) ‘Permeability of Students’ World Views to Their School Views in a Non-Western Developing Country’. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 36, 3: 289-303. Welcome to Geert Hofstede’s Homepage (2006) (Accessed 10 May 2006). This is Hofstede’s official website and contains very useful information on the Five Dimensions of Culture. Zhai, L. (2002) Studying International Students: Adjustment Issues and Social Support. San Diego, CA: University of California, Office of Institutional Research.
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