ETL401 Teacher Librarianship

This is the beginning of my two year Masters of Education – Teacher Librarianship adventure. I’m eager to learn and have already begun reading and downloading prescribed texts. I’m a little nervous as I’ve never blogged before but I have high hopes and fingers crossed as I embark on this educational journey.

The School Librarian as Teacher: What kind of teacher are you?
By B.J Hamilton was an interesting read.

The article highlights the importance of ‘learning’. It acknowledges that Teachers and Students need to continually collaborate in order to ensure the best possible learning outcomes. A good research base = relevant results. Reflection and self-assessment ensure the right resource material is accessed and deepens a students understanding of the topic at hand.

Been reading Topic One Modules. Makes me feel a little more prepared now i’ve learnt to navigate the CSU Library Search engines. ‘My Folder’ is so handy, won’t need a pen and paper to jot down relevant assessment information results.

How can you define a Teacher Librarian when their role within the school environment is so multifaceted? They are educators, librarians, literacy leaders, mangers, developers and information specialists. Their role is ever changing largely due to the changing face of technology.

To gain professional excellence Teacher Librarians need to adapt to new pedagogies and technologies (Herring, J 2007) in order to best serve their students and their school. They must be committed to this cause and be willing to continue to learn/adapt throughout their professional practice.

In the school environment Herring (2007) view the teacher librarian is seen as a vital part of the school community.  They are an administrator and a collaborative teacher, a skilled professional who is integral to the culture and learning of the school, rather than simply a useful addition to the school staff. His viewpoint on the teacher librarian largely focuses on their role as an extension of the classroom. Integrating what is learnt in the classroom throughout library programs and vice versa.

REFERENCE:

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries in the twenty-first century : charting new directions in information (pp. 27-42). Wagga Wagga, NSW : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University. Retrieved from: http://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/herring-j.pdf

The Four Habits of Highly Effective Librarians – Gilman, T (2007)
Openness- Responsiveness-Collaboration- Communication
The above four habits should be kept in mind when striving for professional excellence as a TL. Listen, acknowledge and communicate openly with your colleages, remember there is no ‘i’ in team.
http://chronicle.com/article/The-Four-Habits-of-Highly-E/46544/

As a Teacher it is always hard to determine when work stops and my home life begins. Especially when i have marking or reports to finalise. For me the line always seems blurred. I constantly bring work home as extra curricular activities like running the school choir or coaching the school netball team take up a lot of work time at work.

A new thing that I have learnt from this article is the 100% rule. I’ve never really been one to do things half heartedly. Knowing “what needs 100% of your time and what does not” will certainly help me with more effective time management in the future.
http://www.time-management-success.com/time-management-for-teachers.html.

Chapter 13 – Conflict Resolution in Australian Library Supervision and Management by Sanders, R (2004)

Conflict is not always a negative connotation. It can also been seen as a way to evolve or improve certain work place situations/procedures. It is only negative if unresolved.

On reflection of the article I have learnt that it is ok to listen. I’m a bit of a talker and will admit that I like having my opinions heard. I need to keep in mind during conflict resolution that my opinion is not the only one that matters. That it is ok to listen. That it won’t necessarily been seen as me backing down or giving in. I can take a step back and allow others to be heard. Based on this conclusion I will need to listen actively in the future to both colleagues and students to ensure i make my work place more productive.

It’s also good to know that most people feel like I do when it come to conflict in the work place. “If you ever find it difficult to communicate with your subordinates or supervisors, or if you find it difficult to say ‘no’ without feeling guilt, or if you find dealing with management and professional colleagues to be an intimidating experience, you are not alone!” (Sanders, R 2004).

http://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/sanders4.pdf

Boss and Krauss 2007 – Reinventing project-based learning (PBL)

So it seems that you can actually teach an old dog some new tricks. This chapter was eye opening and highly encouraging. PBL transforms learning into a more active, student-driven experience. It recognises digital tools are essential features of student’s everyday environment and incorporates them into a classroom setting. It also focuses on projects that immerse students in ‘real-world’ learning.

I realise for a few years I have based some of my class topics around this style of teaching. After reading this article, I now know that there is a name for this kind of teaching and learning and that there also  is evidence out there to support this type of methodology . I was thinking of going to my local coop bookshop and ordering the whole text.

REFERENCES:

Boss, S. & Krauss, J. (2007). Reinventing project-based learning. International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved on 09/08/2012, from:
http://www.iste.org/images/excerpts/REINVT-excerpt.pdf

Topic: 3  TL and the Curriculum

IBL – Inquiry Based Learning   (EDUTECHWIKI)

Inquiry Based Learning in its basic form is when a student takes learning into their own hands. This learning is carefully guided by the teacher librarian and occurs in a well structured learning environment. IBL help stufents  to transform information and data into useful knowledge.

Cyclic Inquiry Model – This model encourages students to build upon prior knowledge, to ask and answer their own questions and to create new ideas and concepts from their found results.

Ask-investigate-create-discuss-reflect

Ask: student looks to define a problem or question
Investigate: collect information to solve the question/problem
Create: collected information begins to merge into an answer
Discuss: compare notes, share ideas/experiences
Reflect: take time to look back on the results, has a solution been found?

Supporting location-based inquiry learing across school, field and home contexts.

Technology can play a vital role in the implementation and support of inquiry learning.  A major challenge in incorporating technological skills and knowledge acquired by students is that what happens in the classroom does not necessarily occur outside  in the real world. This eight week study looks at how students transfer their mobile information literacy skills between home and school.

REFERENCES:

Collins, T. et al (2008) Supporting location-based inquiry learning across school, field and home contexts. [Conference]. Retrieved on 09/08/2012, from: http://oro.open.ac.uk/12393/1/mlearn-2008-0025-collins-crc.pdf

Edutechwiki. (2010). Inquiry Based Learning. [wiki post]. Retrieved 09/08/2012, from: http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Inquiry-based_learning

Plus Model Herring, J. and Tarter, A. (2007)

The plus model is an interactive tool /model that should be used to support student learning in regards to their effective use of learning resources. It places important emphasis on thinking skills and self-evaluation.

Using the plus model as an information skills scaffold for students has proven successful in improving planning, researching, information collection and overall structuring of student assignments.

Purpose – Location – Use – Self Evaluation

Topic 4 Information Literacy

There seems to be no definitive agreement on how to define information literacy. One thing that can be agreed upon is that students must be information literate in order to obtain lifelong learning skills.

Langford (1998) argues historically literacy was interpreted as a basic ability to read, write and comprehend. Today Information literacy is a transformational process in which the learner needs to find, understand, evaluate and appropriately use information. A tool that will constantly be developed throughout a person’s lifetime.

The emergence of new digital literacy’s also adds Henri (1995) argues the label information literacy is fuzzy. That teachers are not even clear about what is meant by the term or how it even relates to classroom practice.

Another point that must be made is that the teacher librarian is not the only educator who should support information literacy skills. Effort must be made across the entire school community and imbedded into the whole school curriculum.

Heres an interesting flick about the importance of certified school librarians. NY Schools Need School Librarians

REFERENCE:

Langford, L. (1998). Information Literacy.  A clarification on the educational technology journey. From Now On The Educational Technology Journey. 4(1), 59-72.

I have blurry eyes from finally completing all my topic 4 readings and my mind boggles with all I’ve learnt. I agree a world of possibilities is spread before us as educators and students. A clearer clarification of the term ‘information literacy’ is sorely needed and will best be sort through collaboration. It must incorporate 21st century elements of learning as Candy states we are being bombarded by other concepts of literacy i.e. functional, visual, and political etc. All types of information resources should be included under the umbrella of information literacy.

Herrings Plus model greatly appealed to me as it highlights the importance of thinking skills and self-evaluation. The fact that it has been shown to successfully enhance student learning was also encouraging.

Just how many literacy models does it take to make a successful Teacher librarian? The list was endless however The Big 6 and Guided inquiry by Kuhlthau and Todd resonated with me.

The issue of transfer was also enlightening. The fact that there is minimal academic writing on this topic exasperates me. What is more important than finding out to what extent our Students transfer information literacy skills across time and across the curriculum. After all isn’t the principal function of education to prepare our students to be successful in the workplace and lifelong learners?

“One aspect of information literacy in schools that has been largely ignored in the literature is that of transfer. The question might be asked: To what extent do students transfer information literacy skills across time and across the curriculum? Transfer is seen as one of the key aspects of education, in both primary and secondary schools. For example, teachers will expect students to transfer skills, techniques and abilities from year to year, building on their previous knowledge e.g., in English, History, Maths or Science. Also, teachers also actively encourage transfer by recapping what has been taught before”. (CSU Module Topic 4. (2012).  Information Literacy and Transfer.  Retrieved on 21/08/2012).

“There are many assumptions made by teacher librarians, teachers and school management about information literacy and transfer in high schools. For example, school staff may assume: that information literacy is developed across the school that there is a common understanding in the school of information literacy that all students understand the concepts that lie behind information literacy teaching that transfer of knowledge and skills is a key element of high school education
that students will transfer knowledge and skills across time and across the curriculum as a matter of course that students and school staff will view information literacy teaching in a similar way”. (CSU Module Topic 4. (2012).  Information Literacy and Transfer.  Retrieved on 21/08/2012).

REFERENCES:

Abilock, D. (2004). Information literacy: an overview of design, process and outcomes.

Ipri, T. (2010). Introducing transliteracy. College & Research Libraries News, 71(10), 532-567.

Herring, J. and Tarter, A. (2007). Progress in developing information literacy in a secondary school using the PLUS model. School Libraries in View, 23, 23-27.

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2007). Assessment in guided inquiry. In Guided inquiry: Learning in the 21st century (pp. 111-131). Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited. Available CSU Library Reserve.

Lorenzo, G. (2007). Catalysts for Change: Information Fluency, Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and the New Education Culture, Clarence Center, NY: Lorenzo Associates, Inc., March.

Mueller, J. (2008). Assessing skill development. Library Media Connection, 27(3), 18-20. Available EBSCOHost

Pappas, M. L. (2007). Tools for the assessment of learning. School Library Media Activities Monthly, 23(9), 21-25.

Warlick, D. (2007). Literacy in the new information landscape, Library Media Connection, 26, 20-21).

I have completed all my topic five readings and am currently up-to-date with everything but I cannot help feeling a little overwhelmed by all this new information. The course is certainly getting me to question and open my mind to new concepts I’ve never really thought about before.

Topic Five Collaborative Practice

I have learnt quality relationships are the key to successful collaboration. Those between a teacher and a student, teacher librarians and teachers, teacher librarians and the principal are all essential parts of a successful collaboration. All parties must have a clear purpose and work together to achieve each goal. The main focus will always be centred on student learning.

At the end of the day the essential focus of education is student learning. Teacher librarians, principals and teachers should all have this ideal in mind. Isn’t it a lot easier and more enjoyable to collaborate with others? Personally it takes the stress out of a lot of my daily routines. After all as Fullan (1999) states the quality of relationships is central to success. Knowledge, expertise and the continuous development of best practices are also essential but when there is a genuine vision people excel.

Personalising collaboration is important – sometimes when I read the literature, I forget how relational collaboration is meant to be. It is important to be friendly and approachable in order to want people to collaborate with you. But this is a hard thing to measure empirically.

REFERENCES:

Cibulka, J., Coursey, S.,Nakayama, M., Price, J. & Stewart, S. (2003). Schools as learning organisations: A review of the literature. National College for School Leadership, UK.

Fullan, M. (1999). Chapter 3: The deep meaning of inside collaboration. In Change forces: The sequel, (pp.31-41). London, Falmer Press, available CSU Library.

Senge, P. (2007). Chapter 1: Give me a lever long enough … and single-handed I can move the world. In The Jossey-Bass reader on educational leadership, 2nd ed. (pp.3-15), available CSU Library.

Nearing the end of ETL401 and focusing on the final assignment. I’ve really enjoyed this new challenge. Better get back to it.

CiSSL Talks – School Libraries and Diverse Student Needs
Here’s a video where Dr Ross Todd discusses school libraries and diverse student needs. It  contains some thought provoking stuff.

Progress in developing information literacy in  a secondary school using the PLUS model By Herring, J.E and Tater, Anne-Marie.

This article provided a critical evaluation on the progress of developing information literacy in a United Kingdom school. It provides TL’s with suggestions rather than preaching about what must be done. Developing information skills is one of the TL’s primary roles. This development occurs best when students are given the opportunity to provide feedback to their educators on how well they believe they used their IL skills and on what they can improve on in the future. Incorporating Herring’s ‘iterative’ PLUS model furthers their IL progression as students can move from stage-to-stage retracing their progress and reviewing their actions as they go.

I’m slowly working my way through Assignment 2. Cannot believe it was only 13 weeks ago that I embarked on this wonderful learning adventure. I am overwhelmed and excited by the difference a teacher librarian can make in student’s learning and across the wider school community. Through successfully integrating information literacy models and by reinforcing student’s ability to locate, filter through and utilise information effectively TL’s can really make a difference.

The Future of School Libraries
Found this video. It discusses the role technology plays in student learning.

Re-reading forum posts at the moment. I’ve really enjoyed reading them all. It has been a wonderful way to vent any concerns, check other people’s perspectives and consolidate my own opinions. Better go I’m certainly procrastinating and must get back to my essay.

Topic Responses ETL401

Topic 2:
Compare and contrast the above views of Herring, Purcell, Lamb, and Valenza.

• How should TLs prioritise the roles they play in the school?
Teacher Librarians must be organised and prioritise effectively when it comes to the multitude of roles they play in schools. Above all else they must remember that the students are their first priority. “Library missions should be focused on the effective learning and teaching in a school”. (Herring 2007)
Tl’s must set out to develop a ‘time study’ plan and stick to it (Purcell)

• Are there other roles played by TLs, e.g. social roles?
Be an advocate for change. Embrace, exploit and share their knowledge on new technologies. Make their voices heard.

• How do Lamb’s views on the TL roles compare and contrast with those of Herring and Purcell?
Lamb believes in being a teacher first, collaborating with teachers to make lifelong learners. Herring and Purcell more focused on developing information literate students. Supporting students/ teachers and actively participating in learning outcomes.

After reading these articles and viewing some of the 30 second thought podcasts, think about:
The TL role of the past is certainly endangered and if not already soon to be extinct. TL’s must move with the times. Be willing to embrace new technology and adapt to new ways of learning. We cannot ignore 21st technological advancements.

There is a strong need to redefine the role of a teacher librarian who must successfully navigate staff/students through this new technological age.
A TL’s role is extremely daunting. A comforting thought for me is that even though the role seems insurmountable a step at a time is all it takes.

Topic 3:
PBL seems extremely daunting. Yet after reading this chapter I feel encouraged. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks.

PBL does sound fantastic on the surface but I also believe some students could be left behind i.e. special needs or LD. Of course students should be free to explore and find answers to real world questions and challenges. But without an authoritative voice in the classroom how can we ensure students are obtaining accurate answers to the questions they seek?

Activity
• What is an appropriate role for the teacher librarian in curriculum development?
• What benefits can a school obtain from the active involvement of the teacher librarian in curriculum development?
• Should a principal expect that teachers would plan units of work with the teacher librarian?
• How are students disadvantaged in schools that exclude the teacher librarian from curriculum development?
Teachers are learners too.
“When teachers facilitate well-designed projects that use digital tools, they do much more
than create memorable learning experiences. They prepare students to thrive in a world
that’s certain to continue changing”. Boss and Krauss p.13 2007 reinventing project based learning
Motivated students will take an active role in their learning.
Build on students prior knowledge by asking questions and searching through a viartiey of different resources to obtain relevant answers.
Maybe you can actually teach an old dog some new tricks.

Topic 4:
I have blurry eyes from finally completing all my topic 4 readings and my mind boggles with all I’ve learnt. I agree a world of possibilities is spread before us as educators and students. A clearer clarification of the term ‘information literacy’ is sorely needed and will best be sort through collaboration. It must incorporate 21st century elements of learning as Candy states we are being bombarded by other concepts of literacy i.e. functional, visual, and political etc. All types of information resources should be included under the umbrella of information literacy.
Herrings Plus model greatly appealed to me as it highlights the importance of thinking skills and self-evaluation. The fact that it has been shown to successfully enhance student learning was also encouraging.

Topic 5:
A teacher librarian should make sure that you are always approachable. A friendly smile or hello in the corridor is a great start to opening the door to collaboration.

TL’s should build relationships with staff and students that then naturally progress towards collaborative practice.
Tl’s should find some time to volunteer, put up your hand for anything and everything within the school community. Show you are willing and ready to lend a hand.

At the end of the day the essential focus of education is student learning. Teacher librarians, principals and teachers should all have this ideal in mind. Isn’t it a lot easier and more enjoyable to collaborate with others? Personally it takes the stress out of a lot of my daily routines. After all as Fullan (1999) states the quality of relationships is central to success. Knowledge, expertise and the continuous development of best practices are also essential but when there is a genuine vision people excel.
Just how many literacy models does it take to make a successful Teacher librarian? The list was endless however The Big 6 and Guided inquiry by Kuhlthau and Todd resonated with me.

The issue of transfer was also enlightening. The fact that there is minimal academic writing on this topic exasperates me. What is more important than finding out to what extent our Students transfer information literacy skills across time and across the curriculum. After all isn’t the principal function of education to prepare our students to be successful in the workplace and lifelong learners?

Topic 6:
For me the lines between work and home life are always blurred. I never seem to find the right balance. The extra-curricular activities I run at school such as choir practice and netball coaching mean that I have less time for program development, marking etc. Thus work in some form or another always seems to come home with me. I was releaved to learn of the 100% rule – knowing what needs 100% of your time and what doesn’t. Something i will try to incorporate it.

Chapter 13 – Conflict Resolution in Australian Library Supervision and Management by Sanders, R (2004)

Conflict is not always a negative connotation. It can also been seen as a way to evolve or improve certain work place situations/procedures. It is only negative if unresolved.
On reflection of the article I have learnt that it is ok to listen. I’m a bit of a talker and will admit that I like having my opinions heard. I need to keep in mind during conflict resolution that my opinion is not the only one that matters. That it is ok to listen. That it won’t necessarily been seen as me backing down or giving in. I can take a step back and allow others to be heard. Based on this conclusion I will need to listen actively in the future to both colleagues and students to ensure I make my work place more productive.

It’s also good to know that most people feel like I do when it comes to conflict in the work place. “If you ever find it difficult to communicate with your subordinates or supervisors, or if you find it difficult to say ‘no’ without feeling guilt, or if you find dealing with management and professional colleagues to be an intimidating experience, you are not alone!” (Sanders, R 2004).

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