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ETL 503 Assignment 2 Reflections

My expectations coming in to this subject was of building a library collection with resources from all different formats. I have experience in the library field as a library assistant, so I was looking at this subject as a library assistant and not from a leadership point of view. What I didn’t count on was the amount of effort that a teacher-librarian (TL) must do in their role behind the scenes.

As I progressed through the subject I was able to gain a deeper appreciation for the leadership role of a TL. This was evident while working on the Collection Development Policy (CDP), I found this particularly challenging because I didn’t have access to an original CDP and I hit the ground running by developing my own, needless to say I felt very overwhelmed and I seemed to be in doubt of my newly acquired knowledge. However, the forums were very useful and cleared a lot of hesitation in my mind. My biggest hurtle was adapting myself around online learning. This is my first subject in my journey to become a TL, and I was side-blinded by the amount of effort, time and lack of social life this subject was going to take up.

The content that has been covered in the subject is a fantastic foundation for starting off as a TL. I have a greater understanding about the tools, policies and procedures used in developing a collection policy. I had very little knowledge about how to evaluate a collection, as a library assistant it is practical approach. This subject gave me a deeper understanding of evaluation tools like collection mapping. I look forward to building on this and the need to organise a committee to write a CDP.

What I have learned is that a school library collection is to support the school curriculum and the school community by providing a value and scope to the collection. In the assignment I wrote: That students and staff utilise our resources and opportunities in order to become effective communicators, critical thinkers, and productive citizens who are ethical users and creators of information. This subject has given me a deeper understanding of what to purchase for a collection, and with the content that has been covered I believe I have a good chance of being able to maintain a collection that satisfies this vision.

The TL, must take on a leadership role to manage the library collection, and by that, the TL must have a clear understanding of the purpose and goals of the collection in order to meet the needs of the stakeholders.

I now feel that I have a sound grounding in these areas and would be able to successfully implement them, as well as develop assessment of a collection and subsequent policies and procedures, which address the aims and needs of both the library and school as a whole.

References

Bishop, K. (2007). Community analysis and needs assessment. In The collection program in schools: concepts, practices and information sources. (4th ed.). p19-24. Westport, Conn. : Libraries Unlimited.

Gregory, V.L.(2011). Collection development and management for 21st century library collections. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.


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Task C: Reflections of the role of the teacher librarian

Previous Perceptions

I have experience working in public libraries as a library assistant and through this my belief of a good library staff member was that I should be able to quickly answer basic questions about the collection also know how satisfied the patrons are with the collection, able to access and use social media, collaborate and develop web design, provide the best customer service and participate in library programmes.

So, when I begun this subject with my prior knowledge in the library field, I had no idea of what was “really” the role of a teacher librarian (TL). All of my assumptions were based on what I observed while in the school library with my own class and my role as a library assistant, which in a nutshell is “customer service”. There are three areas where my understanding of the TL’s role has deepened substantially, namely collaboration, and information literacy and the role of Web 2.0 as part of the TL’s toolbox.

Through all of the readings [I did find the amount of reading very overwhelming], I have discovered the possibilities of the role of a TL that I had never considered. My previous view of a TL being a traditional role of supplying information that was in line with the curriculum has since evolved into a better understanding (Lamb. A., & Johnson. L., 2008).

Collaboration
I had never entertained the possibility of collaborating with the TL, some years ago the question was floating around the staffroom about collaboration, but I ignored the collaboration offer due to my own ignorance about the trained potential of our own TL (shameful…I knowL). After some reflection about my lack of interaction with the TL, I have come to some kind of realisation that I was so consumed in my own subject area that I believed that the TL could not offer me any information that I thought I already knew, and that any constructive criticism in my teaching practice singled me out as less of a teacher. Obviously this lack of understanding was my own fault, and I now know that this gap in professional knowledge comes down to principal support (one of many grievance I have learned) and no in-service training for teachers to tap into this resource. I’m so thankful that I have undertaken this subject to broaden my knowledge that will make me a better educator.

In the future I hope to close the gap with reliable and useful knowledge about the leadership role of the TL, and start building a small collaboration team that over time will benefit the whole school community and able to see the positive results available. I must also confess to frustration in the past that the leadership within the school has not appeared to support collaboration. However, I am now inspired by the suggestion by (Chilbulka, Coursey, Nakayama, Price, & Stewart, 2003, p.4) about building small groups of collaboration rather than attempting to shift the whole school to a collaborative model (Chibulka, et al., 2004), and I see this as a positive way forward when working as a TL within a school.

In an early post I made a comment that the principal holds the power either to make or break collaborative efforts between the teacher and TL. This was my “light blub” moment. Effective library programmes need support from the principal in order for every one to be following the same goal.

Information Literacy
I admit I knew very little about information literacy and the learning process. While moving forward in this course I have taken the same approach in my assignments using the same steps in both Kuhlthau’s Information Seeking Process (ISP) (Kuhlthau, 2009) and the Big6 model. I made a personal connection from Kuhlthau’s thoughts, feelings and actions as I tackled the assignments.  I am beginning to understand IL’s importance in all areas of learning in not only assisting students to become information and digital literate, but also to think critically, problem solve and become lifelong learners. I am excited by the educational potential I’ll be able to bring to my teaching career.

I failed to recognise the effectiveness of blogging, and expressing in my own words about my learning journey. I had little knowledge of the topics I wrote about in my blogs and upon reflection about what I have written I have missed acknowledging this. Sadly, I wrote objectively and not subjectively about my new knowledge of the role of the teacher librarian [I’m still trying to work that one out].

References

Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) & Austrailan School Library Association (ASLA). (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.htm

Chibulka, J., Coursey, S., Nakayama, M., Price, J., & Stewart, S. (2003). Schools as Learning Organisations: A review of the literature. National College for School Leadership.

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: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Lamb. A., & Johnson. L. (2008). School library media specialist 2.0: a dynamic collaborator, teacher, and technologist. Teacher Librarian, 36(2), 74-78.

Kuhlthau, C. C. (2009). Information Search Process. In M. J. Bates & M. N. Maack (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences (3rd ed., pp. 19): CRC Press.


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Blog task #3 -The convergence of literacies in the 21st century

Information literacy is a skill that all students need to learn in the 21st century to be able to organise resources and decide which ones are appropriate to the context of learning (Bundy, 2004). Mike Eisenberg, commented in Information Literacy: essential skills for the information age that information and technology literacy is clearly the “basic skills set of the 21st century.” (2008, p. 39), to be able to acquire and use information and work with a variety of technologies is a skill that is needed for today to be a successful lifelong learner.

Teacher librarians and teachers have a responsibility to create a learning environment and in developing information literate students. The ability to read printed text is not enough for 21st century learners, they must be able to read and understand all formats such as Google video or images that are found on the Internet, and in advertising or in print (Eisenberg, 2011). The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Standards for the 21st century learner (2007) explain how information literacy can contribute to:

  • Inquire, think critically and gain knowledge
  • Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge
  • Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society
  • Pursue personal and aesthetic growth (AASL, 2007)

This demonstrates how complex the process is and the importance of learning these skills are and the ability to use technology skilfully. Educators can teach these skills with the aid of the Information Search Process (ISP) models such as the Big Six Skills (Big 6). This model provides a basic step-by-step scaffold for students to follow while engaging in the learning process.

Kuhlthau’s (2007) ISP research has revealed that when the learning task reflects an authentic problem-based task from the outside world, student’s are more likely to find it more interesting and engaging and develop a deeper understanding of the topic.

Using web service technologies such as web 2.0 and library 2.0, (also known as eLearning), Lorenzo (2007, p. 6) tells us to look beyond email and basic websites and to look forward to social networking, blogs, wikis and pod casts.

School libraries and classrooms that are using eLearning can engage students meaningfully with today’s information and help develop a level of “information fluency” that can carry throughout a student’s lifelong learning. Stripling (2007) describes “information fluency” as the acquisition of three primary skills: basic information technology skills (including computer literacy), information literacy skills, and critical thinking skills.

“NetGeners” (Lorenzo, 2007, p. 3) are the new generation that have grown up with the Internet and are the new upcoming library users. Teacher librarians and educators need to collaborate to design programs that are able to cater for their needs. Lorenzo (2007) argues that it is wrong to believe that because they have grown up in a digital age they are digital literate. Educators still need to teach students about where to find and access information.

The benefits of eLearning are a great way to build up information fluency skills. The teacher librarian’s role is vital in developing these skills with teacher collaboration, which will engage students with authentic inquiry learning.

Reference:

American Association of School Librarians (AASL). (2007). Standards for the 21st-century learner. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/AASL_LearningStandards.pdf

Bundy, A. (Ed.). (2004). Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework: principles, standards and practice (2nd ed.). Retrieved from http://www.caul.edu.au/content/upload/files/info-literacy/InfoLiteracyFramework.pdf

Eisenberg, M. (2008). Information literacy: Essential skills for the information age. Journal of Library & Information Technology, 28(2), 39-47.

Eisenberg, M. (2011). Project Information Literacy. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVLXIkEiz5Y

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

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. Retrieved from http://www.edpath.com/images/IFReport2.pdf

Stripling, B. (2007). Assessing informative fluency: Gathering evidence of student learning. School Library media activities monthly, 23(8), 25-29.


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Blog task #2 – Implementing a Guided Inquiry approach

Guided inquiry (GI) is embedded in constructivist educational philosophies and the emphasis of technology in the national curriculum has highlighted the need for information and technology literacy.  GI is based on extensive studies of the Information Search Process (ISP), (Kuhlthau and Maniotes, 2010) and the GI approach is based on building from student’s background. Finding strengths and weaknesses in the learning process and knowing when teachers and teacher librarians (TL) should intervene to provide guidance, knowledge and instruction, (Kuhlthau, Caspari and Maniotes, 2007).

So how do you implement a GI approach to teaching and learning? The first step is to build a GI team to collaborate in planning, programming and teaching, flexible timetabling and resourced based learning, (Scheffers, 2008). Evidence-based practice toolkit known as the School Library Impact Measure (SLIM) is a good place to start when planning to implement a GI programme, (Todd, Kuhlthau, & Heinström, 2005; Kuhlthau, Caspari, & Maniotes, 2007).

A team of three core members is needed to develop the unit: the TL, classroom teacher and a subject area specialist, the use of an extended member could be valuable to provide authentic learning for example a practicing artist for a visual art programme. The unit needs to integrate five kinds of learning: curriculum content, information literacy, learning process, literacy competence and social skills, (Kuhlthau et al, 2007).

What does GI look like in a school library program? The longitudinal assessment method, (Kuhlthau et al., 2007), is an effective assessment to alert the GI team to what students have already learned and what require further intervention and teaching. This method is an active process for both students and teachers and it is based on continual assessment throughout the inquiry unit or over a school year.

Kuhlthau et al., (2007), explains that a variety of assessment strategies should be embedded into the inquiry process, so students learn to recognise changes in their feelings and thoughts and see the value of developing strategies for learning within the learning process, such as listing ideas and questions in the exploration stage, detailed notes in the collection stage, this will also help students become lifelong leaners. The use of creating questions to obtain evidence to support questions will benefit students during this process and with the use of quizzes, blogs, wikis, charts and mind mapping as tools to use as evidence of what learning and understanding has taken place.

Two framework models that are effective scaffolds for educators and students to understand the learning process is the Big6 (Eisenberg, M. Johnson, D. Berkowitz, B. 2010) and the PLUS model, (Herring, 2004). The Big6 has six stages of the learning process: initiating, selecting, exploring, formulating, collecting, and presenting. It has also been suggested that assessing should be added to this scaffold, (Kuhlthau, 2007). This is not a linear process but a process that can move back and forth to suit the learning needs of the student. The role of the TL is to teach students to look at each stage thoroughly for better understanding.

The PLUS model, (Herring, 2004), which provides a scaffold to identify: purpose, location, use and self-evaluation of how guided inquiry fits into learning. The TLs role in both models would be to efficiently teach students how to move up the levels of inquiry and assist in accessing resources. The skill and knowledge of what the learning process is, needs to be embedded into students understanding so they can solve problems and make decisions, (Eisenberg et al., 2010, p. 25).

Using casual observation, on student performance will help the TL to identify student’s input, output, attitude, skills and utilisation. At this stage taking ‘field notes’, (Kuhlthau, 2007) will help the GI team during the conference to identify strengths and weaknesses in the programme and fill the gaps for future GI implementation, also the data collection will show when students show independence in applying skills, help other students, share ideas and ask questions, make connections and recall at a later time.

In conclusion implementing a collaborative GI approach will allow students to take control of their own learning through the use of critical thinking deeper knowledge and awareness. The TLs role is to facilitate this approach and assist students in achieving this learning awareness to be successful in the future.

Reference:

Eisenberg, M. Johnson, D. Berkowitz, B. (2010). Information, communications and technology (ICT) skills curriculum based on the Big6 skills approach to information problem-solving. In Library Media Connection. 28(6), 24(4).

Herring, J. E. (2011). Year seven students, concept mapping and the issues of transfer. In School libraries worldwide (pp.11-23). 17(1).

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

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K. (2010). Building guided inquiry teams for the 21st-century learners. In School Library Monthly, 26(5), 18-21.

Kuhlthau and colleagues at the Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL), Rutgers University (Todd, Kuhlthau, & Heinström, 2005; Kuhlthau, Caspari, & Maniotes, 2007). Retrieved from http://cissl.rutgers.edu/joomla-license/impact-studies?start=6

Scheffers, J. (2008). Guided inquiry : A learning journey. In Scan, 27(4), 34-42.


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Blog task #1 – Principal support

This post is for an assessment submission.

Teacher-librarians suffer from occupational invisibility and principals have a critical role in the implementation of change in schools (Oberg, 2006, p.14). Morris points out that the principal holds the power either to make or break collaborative efforts between the teacher and TL. (Morris, 2007, p. 23). Looking at the professional collaboration between the principal and the TL this blog post will examine the meaning of “principal support” and what are the key functions of how a dynamic library program can develop.

So how do we go about this? Firstly, a positive image needs to be supported by the principal in promoting the role of the TL. Challenging attitudes about the misconception of TLs from being only information gatekeepers that manage school knowledge to valued and respected TLs that are collaborator’s in developing and supporting the school curriculum can only come from principal support. In terms of building strength Morris argues that the principal must be seen and heard discussing collaboration in the school and throughout the community. (Morris, B. 2007, p. 23).

Farmer argues that the principal’s role, as leader should be a shared vision of inculcating a sense of community and responsibility. The idea of transformational leadership. (Farmer, L. 2007, p.57). Kaplan points out that not all principals are aware of the roles and skills that TL are trained in, with developing successful library programs. (Kaplan, A.G. 2007, p.300). This is where TLs can be leaders and provide literature for principals to make aware of what highly trained TLs can offer.

Transformational leadership, as mentioned above, cannot flourish as Oberg argues unless a supporting principal ensures adequate budgets for materials and information technology, flexible scheduling that allow collaboration, such as releasing teachers from their classrooms for planning. (Oberg, D. 2006, p.14). Once collaboration has developed Haycock suggest a history of collaboration has a far better chance of success, where collaboration is expected, teachers and TLs find it easier to collaborate. (Haycock, K. 2007, p.27).

One strategy to enable a library program suggested in Oberg’s research (Oberg, D. 2006, p. 14) is that when principals make it clear that teacher’s are expected to be involved in the school library program as part of their annual performance review and further supporting this with professional development.

Kaplan highlights an example of what an integrated program looks like when the collaboration of teacher and TL takes place. (Kaplan, A. 2007, p.302). The TL is proactive in gaining collaboration to develop curriculum with teachers. When the collaboration is established and communication has begun the collaboration resulted in a geometry unit. The TL did more than merely provide resources for the unit: she was an integral part of its planning, implementation, and assessment.

This sounds so positive, but as Haycock (Haycock, K. 2007, p.25) argues that you might expect that collaboration would be commonplace in schools. Haycock further suggests the research has found that teacher-TL collaboration only appears in journals read by TLs and that the lack of acceptance of collaboration as a norm of teacher behaviour. (Haycock, K. 2007, p.26)

Oberg (Oberg, D. 2006, p. 16) explains that TLs need to be patient and understanding of the evolution of the school library program. Gaining principal support can be a difficult task and my take several years.

Reference:

Farmer, L. (2007). Principals: catalysts for collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 56-65.

Haycock, K. (2007). Collaboration: critical success factors for student learning. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 25-35.

Kaplan, A.G. (2007). Is your school librarian ‘highly qualified’?. Phi Delta Kappa, 300-303.

Morris, B.J. (2007). Principal support for collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 23-24.

Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher Librarian, 33(3), 13-18.


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Are school librarians an endangered species?

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change”.

Charles Darwin

Teacher Librarians are not quiet extinct…like the quote above teacher librarians will survive providing we redefine our role. The 21st Century is a vibrant and every evolving landscape that gets tweaked a lot.

All five professional speakers are unanimous on the point that teacher librarians are just as important, if not more than ever, with unique skills that are instrumental in the evaluation of information and information literacy, mentor of online resources, access to new technology that will benefit cross curricula disciplines and collaborator with teachers and the school community. In turn this will set-up students to be life-long learners and responsible digital citizens.

Reference:

“Are school librarians an endangered species?” 30 Second Thought Leadership: Insights from Leaders in the School Library Community Jan/Feb 2012  The American Association of School Librarians (AASL)