30 second thought on the question: “Are school librarians an endangered species?”

Five leaders in the fields of Information Sciences in the USA gave their opinions on school librarians as endangered species. This is a summary of their thoughts:

The overall reaction to the question was a resounding NO! Teacher librarians were not an endangered species if they were willing to redefine their roles to become online mentors or coaches, who help students navigate the complex media and information world as part of learning in the 21st century. Teacher librarians are unique in their ability to provide students with the expertise to gather, comprehend, evaluate, synthesise, and report on information and ideas when conducting original research in order to answer questions or solve problems by using an extensive range of media forms. A well supported library program is integral to meeting educational objectives across all disciplines, and vital to encouraging students to become critical users of information and ideas, familiar with ethical standards and copyright issues when accessing or using media as responsible digital citizens

Wrap up. Week 14

These are my thoughts on being a teacher librarian. They are from the ALIA/ASLA professional standards but I consider them to be a perfect example of what I have learnt these 14 weeks in my Teacher Librarianship course. Some big shoes to fill! 🙂

Teacher librarians support and implement the vision of their school communities through advocating and building effective library and information services and programs that contribute to the development of lifelong learners. Within the broad fields of education and librarianship, teacher librarians are uniquely qualified. This is valuable because curriculum knowledge and pedagogy are combined with library and information management knowledge and skills.

References:

Australian School Library Association (ASLA) and Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). (2004). Library standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians, available http://www.asla.org.au/site/DefaultSite/filesystem/documents/TLstandards.pdf

Part B: Critical Reflection

This reflection pertains to how my view of a teacher librarian’s role has changed throughout the course unit, and is from the perspective of an experienced teacher with absolutely no experience or knowledge of library management or teacher librarian responsibilities. My initial comments recorded as part of the first week’s activity, demonstrated how I perceived a teacher librarian’s role within a school library to be mainly involved with library management, organising appropriate websites, data collection and teaching students technology skills to access and use a range of electronic resources when researching inquiry projects (Kerlin, 2013, Topic 7 Blog posting). There was a clear assumption that the teacher librarian worked independently as a specialist rather than part of the teaching staff, and took no part in collaboration with the principal or other staff members when planning a library collection or implementing an information literacy program (Kerlin, 2013, Blog Tasks 1 & 2). Through subsequent readings, activities, forum postings and comments, together with Blog Tasks, this perspective has completely changed, and a new respect for the multi-faceted and constantly evolving role of a teacher librarian within the 21st Century educational context has emerged. A recognition of the teacher librarian’s invaluable contribution within a school context, by collaborating with teaching staff to implement effective information literacy programs and teach vital technology skills pertinent to locating, evaluating and using information, besides the development of independence and self-direction (Bundy, 2004, p. 4).

Initial feelings of apprehension, anxiety and total bewilderment towards the course requirements were replaced with positive self-esteem from successful engagement with the Topic content, and confidence in using new technology skills after creating a Blog and engaging in Forum postings and discussions. As each week progressed, a structure and familiar routine emerged, resulting in an increased sense of achievement and engagement with the learning; feelings similar to those students who were comfortable within a learning process where structure and familiarity plays such a vital part of the learning process (Herring & Tarter, 2006, p. 3). Kuhlthau acknowledged these feelings in her many research studies and subsequently published ISP information literacy model (Kuhlthau, 2004). She reported how students experienced uncertainty and anxiety before and throughout the information seeking task, and needed intervention by teaching staff to support, assist and guide them through the process to a successful conclusion (Thomas et al., 2011, p. 39). Similar emotions were experienced when creating a Blog in week two, which enabled me to directly relate to student’s feelings of confusion and frustration when tackling an unfamiliar task such as an inquiry project. This experience not only added depth to my learning experiences as a teacher and my ability to empathise and recognise similar emotions in students when teaching, but also improve my students’ communication and information skills in order to alleviate these ‘intervention’ experiences (Kerlin, 2013, Forum 2 posting).

Lyn Hay’s (Hay, 2006, p. 20) and James Herring’s (Herring 7 Tarter, 2006, p. 3) Australian studies also identified how students acknowledged the importance of expert advice and information technology support from teacher librarians throughout their research projects, and was found to be beneficial in improving student outcomes (Hay, 2006, p. 20). Combes and Anderson (2006) reiterated how important consistent support and communication from teachers and university co-coordinators/lecturers was for learning to be a satisfying and successful experience for all students (p. 11), and I have found regular emails, on-line announcements, forum comments, and feed-back from course staff have been informative, helpful and beneficial for successful completion of course requirements. Forum comments and discussions with other students have contributed different perspectives, ideas and experiences as part of my ‘holistic’ learning and accumulation of new knowledge, drawing parallels with Kuhlthau and Herring’s studies where student’s collaborated and cooperated during their search for information, resulting in increased confidence and a shared direction (Thomas et al., 2011, p. 42).

During the course I have become familiar with digital tools such as Blogs, Wikis, Apps, Cloud technology, Web 2.0, Podcasts and Vodcasts, Google’s AllAccess music streaming, the iPad as a contemporary teaching tool, social media as a communication tool (Facebook and Twitter), and actively collected information on the latest digital technology to extend my learning experience as a teacher librarian (Montiel-Overall, 2005, p.38). In the 21st century educational context I consider a teacher librarian to be a bridge that connects both teaching and library areas of expertise, a valued and vital member of a school community, a leader, innovator, media specialist, and initiator of meta-literacies that develop skills of creativity, flexibility, critical thinking, problem-solving and independent learning for students to become open-minded global citizens of the future.

Word count: 768

References:

Bundy, A. (ed.) (2004). Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework: principles, standards and practice. 2nd ed. Adelaide: Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy (ANZIIL) and Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL).

Combes, B., & Anderson, K. (2006). Supporting First Year E-Learners in Courses for the Information Professions.  Edith Cowan University, Western Australia: Australia

Hay, L. (2006). School libraries as flexible and dynamic learning laboratories that’s what Aussie kids want. Columns research: Scan Vol 25 No 2. pp. 19 -21

Herring, J. E. & Tarter, A. M., (2006). Progress in developing information literacy in a secondary school using the PLUS model. Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia: Ripon Grammar School, Ripon, Yorkshire, UK:

Kuhlthau, C.C. (2004). Learning as a process, in Seeking meaning: A process approach to library and information services, Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.

Kerlin, J. (2013). Topic 7 Blog posting. Retrieved from: jennykerlin.wordpress.com

Kerlin, J. (2013). Blog Tasks 1 & 2. Retrieved from: jennykerlin.wordpress.com

Kerlin, J. (2013). Forum 2 posting.  Interact website ETL 401, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW:

Montiel-Overall, P. (2005). A theoretical understanding of teacher and librarian collaboration, School Libraries Worldwide, 11(2).

Thomas, N. P., Crow, S. R., & Franklin, L. L. (2011). Chapter 3: The Information Search Process: Kuhlthau’s legacy. In Information literacy and information skills instruction: Applying research to practice in the 21st century school library (3rd ed., pp. 33-58). Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited. Retrieved from: http://CSUAU.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=715256

Topic 7 Forum Comments

My initial comments recorded as part of the first week’s activity, demonstrated how I perceived a teacher librarian’s role within a school library to be mainly involved with library management, organising appropriate websites, data collection, and teaching students technology skills to access and use a range of electronic resources when researching inquiry projects. There was a clear assumption that the teacher librarian worked independently as a specialist rather than part of the teaching staff, and took no part in collaboration with the principal or other staff members when planning a library collection or implementing an information literacy program. Through course readings, activities, forum postings and comments, together with Blog Tasks, this perspective has completely changed and a new respect for the multi-faceted and constantly evolving role of a teacher librarian within the 21st Century educational context has emerged.

During the course I have become familiar with digital tools such as Blogs, Wikis, Apps, Cloud technology, Web 2.0, Podcasts and Vodcasts, Google’s AllAccess music streaming, the iPad as a contemporary teaching tool, social media as a communication tool (Facebook and Twitter), and actively collected information on the latest digital technology to extend my learning experience as a teacher librarian. In the 21st century educational context I consider a teacher librarian to be a bridge that connects both teaching and library areas of expertise, a valued and vital member of a school community, a leader, innovator, media specialist, and initiator of meta-literacies that develop skills of creativity, flexibility, critical thinking, problem-solving and independent learning for students to become open-minded global citizens of the future.

Topic 6 Forum Comments

From each of these readings, identify three ideas that are new to you. Based on your understanding of what the writers have said what is one thing you could do right now that would make you more productive in your work place?

  1. Prioritise – Recognize what needs 100% effort and time and what doesn’t  Instead of giving all my time and efforts to everyone, I choose carefully what/who I can give 100% to.
  2. Use the four ‘D’s’ for managing interruptions; Decide, Defer, Discourage, Do. I can’t stop being disturbed by the phone, other staff/students, or consistent announcements, but I can use strategies to manage these frustrating interruptions and prevent them from impacting on my work.
  3. Recognising the need to learn how to manage conflict in my workplace (many areas as a teacher /librarian) by using negotiation strategies/skills and conflict resolution. Focusing on successful negotiation is about collaboration; the aim is to meet both sides’ needs.

Looking at the influential teachers among my colleagues what advanced skills do they have in the two areas of setting priorities and negotiating for a fair share of resources etc?

  1. They assess which areas of the library need addition, modifying or upgrading, gather facts, figures and supporting evidence, and communicate these requirements to the principal or appropriate member of staff.
  2. They discuss rationally and reasonably their requests and negotiate an approximate time/date for answer or delivery.
  3. They email other staff to outline any additional programs available, any changes to timetables or adjustments to library equipment or routines. Usually staff will discuss any issues at the weekly staff meetings where any difficulties or problems can be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. This ensures the smooth running of the library and appropriate access for other staff and students.

Based on your understanding of what the writers have said what is one thing you could do right now that would make you more productive in your work place?

To improve my productivity in my work place I could manage my time more efficiently and effectively by prioritising what work needs to be completed with maximum effort and attention, or what can be achieved to a lesser degree or at another time, resulting in feelings of accomplishment and a job well done.

Think about how a TL, who is the only professional TL in the school, makes decisions about devoting time to aspects of library management such as managing the physical space, collection management and access, and using the library management system, and also devoting time to planning for and teaching information literacy in the school.

  • Collaboration with the principal or other leadership staff members to develop policies governing all decision making regarding the library, and organising a set time on a regular basis  when you can meet and discuss any important  issues, but email other relevant queries or library management issues.
  • Collaborate with teachers on a regular basis for planning inquiry units of work and resource collection requirements, enabling TL’s to organise time for teaching and general library management. Organised timetabling would provide adequate time frames for each job and prioritising these jobs by the level of importance, relieves frustration and work overload
  • Being visable and actively participating in level and staff meetings, beside participating in and providing professional development,  will highlight the TL’s position as a valuable staff member and contributor to the teaching and learning framework of the school community.
  • Encourage parents and students to participate in library activities like Book Week, and with the students organise an exhibition of their ICT or information literacy work, highlighting the availability and accessibility of library resources/sources as a vital and valuable contribution towards successful student curriculum outcomes.
  • A warm, welcoming and colourful library will demonstrate the value of a quality learning media centre and the vital contribution a qualified and multi-skilled TL can provide to a school community.

Blog Task 3

‘Information literacy is more than a set of skills’. Present an argument for or against this statement, drawing upon the research and professional literature to support your views.

  • My understanding of an information literate person is one who uses information effectively to learn, create new knowledge, solve problems and make decisions. They understand current ethical, legal, social, political and cultural issues when accessing and using information. They successfully use information and knowledge to demonstrate citizenship and social responsibility, and experience information literacy as part of independent learning and lifelong learning. This understanding is reinforced by current curricular and pedagogical learning processes that are extensively used throughout Australian primary and secondary schools, based on developing a holistic learning experience preparing students to become responsible and active global citizens in the 21st century.
  • Langford (1998, p. 59), queries whether information literacy is a concept or a process, or a new literacy that has been transformed from existing literacies to complement emerging technology skills.  Abilock (2004, p. 1) took a wider view of information literacy, arguing that it is a transformational process in which the learner needs to find, understand, evaluate, and use information in various forms for personal, social or global purposes. As a teacher I agree with this understanding of information literacy, as students are now provided with improved access and availability to information from a wide range of sources, with information literacy becoming a flexible concept that changes criteria to satisfy the particular needs of the students or school community.
  • One of the distinguishing features of information literacy teaching in schools is the range of models which have been developed, with Herring’s (2006, p. 3) PLUS model from the UK a popular, efficient and effective information literacy structure used in many schools, as it can be adapted to suit the individual learning styles of all students, which is the ultimate aim of all teacher/teacher librarians when assisting students with their research needs. The PLUS model is used directly by students and its elements are Purpose, Location, Use and Self-evaluation.
  • In Australia, the New South Wales model (NSW DET 2007) is used in many schools. The steps in this model are: Defining, Locating, Selecting, Organising, Presenting and Assessing. Using any of the information literacy models model as an information skills scaffold or support for students will successfully improve students’ planning, researching, reading for information, note taking and structuring of written assignments, enabling them to achieve successful independent learning skills which they can transfer to other areas of the curriculum or into their daily lives when problem solving or as active participants in addressing global, cultural or environmental issues.
  •  Teachers have specific knowledge of the individual learning styles of all their students and can adapt to their needs accordingly, whilst bearing in mind the various learning stages the students are experiencing and at what level of independence or self- direction; the ultimate goal being that learners become information literate, self-directed and independent learners.
  •  Information literacy is more than a set of skills. It is an essential element for lifelong learning, where the need to identify, locate, access, evaluate and present necessary information encapsulates information and communication skills, combined with a global perspective where people are informed citizens and active participants in a global culture (Bundy, 2004, pp. 1- 4).

Word count: 525

References:

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

Bundy, A. (ed.) (2004). Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework: principles, standards and practice. 2nd ed. Adelaide: Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy (ANZIIL) and Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL).

Herring, J. (2006). A critical investigation of students’ and teachers’ views of the use of information literacy skills in school assignments. School Library Media Research, 9.

Langford, L. (1998). Information literacy: a clarification. School Libraries Worldwide, 4(1).

Topic 5 Blog and Forum Answers

What possibilities arise for collaboration between teachers and the teacher librarian?

  •  Development of selection, acquisition, weeding and disposal policies designed to include all staff from every learning area of the curriculum and school community.
  • Inclusion into planning inquiry and information literacy programs and projects and incorporating information and technology skills of the TL into the teaching program to enhance students learning outcomes.
  • TL provides professional development for other staff members to update/upgrade their ICT skills, which encourages the development of respectful relationships between the TL and other teachers.

The role of the teacher librarian is fulfilled in a school that believes in collaborative practice and where teachers are leaders. But many teachers see working with other teachers as a major challenge. In fact they might fight against this.

  1. In such circumstances what would be an appropriate response from the teacher librarian?
  2. From your reading so far, can you build a convincing argument for collaboration between the teacher librarian, principal and teachers at a school that you know?

Discuss your ideas in your group on the Topic 5 Forum.

  • The TL needs to collaborate with the principal and leadership team to clearly define the role of a TL as part of the school teaching team and establish guidelines and expectations of the collaborative relationship required to successfully fulfill curriculum and learning outcomes. This relationship extends to professional development and all planning or administrative processes, and these roles specifically outlined in all school policies and staff manuals. Principals and school leaders encourage the development of collaborative practice among all staff members in both teaching and social domains, by consistently demonstrating respect for the TL as a valued staff member of the school community, and acknowledging the vital role of the TL as part of the curriculum structure designed to produce successful student learning outcomes.
  •  TLs need to be prepared to dedicate time for meeting with other teachers to plan inquiry units of work and curricular resource requirements from a range of digital and media sources. They also need to regularly meet and consult with the principal and relevant staff members to develop a school selection and acquisition policy which would satisfy the needs and requirements of the whole school community and include all staff members in developing a weeding and disposal of old/outdated resources policy. Regular attendance By the TL at staff and team meetings develops inclusive relationships and team building, resulting in a more harmonious approach to incorporating the school library and TL role into the teaching and learning environment of the school community.