September 2016 archive

Critical Reflection

My view of the role of the teacher librarian has not necessarily changed, but has most certainly gained depth. In my previous blog entry about the role of the teacher librarian, I did not really explain or have a very good understanding of the expectations of such a position. Being new to this role, I have found the module readings and discussions for this subject to be interesting, valuable and practical to my position as a TL. In short, my role consists first and foremost of being a teacher. I noticed in the readings that Herring (2007), Lamb (2011) and Purcell (2010) also recognise teaching as one of the most important aspects of the role of the TL. I have learned that the role of the TL is largely based on the context and needs of the students. The other aspects of my role consist of being an information manager, information specialist, technology innovator and leader, collaborator, financial planner (controlling budgets, expenditure etc) and literacy advocator. Valenza (2011), also recognised a number of other key TL responsibilities that I feel are applicable to my personal role as a TL. Valenza (2011) outlined that TLs teach and model inquiry research, digital citizenship, evaluation of resources in terms of their relevance and credibility, literary and media appreciation. All of the elements listed are crucial to the success of the role of the TL. With the role of the TL being diverse from school to school and quite complex, this can sometimes be a challenge for less experienced TLs like myself. Prioritising tasks according to Bonannos (2011) is key to the optimum running of the role of the TL.

Encouraging and promoting a love of reading amongst students is definitely a passion of mine and something that I feel even stronger about now after reading through some of the modules. Reading expert Stephen Krashen (2004, as cited by Hughes, 2013, p.19) indicates that wide reading and “access to reading materials through libraries are critical for literacy development, especially among students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.” The context of the school that I teach at has a low socio-economic background and I feel that promoting reading is even more of an important part of my role as a TL.

Throughout the modules and assignments, another aspect of the role in which I gained a deeper understanding of, was information literacy and guided enquiry. I had the opportunity to research a number of IL models, such as the Big 6 and Super 3, the NSW Information Skill Process and Kuhlthau’s (2010) Information Search Process. Since ‘hypothetically’ investigating which model would best suit the context of the school that I work at, I have initiated discussions with some of my executive colleagues to see if they have a preference for a particular IL model and how we could go about using a staff meeting to discuss our roles as educators in the IL integration process. Like Simpson and Walsh (2012) and O’Connell (2012), I think collaboration between educators will only benefit students understanding of information literacy. This collaboration could lead to our school developing an IL policy, something which we do not have yet.

Ultimately the role of the TL is a multi-faceted one (Herring, 2007, p. 30) and with this, the role of the teacher librarian will continue to change with the changing information landscape. Breivik and Gee (1989: 22, as cited by Langford, 1998) have stated “that literacy is in an evolving state that mirrors the expanding information needs of society.” With this change comes the evolving role of my role as a TL. In my new role as a TL, I have often felt overwhelmed with challenges, mainly feeling time poor. I know that I am new to the role but after completing this subject I can see that TLs really do have quite complex roles. According to Sandra Hughes-Hassell and Dana Hanson-Baldauf (2008),  some other challenges which I am now more aware of which affect the changing role of the TL is that although “media specialists recognize the importance of technology competence… many face barriers due to lack of resources, time, technical support, infrastructure, and professional development” (as cited by Lamb, 2011, p. 33). Professional development is one area that I hope to target in order to improve my skills as a TL coping in the ever changing information landscape.

References

Bonanno, K. (2011). Speech at ASLA, 2011 conference: A profession at the tipping point: Time to change the game plan.

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.

 

Hughes, H. (2013). Findings about Gold Coast Principal’s views of school libraries and teacher librarians. Chapter 8, School libraries, teacher librarians and their contribution to student literacy development in Gold Coast schools. Research report.

 

Kuhlthau, C. K. (2010). Building Guided Inquiry Teams for 21st-Century Learners. School Library Monthly, 26(5), 18.

 

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: mixing a media specialist’s palette. Techtrends: linking research& practice to improve learning, 55(4), 27-36. doi: 10.1007/s11528-011-0509-3

Langford, L (1998). Information literacy: a clarification. Retrieved from http://www.fno.org/sept98/clarify.html

 

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books, right? A look at the roles of a school library media specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3-), 30-33.

 

O’Connell, J. (2012). Change has arrived at an iSchool library near you. Information literacy beyond Library 2.0.

 

Simpson, A. & Walsh, M. (2012). The impact of technology on reading practices for 21C learners. Scan; v.31 n.1 p.34-39; February 2012. Retrieved from: http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/fullText;dn=191036;res=AEIPT

 

Valenza, J. (2010). A revised manifesto.  Retrieved from: http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto

 

 

 

Managing Work Load

In order to be a productive teacher librarian in my school community good management skills are vital. Time management is an area that I personally need to strengthen, along with negotiating time with office administrators to carry out tasks in the library. This is where I found Sanders’ (2004) reading on Conflict Resolution to be particularly interesting and relevant to my own professional development. Not that I have conflict with any of my colleagues but it is certainly good to know strategies in case I found myself in that type of situation while negotiating my library administration time. Being new to the position, I often get quite overwhelmed with the duties expected of the teacher librarian. Purcell (2010) encourages teacher librarians and media specialists to identify the tasks that they complete on a day to day basis, highlighting any clerical tasks and noting those tasks as barriers to student inquiry learning (p. 31). I found comfort in this statement and often write notes for my assistant including clerical tasks that can be done by someone else other than myself, this definitely minimises my workload. I even encourage my student monitors and parent helpers to assist in some of these tasks.

 

References

 

Bonanno, K. (2011). Speech at ASLA, 2011 conference: A profession at the tipping point: Time to change the game plan.

 

Sanders, R. (2004). Chapter 13: Conflict resolution. In Australian library supervision and management (2nd ed., pp.127-132). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies.

Challenges

In the context of the school that I teach at, collaborative practice where teachers are leaders in areas where they feel their strengths lie occurs regularly. This is something that I love about my school. If there was a circumstance where teachers felt working with other teachers was as a major challenge, I would probably explain the strengths of collaborative practice and highlight the expectations of their role within this process. I would also ask them if there was anything that I could do in order to support them through this process.  One of my favourite roles as TL at my school is working with my colleagues to plan lessons, give them creative ideas for integrating technology into their lessons and simply suggesting valuable resources that I think would be useful for their units of work.

Convergence

To my knowledge, the school that I work at does not have an information literacy policy. We consider ourselves to be a 21st century school so this is something that I will definitely be looking more into. I don’t feel that we (staff at my school) discuss the IL approaches that we follow so it is therefore not consistent across our school. Obviously, in the context of my school, as per curriculum, it is being integrated across key learning areas but not explicitly addressed in terms of navigating through useful information without becoming overwhelmed. This is something that I feel is part of my role as the teacher librarian. Like Simpson, Walsh (2012) and O’Connell (2012), I think collaboration between educators will only benefit students understanding of IL. Therefore, I see the importance of ensuring that I start a collaborative discussion with my fellow teaching colleagues to formulate an information policy for our school which explicitly meets the needs of our school’s students.

 

References

 

O’Connell, J. (2012). Change has arrived at an iSchool library near you.Information literacy beyond Library 2.0.

 

Simpson, A. & Walsh, M. (2012). The impact of technology on reading practices for 21C learners. Scan; v.31 n.1 p.34-39; February 2012. Retrieved from: http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/fullText;dn=191036;res=AEIPT

Information Literacy

There is a plethora of literature supporting information literacy, what it means, its value and parametres within the education system (Herring, 2006, p. 2-3). Defining information literacy is not as easy as it sounds. I was quite overwhelmed after reading through the module readings. According to Herring (2006), although there are a number of different viewpoints on the definition of information literacy it is collectively agreed that information literacy is “important and integral to student learning” (p. 3). For this reason, it is paramount that we ensure we as educators have a solid understanding of what information literacy is. Herring (2006, p. 3) claims that “information literacy is the ability to access, evaluate and use information from a variety of sources, to recognize when information is needed, and to know how to learn.”

 

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).

Herring, J. (2006). Progress in developing information literacy in a secondary school using the PLUS model. Retrieved fromhttps://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/execute/displayLearningUnit?course_id=_14224_1&content_id=_949210_1

Langford. L. (1998). Information Literacy- A Clarification. School Libraries Worldwide. 4. (1), 59-72.

View on the role of the teacher librarian

The role of the teacher librarian (TL) will continue to change with the changing information landscape. With this change comes the changing role of the TL. In conversations about my new role as a TL, I have said many times that teaching is first and foremost and everything else comes second. I noticed in the readings that Herring (2007), Lamb (2011) and  Purcell  (2010) also recognise teaching as one of the most important aspects of the role of the TL. “The role of the teacher librarian is a multi-faceted one” (Herring, 2007, p. 30), in the context of what do librarians teach? Valenza (2011), outlines that they teach and model inquiry research, digital citizenship, evaluation of resources in terms of their relevance and credibility, literary and media appreciation. Similarly, Herring (2007) concurs that there are a number of roles expected of the TL, particularly, “curriculum leader, information specialist and information services manager” (ASLA 2003, p.61 as cited by Herring, 2007, p. 32). I became quite overwhelmed by the standards outlined by ASLA and AITSL after I read through identifying the role and expectations of the TL. But I guess prioritising is key to the ‘optimum running of  the role” (Bonannos, 2011).

 

References

 

Australian School Library Association (ASLA). (2014). What is a teacher librarian? Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/advocacy/what-is-a-teacher-librarian.aspx

 

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.

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: mixing a media specialist’s palette.Techtrends: linking research& practice to improve learning, 55(4), 27-36. doi: 10.1007/s11528-011-0509-3

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books, right? A look at the roles of a school library media specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3-), 30-33.

Valenza, J. (2010). A revised manifesto.  Retrieved fromhttp://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/