“It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” –

“Provide a critical reflection of how your understanding of Information Literacy (IL), IL models and the TL role in inquiry learning has expanded through this subject.”

What a fabulous journey learning is. It reveals so many things about ourselves as we uncover new ideas, thoughts and interpret these into information we can then share with others. The course through modules and inquiry has rolled out pieces of information to chew on, slowly adding up to create new views. I have learnt that as a learner I sit uncomfortably in the space of discussion forums and blogs. The reason is enlightening to discover … I am intimidated by all the academic reflection, preferring a less formal approach, and it seems I don’t like to reflect my learning until I have all the pieces, the idea of committing developing thoughts to be shared in digital form is one that I am not fond of. I see it’s value but I recognise my internal battle to write about what I know when I know that I don’t know what I don’t know …

I began the course with a pretty open and passionate view of what libraries in the 21st century could be with an enthusiastic vision of a modern Teacher Librarian. Research wizards, literary warriors, smart leaders with a good ear for gossip and a smile for the bookworms.“ My view was a modernisation of the school library space and the TL within it, more vibrant, more interactive, embracing technology but that the heart of the school library and TL remaining the same. A space for learning, collaborating, a safe space, a social space, a place of learning and the TL as the facilitator for all of this.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

This still rings true though at the conclusion of this subject I am somewhat overwhelmed by all the new things I have learnt a TL should be and should provide to it’s school community.

The idea of the TL as an information specialist engages with my love of technology and knowledge it fuels my interest in 21C learners and how to teach them Information Literacy. I was particularly inspired by watching Changing Education Paradigms – Sir Ken Robertson.

The TL as a curriculum leader creating a difference in learning opportunities through facilitating inquiry and project based learning ignites my passion, and yet it was here that I felt the challenge began to creep in … I can feel the view teachers have of the TL role does not match the inspiring vision being proposed in this course. It makes sense, and yet I can sense there will be resistance. I feel this already when I reveal to teacher friends that I am doing this course … the confusion as they judgmentally ask ‘you want to be a librarian??’ I see a huge challenge in changing the perception of the TL role within school communities and am aware that this needs to begin with support and understanding from the principal and leadership team. The TL working collaboratively with teachers integrating IL models and support inquiry learning is both exciting and daunting. … to be honest it sounds like a lot of work to generate this type of interaction into the already running machine of a school … and admittedly my fire about the role flickers … it seems overwhelmingly an uphill battle. I know that it will be my job to advocate for the role and to offer myself as an expert, and yet I am not an expert, it’s clear to me I have a lot to learn!

The modules touched upon a range of IL models,  ‘processes that can be taught, internalised and followed whenever a person has an information need.’ (CSU, 2019).  A TL model provides the learner with a list of steps to take when exploring inquiry. I feel I’ve touched the tip of the iceberg, and looking forward to exploring this further!

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

 

Judy O’Connell comes to the rescue with this comment in response to my discussion post, 5.3 b Guided Inquiry –  “Daunted is good – it means you are giving it due consideration and understanding the complexity.  Because of this you will tease out the right options and will do a great job!”

So I will take this comment into the broader context of my current overwhelm about the TL role … using it to reassure me as I  sit in this space of challenge, overwhelm and anticipation while my learning continues to unfold.

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

 

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Redefining Literacy – “I don’t know the meaning of half those long words, and, what’s more, I don’t believe you do either!”

Literacy – a term that traditionally referred to language and text. A literate person could read, write and process information with deep understanding that enabled them to use words and language to communicate ideas with ease throughout their life.

This definition generally still stands but has evolved to reach into areas of learning beyond language skills and sits in other contexts of education or life skills. The essence of the term remains the same, it’s about a basic ability to define, understand and to then use this knowledge to create and communicate.

So does the teaching of literacy change?

Education constantly changes … 21st century learners require different methods of teaching and learning. The context may change the type of literacy that is being explored but the basic definition of what it is to be literate remains consistent. Educators are more aware now of different approaches of teaching and learning and of how the term literacy refers to a a deep understanding, rather than just a regurgitation of remembered facts. Literacy takes time, it happens in stages, and evolves throughout our lives.

ACARA outlines it’s definition of literacy in the following ways

  • students become literate as they develop the knowledge, skills  to interpret and use language confidently for learning and communicating in and out of school and for participating effectively in society.
  • Literacy involves students listening to, reading, viewing, speaking, writing and creating oral, print, visual and digital texts, and using and modifying language for different purposes in a range of contexts.
  • Literacy encompasses the knowledge and skills students need to access, understand, analyse and evaluate information, make meaning, express thoughts and emotions, present ideas and opinions, interact with others and participate in activities at school and in their lives beyond school.
  • Success in any learning area depends on being able to use the significant, identifiable and distinctive literacy that is important for learning and representative of the content of that learning area.
  • Becoming literate is not simply about knowledge and skills. Certain behaviours and dispositions assist students to become effective learners who are confident and motivated to use their literacy skills broadly. Many of these behaviours and dispositions are also identified and supported in other general capabilities. Including students managing their own learning to be self-sufficient; working harmoniously with others; being open to ideas, opinions and texts from and about diverse cultures; returning to tasks to improve and enhance their work; and being prepared to question the meanings and assumptions in texts.

 

So how do we teach literacy?

We teach it broadly across the curriculum AND we teach it specifically within learning areas.

 

ACARA. Literacy. Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/general-capabilities/literacy/#

Would you like an adventure now, or should we have our tea first?

A screen, a question, a reflection.

Why am I undertaking a Masters in Teacher Librarianship? A question I’ve heard a few times over the last few weeks. Truth be told I’m not really sure, I can’t put my finger on it. What I do know, is that when I follow my instincts they always lead me somewhere worthwhile. So here I am falling down a rabbit hole with no idea of where it will lead or what’s in store.

Me … a teacher, a mum, an arts advocate, a book lover, a food and wine lover, a lover, a sister – hopeful, sarcastic, impatient, impulsive, creative, organised and messy. Some of these describe me well … but I am sure other words could also, it depends on who you ask. Like all things. The answers are different depending on who you ask. I digress, or do I?

The role of the teacher librarian …

I went to school before the world wide web, computers and information technology were available. The library was the place you went to get info for your homework, assignment and projects. Where you whispered about boys behind shelves full of books and sneakily passed notes while a librarian helped you to find books, scour indexes and occasionally give disapproving looks while you giggled with your friends.

As a teacher I have seen libraries shift as the world becomes more and more focused on technology. I have seen the amount of information young people receive increase markedly through the internet, and the ever present smartphone. I’ve seen those beloved books gather dust and rarely get borrowed. I’ve seen students come to the library to escape the rain, to gossip and whisper about boys, to play games on the computers, to chat loudly and defy the librarians rules of no food and a quiet learning space. I’ve been grateful to the librarians for helping me find resources for my classes and frustrated that they don’t have time / energy / resources to help my students more. I’ve run my hands over the books, I’ve watched the library grow dvd resources, I’ve saved the books no longer wanted and added them to my shelves in my office. I’ve seen students who have more access to information struggle to find it and collate it.

And so, it’s clear the teacher librarian role has changed … but I think it’s cornerstone remains the same. The teacher librarian is still there to help students and teachers find resources, to help them shuffle through the information presented to find what it is they need. Yes, they now need to be more up to date with the complexities of information technology, and faced with an overload of information and sorting the fact from fiction,  in doing so their role becomes more important than it has been in the past.

The skills of being able to find and filter information is one that most of our young people and time poor teachers struggle with. In an age of information overload our young people need the skills to filtrate and sort through the easily accessible wide world at their fingertips.

Teacher Librarians need to move with information technology and create inspiring learning spaces, that combine the best of the digital and the bound. They need to support and inspire. They need to create spaces for research, learning, and to whisper about boys. Spaces that capture our minds and hearts. They need to be the guardians and interpreters of knowledge  …. or maybe that’s a Marvel film?

We can never replace the appeal of a good book, the feel, the smell.

The need for books of art, scripts, graphic novels, historical nostalgia will never fade.

But let’s be real, the digital world is exciting and addictive. There is movement and sound. The modern Teacher Librarian needs to embrace this and share it, creating vibrant spaces that have quiet corners and exciting middles.

Research wizards, literary warriors, smart leaders with a good ear for gossip and a smile for the bookworms.

Hmmmm, so what was the question?

Oh wait I have to get my kids to bed … perhaps we’ll revisit this again soon.