Mostly Harmless

A reflective journal of a student teacher librarian

ETL504: Assessment 2: Part B – Reflection

Shortly after starting this subject it became very apparent to me that I had not given much thought to the leadership opportunities of the teacher librarian (TL) in schools. I have never held a formal leadership title in the past and in hindsight I think I ascribed leadership to the senior executives such as principals, deputies, and head teachers. As such I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this subject and it didn’t take long for my awakening to the leadership opportunities of TLs to begin. The first revelation, and one that I continued to contemplate, was the notion of leading from the middle and it was quite inspirational to consider how I may be able to drive positive change. In particular, I initially identified with the opportunity of demonstrating leadership through the teaching and support of General Capability skills within the Australian Curriculum (Cox & Korodaj, 2019). Additionally, I came to understand that knowledge and skills relating to the curriculum, information literacy, and the ability to collaborate with all members of the school community allows for resourcing and professional development to be provided by TLs (Cox & Korodaj, 2019). This thinking was reinforced by further reading that linked leadership to the role of a TL (AASL, 2017; ALIA & ASLA, 2016, para 1; ALIA & ASLA, 2016, para 5; ALIA & ASLA, n.d. p.4; IFLA, 2015, p. 28).

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ETL503: Assessment 2: Part B: Reflective practice

Prior to my study in ETL503: Resourcing the Curriculum, I had quite a basic idea regarding the role and development of information resources in a school library. One of my initial observations was that much of the professional literature reflects the basic principle that the primary goal of a school library is to provide resources that support the curriculum and meet the teaching and learning needs of its users (New South Wales Department of Education, 2019; Australian Library and Information Association and Australian School Library Association, 2016). In my blog post Collection Development & Collection Management (Prosser, 2022, April 23) I talk about a library collection never being static, changing as new resources are introduced or removed for various reasons. Making sure that the user’s needs are forefront when selecting resources will ensure that despite going through a constant evolutionary process, the collection will always remain current and relevant, now and into the future.

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CENSORSHIP IN SCHOOL LIBRARIES

I’ve been reading about censorship recently, and the impact that censorship can have when developing a school library collection. In doing so, I’ve found it useful to keep in mind a definition of what censorship is, and I quite like this one: “Censorship encompasses those actions which significantly restrict free access to information.” (Moody, 2005, p. 139). When considering free access to information, it’s clear that professional standards indicate that censorship in libraries should be opposed. The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) guidelines state:

“Access to services and collections should be based on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Freedoms, and should not be subject to any form of ideological, political, or religious censorship, or to commercial pressures.” (IFLA, 2015, p. 60).

 

Similarly, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) state:

“Freedom can be protected in a democratic society only if individuals have unrestricted access to information and ideas” (ALIA, 2015, para. 3).

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COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT – WHO DECIDES?

So, one of the potential reflection questions that I came across in ETL503 regarding responsibility for resource selection was Who should have the final say on what is included [in a collection]? Why? In my experience in school libraries, the Teacher-Librarian (TL) selects resources for the library. I had never questioned it or considered that there would be an argument for anyone else to be involved. After some further reading it becomes clear that selecting resources can involve many people – school administrators, teachers, students, parents and other community members, to name a few (Jenkinson, 2002). In fact, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) states that not only is collection building a collaborative endeavour, but that such collaboration should be made clear in a school library’s policy (2015, p. 34). This is supported by a joint statement between the Australian Library and Information Association and the Australian School Library Association that states a collection policy should contain an element that includes responsibilities for collaborative decision making when selecting resources (Australian Library and Information Association, 2016 para. 6).

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COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT & COLLECTION MANAGEMENT

A library collection is never static. It grows, it changes, it evolves. A library collection should reflect the needs of its users (Evans & Saponaro, 2012), and support the teaching and learning of the curriculum (New South Wales Department of Education, 2019; Australian Library and Information Association & Australian School Library Association). In a school library setting, where there is a constant incoming and outgoing of new and graduating students as well as different teaching and learning styles this is particularly pertinent. The users’ needs are likely to be ever-so different from one cohort to the next. Add to this, issues around potential national and state educational policy changes as well as curriculum and syllabus updates, not to mention specific course and subject revisions, introductions of new and different texts for study etc. and it becomes quite clear that a library collection is in a constant state of flux. New resources are added, old resources are discarded all the time. However, there is a little more to it than that. Maintaining a library collection involves careful consideration not only about what goes into the collection (collection development), but also the ongoing decisions associated with what to do with it once it is added (collection management).

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INF506 – Module 2 – OLJ TASK 5: The Client Experience

I will be exploring the online presence of the organisations listed below.

The three main elements of the client experience I will be looking at are the extent to which the sites :

  • are user friendly and navigable
  • contain up-to-date news and information
  • Build community (interaction and collaboration)

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INF506 – Module 1 – OLJ TASK 1: Social Media and Society – Journal Article Analysis

Photo credit: Jeso Carneiro via Flickr/ CC BY-NC 2.0

In the article Multiliteracies for Combating Information Disorder and Fostering Civic Dialogue, the author has highlighted the widespread nature of misleading information that is circulated throughout networked public environments. The term “information disorder” is used to encompass the intentional and unintentional spread of misleading, false, or harmful information within these environments. The author states that whilst there is a consensus that teaching media and information literacies is a vital part of combating information disorder, there is also a need for students to acquire a set of evaluative competencies that allow them to understand shifts in the landscape of information disorder” (Damasceno, 2021).

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What is Social Networking and How do I Use it?

Social networking involves “the use of dedicated websites and applications to interact with other users, or to find people with similar interests to one’s own” (Lexico, 2020). In a professional sense this would include the interaction, collaboration and sharing of information among colleagues, organisations, and other relevant parties that would be related to, or relevant to any work-related activity or issue. Additionally, professional social networking would take advantage of specific social networking sites and social media sites through the use of social software in order for professionals to connect with other users on a local, regional, national or global level. In this way, professional social networking allows users a greater reach and access to a wider professional community to enhance collaboration and sharing of knowledge and ideas.

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ETL401 – Assessment 3, Part C

The culmination of my learning journey in ETL401 involves a reflective practice task whereby I am to provide a critical reflection of how my thinking (particularly around inquiry learning) has expanded. Considering reflection is a fundamental component of Guided Inquiry and that “reflection and thinking about the ideas encountered…[will] enable students to construct knowledge and meaning” (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2007, p.25), this seems like a pertinent task. Reflection, as I have learned, is an important part of the inquiry process and one that I had overlooked when commencing my studies.

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Feeling (GID)dy

I’ve had a brief look ahead into the modules for ETL401 and am looking forward to the near future as I can see that we will be starting to learn about Guided Inquiry. I’m actually quite lucky, as I’ve been told that my school will be implementing a policy that will see every faculty delivering one Guided Inquiry Design (GID) unit for a stage 4 class at some point during the year. That means that, fortuitously, what I’m learning in my modules will be running directly parallel to what I will be working on professionally. Better get a head start!

 

I should also mention that I’ve been lucky enough to attend some professional learning in guided inquiry, specifically Guided Inquiry Design, in the form of a half-day workshop delivered by Leslie Maniotes – she literally (co)wrote the foundational books on Guided Inquiry (Kuhlthau, Maniotes, Caspari, 2015; 2012) and is lead author of the Guided Inquiry design in Action books (Maniotes, 2017). With this in mind I thought I’d share a few of the notes/insights I received on the day.

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