ETL401 – Assignment 2: IL models and reflection (Portfolio) Part B: Critical reflection

Prior to commencing this subject, and the overall course Master of  Education (Teacher Librarianship) my views of the role of the TL were limited to say the least.  Co-ordinating the books, recording requested documentary audio visual programs, and perhaps showing the new year 7 students how the library works at high school was the limit, I mean, all librarians do is check out books, right? (Purcell, 2010).  These views did not come from lack of understanding, but from the example I have observed of libraries in operation in the many high schools I have taught in over my career to date, since 1986. Not only many schools, but in many roles, as my career has been as a relief teacher working both as a day-to-day substitute, and on long dedicated blocks over the range of faculties.

I had a feeling that there was more to it than that, but had not given it a great deal of thought.  Now at the end of this first subject ETL401 I can say that my understanding of the role of the TL has broadened significantly.

To consider that the role of the teacher librarian is a multi-faceted one, with the possible roles being a teacher, librarian, information services manager, information literacy leader, curriculum leader, information specialist, instructional partner, website developer, budget manager, staff manager, fiction and non-fiction advocate, (Herring, 2007) I am both excited and daunted. Excited because of the opportunity the TL has to create the environment where the library will become an integral part of the school learning environment and not be perceived as a separate entity (Kay, 2013), and daunted because up to today, the perception has been that libraries have consisted of large collections of books and other materials (Frey, 1997) that people borrow, or sit quietly to read.

There are many concepts that I have been introduced to over the course of this subject. Guided enquiry, constructivist learning, information literacy, the need for Principal support, collaboration, and models which outline the information search process.

On the matter of constructivist and project based learning, I enjoyed the fact that I have used this approach as part of my teaching on many occasions without realising the principle of the concept, and now, with my deeper understanding of its value to student learning, will bring it to the fore of my teaching style as it is a strategy certain to turn traditional classrooms upside down. (Boss & Krauss, 2007).

To the matter of information literacy, the model designed by Kuhlthau where the learner progresses through stages of initiation, selection, exploration, formulation, collection, presentation and assessment (Kuhlthau, 2004) has been a revelation to me regarding the information search process. Indeed I have found myself on many occasions during this subject moving between selection, exploration and and formulation where confusion, frustration and doubt have been the dominant feelings.  But the greatest benefit in understanding the process outlined by this model is that to recognise, and understand, at what point of the model a student is traveling on their search for information, and then being able to guide them towards success.

The understanding of the need of the TL to be a proactive collaborator with staff and the Principal has been an insight which, although I was aware should occur, has been highlighted as of utmost importance.  Collaboration with staff regarding incorporation of the   teaching skills of TL, and library facilities, into their teaching programs, and, collaboration with the Principal regarding having a regular presence in the library confirming the value of the facility as part of the school environment, which will give the students the confidence that the principal supports the library. (Kay, 2013).

Introduction to the Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians (ALIA/ASLA,  2004) has encapsulated, for me, the depth and breadth of understanding I will need to acquire by the completion of the Masters of Education (teacher librarianship) degree.  To fulfill the role to support and implement the vision of the my school community through advocating and building effective library services and programs that contribute to the development of lifelong learners (ALIA/ASLA, 2004) will be my goal, and striving to prioritise when and where to place effort and time will be the skill.

I do not have all the skills needed to fulfill these criteria at the end of this one subject, however, the journey of understanding has commenced and advice is like snow– the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind (Samuel  Taylor Coleridge).  I look forward a further precipitation of knowledge and understanding.

References.

Australian School Library Association (ASLA) & Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), (2004).  Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians in Australian School Library Association.  Retrieved from http://asla.org.au/site/DefaultSite/filesystem/documents/TLstandards.pdf

Boss, S. & Krauss, J. (2007). Reinventing Project-Based Learning. Your Field Guide to Real-World Projects in the Digital Age. International Society for Technology in Education. (ISTE)

Coleridge, S. T. (2003) From a Presentation by Dr Ross Todd, WASLA Conference, 2003.

Frey, T. (1997). The Future of Libraries, Beginning the Great Transformation. Retrieved from http://www.davinciinstitute.com/papers.the-future-of-libraries/

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library.  In s. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries in the twenty-first century: charting new directions in information (p. 27-42).  Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Kay. G. (2013). Blog task #2. Role of the TL regarding Principal support.  Retrieved from https://gregskay.wordpress.com

Kuhlthau, C. (2004). Information Search Process. Retrieved from http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~kuhlthau/information_search_process.htm

Purcell. M. (2010). All Librarians Do Is Check Out Books, Right?  A Look at the Roles os a School Library Media Specialist. Library Media Connection 29(3) (p.30-33)

ETL401 – Blog Task #3 : Information Literacy

Throughout the ages the concept of Information Literacy could be considered a constant in that man has always had the need, and desire, for information.  However, as time has passed the information available has become more detailed and diverse in nature as technology has allowed for the development of information sources to evolve.  For an individual to keep in touch with this progression they will need to develop a set of skills which will allow access to information in all it’s forms.  Therefore it could be concluded that information literacy is a set of skills, but these skills will need to be diverse, in order to access this wide range of information.

One may challenge that use of search engines, Web 2.0, or personalized web search devices such as Yahoo search builder, requires something greater than a set of skills, however, to use these simply means our approaches to information literacy have to change.  (O’Connell, 2008).  The user will need to develop new skills to utilise these new tools.  Mitchell (2007) has reiterated that searching for information is more than just a rules-driven process, and there is no one correct way to search for information in this diverse Web 2.0 landscape.

When considering the building block approach suggested by Abilock where information literacy is a transformational process in which the learner needs to find, understand, evaluate, and use information in various forms to create for personal, social or global purposes, (Abilock, 2004) suggests that the enquirer will require a wide range of skills if they are to engage, define, initiate, locate, examine, record, communicate and evaluate (Abilock, 2004) information for the purpose intended.

To examine and understand information in the modern age, the user will require many skills to understand the situation to use appropriate information search techniques. To consider the information literate person is one who;

recognizes the need for information,

understands the extent of information needed,

uses efficient search methods,

evaluates the quality of information and it’s sources,

classifies and stores information,

incorporates selected information into their knowledge base,

uses information efficiently to learn and solve problems,

understands legal and cultural implications in accessing and using information ethically,

uses information for participative citizenship and social responsibility,

and experiences information literacy as part of independent and lifelong learning, (Bundy, 2004) will promote the concept that a diverse range of skills will be required.

As we move into the 21st century Johnson (2006) suggests there are three critical societal changes; the growing digitization and portability of information, emerging fundamental changes in the nature and sources of information, and the critical need for new skills for workers in a global economy. This indicates the ongoing need to develop sound skills in order to stay current with trends in the ever evolving world of information.

So whether the information required is via the medium of paper, web based or digital, the enquirer will need to utilise techniques drawn from a wide variety of skills in order to efficiently and accurately acquire relevant information to satisfy the needs outlaid at the beginning of any search.

References.

Abilock, D. (2004).  Information literacy: an overview of design, process and outcomes. Sourced from www.noodles.com/debbie/literacies/1 over/infolit1.html

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

Johnson, D. (2006).  Dangers and Opportunities:  challenges for libraries in the digital agewww.doug.johnson.com/storage/handouts/danger.pdf

Langford, L. (1998.)  Information Literacy: A Clarification. School Libraries worldwide, Volume 4, Number 1. (p.59-72)

Mitchell, P. (2007).  Information Literacy Experts or Expats?  SLANZA Conference www.educationau.edu.au/jahia/webdav/site/myjahiasite/shared/papers/slanza_pm.pdf.

O’Connell, J. (2008).  School Libraries 2.0: new skills, new knowledge, new futures. In P. Godwin & J. Parker (Eds.), Information literacy meets Library 2.0 (p. 51-62).London: Facet Publishing.

ETL401 – Project-Based Learning: Just Scratching the Surface.

Background

Since term 2 our library has been ‘under new management’ so to speak.  That is myself and two other teachers in caretaker role since the retirement of our long standing teacher librarian, and the advertising for another.  Part of our brief has been to change the culture in the library to a more inviting and used space than it has been for some time.  The principal has supported, and promoted, the fact that the library is ‘open for business’ from 8am until the close of school.  This has meant the three of us have split loads of teaching and library management.

The library now can be booked on the school data base where as prior to the change a staff member needed to achieve having their name written on a paper booking sheet, in the librarians office,  that only the librarian was sanctioned write on. This process was intimidating for most of the staff as there would be rules (almost unachievable) that staff must follow in regard to class management, in order to even remain in the library for the duration of the lesson. All too hard for most!

So now, as part of culture change, staff can book the different spaces in the library on the computer booking network if no other class has it booked.  There are 5 separate learning spaces that can be booked.  These are;  computer terminals, interactive white board, study area with class set of tables and chairs, and a video conferencing device.  This can occur now without ‘jumping through  a set of shifting hoops’ laid out in a manner that only the librarian understood.

Project-based Learning

Part of my teaching load is a year 8 geography class. We have been studying geographical global issues.   Part of this topic was the study of global inequities between developed and developing countries.  I gave the class a task to make a comparison between Australia and a country of their choosing.  The only requirement was to address 10 areas.  Access to clean water and sanitation, average annual wage, industry, work and employment opportunities, doctor per thousand of population, type of accommodation and housing available, education, family size, and type of government.

Although there were topics to address, that was it.  The computers were booked for 2 lessons and I let them go to it. Group work was encouraged but the size of the group was not really  specified, just to work with whom they chose.  After the two lessons each group was to report back to the class on what they had found, and put the statistics on a hand drawn grid I put on the board. Without realising it, this appears to me to be a project-based style learning task.  And the results were far beyond my expectation.  Groups reported, peers listened, we discussed the pattern of figures that were being presented and, at the end of the session, the students understood the vast difference between the developed and developing world.

Prominent manufacturing brand names were included in discussion and not just one sided opinion as to the ethics and behaviours of such.  Students analysed the pros and cons of such business activity with understanding of issues of varying points of view from the onlooker to the employee.

In this case the students found technology was a fundamental building block of their experience (Kinory 2007) through use of the computers and the internet.  Here students engaged in real-world activities (Boss, Krauss, 2007) and it really impacted on their understanding of, and respect for, the situation faced by a vast majority of the worlds population.

In conclusion, now having been introduced to the concept of project based learning. I realise that I have just been scratching at the surface of this style of teaching (without realising the concept).  Shifting the instruction from teacher providing information, to the students driving the learning, with the result being far more information and learning occurring due to each student or group bringing their learning to others.  Wow, looking forward to deepening my understanding of project-based learning, and gearing my teaching style to the technologically based 21st century.

May these scratches become highways!

Reference.

Boss, s. and Krauss, J. (2007).  Reinventing Project-Based Learning.  Your Field Guide to Real- World Projects in the Digital Age. (p3-24). International Society for Technology

ETL401 – Blog Task #2: Role of the TL regarding Principal support.

Principal Support.

As the leader of the school the support offered by the principal towards the library, and the teacher librarian, will have a direct bearing on the strength and success of the impact the library and librarian has on the school community.  This support is offered by means of; the principals attitude towards the relationship between the teacher librarian and the staff, their presence in the library environment, and provision of finances to purchase resources.  With principal support the library, and teacher librarian, will become an integral part of the school learning environment and not be perceived as a separate entity.

The attitude of the principal is overwhelmingly the most important aspect of principal support.   From this will stem collaboration between teachers and the teacher librarian, positive student perception of the library and librarian as a resource for learning, and integration of the library into the greater school community.  As mentors providing visibility and importance for the teacher librarians, supportive principals spoke highly of the teacher librarians in their schools and gave clear evidence that they trusted the teacher librarians’ knowledge and expertise. (Oberg, 2006).

When this type of support occurs the value of the library will be considered paramount. The teaching staff will be encouraged to collaborate with the librarian on matters of programing and the library will become an extension of the classroom.  Principals of schools with well integrated, flexible programs demonstrate specific supportive behaviours during both implementation and maintenance phases of any restructuring.  The attitude alone of the principal affects teacher – teacher librarian collaboration. (Haycock, 1996, 1999).

Tallman and van Deusen (1994) found in the United States and Haycock (1996) found in Canada that when the school principal expects team planning between teachers and the teacher librarian, whether as grade level groups or subject area groups, team planning occurs more than when the principal does not expect such collaboration.  This will be of little surprise to teacher librarians, but it does point to the leadership issues and non monetary expectations that help to shape school culture.  (Oberg, 2006).   Teacher librarians plan more units with teachers regardless of the type of schedule if the principal expects team planning.  Tallman and van Deusen (1994),  Haycock (1996).

By having a regular presence in the library the principal will be confirming the value of the facility as part of the school environment. To speak with the students regarding benefits they are gaining through utilisation of the skills of the librarian, and use of the facilities, will give students the confidence that the principal supports the library environment.

Through collaboration of teachers with the teacher librarian a request for resources can be developed. This will lead to the purchasing of the most relevant equipment and learning materials to support the implementation of teaching programs.  For all this to occur Teacher librarians must communicate effectively with their principals.  (Oberg, 2006).

In summary, for an integrated library program to be included as part of the whole school learning environment the attitude of the principal will need to be positive, tactile, and encouraging towards the collaboration between the teaching staff and the teacher librarian.

References.

Haycock, K. (1996). What works: Effective school administrator behaviours. Teacher Librarian, 23(3) (p.33.)

Haycock, K. (1999).  Fostering collaboration, leadership and information literacy:  Common behaviours of uncommon principals and faculties.  NASSP Bulletin 83, (p. 82-87)

Oberg, d. (2006). Developing the respect and support of school administrators.  Teacher Librarian;  Feb 2006; 33(3); ProQuest Central.  (P. 13-18)

Tallman, J. & van Deusen, J. D. (1994). Collaborative unit planning schedule, time, and participants : The 1993-94 AASL/ Highsmith Research award Study Part Three.  School Library Media Quarterly, 23, (p.33-37)

ETL401 – Searching Library Databases

Being a 60’s child searching for books is what I have been used to, so searching online has been a new experience.

Using Primo search I have been finding relevant articles. The advanced search feature helps to narrow searches to specific topics. As a broad search for relevant material I have used the subject number and course relevant texts are offered.

Ebsco search has also been useful, although I have yet to be successful with setting up and using a folder. I am not as comfortable reading from the screen as from a printed document, so, have invested in a printer and when a suitable article is found I print this out. It may not be as streamline as having a folder, but at this stage is the best way for me to study.

I am finding there is a great deal of information available relating to the role of the teacher librarian in the school environment, far more than I am able to digest at this stage of the course, however, there is time to take it in, so persistence is the key here.

Overall, my experience of data base searching has been a steep learning curve, and one which I will improve at with practice.

ETL 401- Policy Comparison: The ASLA document to My School Policy

Policy comparison:  The ASLA Document to My School LIbrary Document.

When considering the Standards for Professional Excellence for Teacher Librarians (ASLA 2004) document it becomes clear that this is an all encompassing policy to set the highest standard for teacher librarians to aspire to in both their day-to-day activities and in the long term planning for ongoing library development.  The policy is also designed so that there is a national standard and approach for all teacher librarians to act under.

The policy sets standards under the categories of Professional knowledge, Professional practice and Professional commitment. (ASLA 2004).  Each standard has subcategories which brings to the fore clear direction and goals for the teacher librarian to incorporate into their role within the school community.

The policy which has been written for Bateman’s Bay High School was developed in 2002.  It presents the policy statement as describing the role of the teacher librarian using quotations from the ‘Libraries in New South Wales Government Schools’ policy document of 1987.

As these quotes are brief I will present them as they are in the policy statement.

“The school library is a major educational resource for teachers and students of the school.  It is primarily a learning and information centre which assists in the learning process by providing:

* services

* personnel

    • materials and equipment
    • an information system.

the library is an essential resource for the planning and the implementation of the teaching program of the school.  It is also a recreational and reference centre for the students and the teachers. …..In the context of available resources, advances in technology should be assimilated into the library to maintain its relevance to its users within the wider social context.”

“The purpose of the library is to enhance teaching and students’ learning within the total program of the school…”

The goal for Bateman’s Bay High school is to provide resources, both human and material, to enhance the teaching and learning activities within the school.

The policy then outlines Collection development policy, Library staff/duties policy and SASS staff duties with a one page explanation of each.

In making a comparison between the two policies the ASLA document considers a greater depth and breadth of considerations for the teacher librarian.  It not only focusses on the running of the library in the school community but has an evaluation process to consider for future development of facilities as well as professional development.

The Bateman’s Bay document, although developed from a previous state based policy, has elements of the ASLA policy but has less detail in comparison.  The major focus of our school policy, although is states “to enhance teaching and students’ learning within the total program of the school”, deals with providing a more of a passive resource facility rather than a proactive teacher librarian developing a information centre in consultation with teachers to provide a diverse resource for all.

To ask which policy more suitable and appropriate I would suggest the ASLA policy is.  To ask- is the Bateman’s Bay library policy adequate?- I would answer yes.  However that “yes” would be followed by “with a understanding that future policy development should take on board all the aspects of the ASLA.

In conclusion,  this has been a positive exercise in several ways.  Firstly, to actually find the school policy statement which was buried deep in a filing cabinet,  and then to make comparison between it and the ASLA document.  This has brought to my attention the fact that there is room for development and improvement of the school policy in consideration of the ASLA policy statement.

ETL401- Blog Task #1: Role of the TL regarding constuctivist learning and the Australian curriculum

In writing a reflective piece which demonstrates an understanding of the role of the TL,  I will initially examine processes and issues surrounding the constructivist learning concept and then relate these ideas to the role of the TL in regard to the Australian curriculum.

The Constructivist approach is one of four teaching styles presented by Richmond (2006, p.25).  The other three being; Authoritarian approach,  Behavioural approach, and Democratic approach.

A continuum ranging from teacher initiated goals and control (Authoritarian approach), to student initiated learning with self discipline (Constructivist approach) is displayed as a ‘behaviour management approach’ continuum graph. Richmond, (2006, fig. 2.3 p.25).  Although this study focuses on behaviour management methods the message is relevant to overall curriculum implementation.

Perkins, (1999), recognized constructivism as a philosophy that promotes thoughtful learning in the classroom.  He noted ”three basic learning premises that undergird the constructivist instructional approach”.   That knowledge and understanding; are actively acquired, are socially constructed in dialogue with others, and, are created and recreated. Ward Beamon (2005, p.104).

Another consideration is understanding ‘what’s it going to take to motivate’ a student. Ulrich Tobias, (1996, Ch. 4).  In this chapter Ulrich Tobias examines the concept that identifies individual learning styles and suggests motivational drivers.  Understanding   styles, and subsequently what may motivate an individual student, will support lessons being tailored towards individual student needs.

My final consideration in understanding constructivist learning, is the processes occurring in the brain associated with intrinsic motivation. Jensen (1998, p. 67-70). Here Jensen discusses the approach that will be most successful in guiding individuals to create intrinsic motivation towards knowledge and learning.

Jensen’s studies reveal that the concept of ‘intrinsic motivation’ is a term can be misused and misunderstood.  “Most students are already intrinsically motivated; it’s just that the motivation is very context dependent. The same student who is lethargic in traditional  math class can become quite energetic when figuring out paycheck deductions from her first job.  Thus, we have been looking in the wrong places for motivation”. Jensen, (1998, p.67).

Considering the above, it appears individuals are motivated. This suggests the challenge for the TL  is to support each individual student in acquiring the desire to learn and cater to individual needs in respect of learning styles and motivational triggers.

“As you probably know, there are no simple answers or sure-fire recipes, but you can find effective ways to inspire almost every learning style by discovering and appealing to the design of your mind.  Remember, it’s likely that what motivates you will not be as effective with your children”. Ulrich Tobias (1996, p.39)

The TL will collaborate with colleagues regarding the Australian curriculum. Then construct library resources with a variety of learning experiences offered.  “For adolescents to become better thinkers, they must become immersed in settings where thinking drives the understanding of knowledge”. Ward Beamon (2005, p.105

The role and challenge for the TL is to create an environment where intrinsically motivated learning occurs so that higher order thinking may be pursued.

References:

Jensen, E. (1998), Teaching with the brain in mind. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Alexandria, Virginia.

Perkins, D. (1999), The many faces of constructivism.Educational Leadership 57(3):6-11

Richmond, C. (2006), Teach More, Manage Less. A Minimalist Approach to Behaviour Management. Scholastic Australia Pty Ltd, Lindfield, NSW.

Ulrich Tobias, C. (1996), Every Child Can Succeed, (ch.4), Focus on the Family Publishing. Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Ward Beamon, G. (2005), Teaching With Adolescent Learning in Mind.  Hawker Brownlow Education. Moorabbin, Victoria.