Reflection on the Role of the Teacher Librarian ETL 401 C

My views on the roles of the teacher librarian when I began this course were that it involved administrative tasks, buying resources relevant to the curriculum, books to engage a broad range of students from the struggling to the gifted and talented, timetabling of classes, that often it involved team teaching, particularly with classes who were using ITC skills for specific subjects. I knew that teaching Information Literacy to year seven students was a major role, but had a limited understanding of the diversity of the concept of information literacy or that it should be integrated into learning contexts across the curriculum.

I was unaware of the ideas of multiliteracies Todd (2004), information fluency (Lorenzo, 2007) and (Stripling, 2007), hyper-literacy (Kapitzke, 2003) or transliteracy (Jaeger, 2011). It began to appear as an intricate dance between researching by reading, viewing, listening and also interacting across different mediums at times almost simultaneously. It was very multi-modal and obviously needed some serious adjustments to teaching practices to make learning relevant to students in the twenty-first century. As Lorenzo points out students today are very social and have a lateral approach to learning, they demand to be engaged or they will shut you out, they may work in virtual teams and demand immediacy. They are very connected but need guidance in analysing information and need to understand the responsibility that comes with publishing. (Lorenzo, 2007).

Well it seems like a huge task, one that requires collaborating with other teachers who value developing approaches to teaching and learning that provide the best possible skills and understandings enabling students to be aware of their learning processes and adapt to a changing information environment. I agree with Eisenburg that “accomplishing integrated Information Literacy instruction requires information professionals in collaboration with others to make a concerted and systematic effort to plan and deliver programs in context” (Eisenburg, 2008, p.47). At the beginning of the course I was aware that the Teacher Librarian should collaborate with other teachers but was unaware of the extent of that collaboration. I think that I initially was aware of Montiel-Overall’s (2005) first three levels, Coordination, Cooperation, and Integrated Instruction. I had experienced some Integrated Instruction as a member of the GATS  team at the high school where I am a casual Teacher Librarian.

I realise now that although this was a deeper level of involvement that did integrate some innovative learning opportunities, there is another level of collaboration Integrated Curriculum, which involves the Teacher Librarian across the curriculum (pp, 36-38) this generally involves strong support from the principal and executive to allow time to plan curriculum design and assessment integrating information skills in what (Purcell, 2010) calls ‘vertical integration (ie. between grade levels) of curriculum as well as horizontal integration (ie. between subjects) of learning experiences (p. 32).

I really enjoyed the readings on guided inquiry and was pleased that they are integrated with information literacy. Guided inquiry allows students to use a wide range of resources; it motivates as students can construct their own meanings, promotes deeper knowledge and develops skills needed in the twenty first century (Kuhlthau, Maniotes, Caspari, 2007). I think that inquiry based learning is an excellent constructive way to engage students, although some teachers would not be happy to add more units to an already full work load, it is something that can be adapted and refined as time goes on, and developing other sequences would become more intuitive over time. It is also useful as it can work with different types of learning styles and is a good tool to use in collaboration with other teachers.

I have realised that there are a lot of dedicated teacher librarians in the blog world and have joined some sites that interest me Libraries and Transliteracy, Students Learn, Half Pint of Wisdom, and Oasis Library

Lastly the article on conflict resolution was a very helpful read (Sanders, 2004) particularly the positive twist that conflict can offer opportunities for change, listening actively, explore possible solutions and try to generate as many options as possible.

I have realised that the role of Teacher Librarian is more dynamic and connected than I realised and am excited by the possibilities that there are to explore.

Eisenberg, M., B. (2008). Information literacy: Essential skills for the information age. DESIDOC Journal of Information Technology, 28(2), 39-47.

Jaeger, P. (2011). Transliteracy- New library lingo and what it means for instruction. Library Media Connection, 30(2), 44-47.

Kapitzke, C. (2003). Information literacy: A review and poststructural critique.              Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 26(1), 53-66.

Kuhlthau, Carol. C., Maniotes, Leslie, K., & Caspari, Ann, K. (2007). Introduction to guided inquiry- what is it, what’s new, why now? Guided inquiry: Learning in the twenty-first century. Libraries Unlimited.

Lorenzo, G. (2007). Catalysts for change: Information fluency, Web 2.0, library 2.0, and the new education culture. Retrieved from http://www.edpath.com/stn.htm

Purcell, Melissa. (2010). All librarians do is check out books, right? A look at the roles of a school library media specialist. Library Media Connection, November/ December.

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

Stripling, B. (2007). Assessing information fluency: gathering evidence of student learning. School library Media Activities Monthly, 23(8), 25-29.

Todd, Ross, J. (2004). Research columns four, Scan, 23(4), p. 20.

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About tanialibraryquest

I am a drama/ history teacher and have just started a Masters of Education Teacher Librarian. I have been involved extensively in the arts, mostly in dance and theatre. I have worked in community theatre through federal arts funded projects and also worked with Ausdance National at National Youth Dance Festivals. I have worked in schools as an "outside professional", and decided to complete and Grad Dip Ed. I was very keen to work in drama in schools but have since gained a number of blocks as teacher librarian. I enjoy the dynamic nature of the work, team teaching, collaborating, management and developing relationships with students who access the library. I have done some renovating and re-organising of teaching areas. I am having a crash course in Oasis library catalogue and also technology! Looking forward to the masters and all it has to offer!
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