Monthly Archives: April 2013

ETL401 – Information Literacy and Transfer

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  • The teacher librarian (TL) can encourage students to transfer information literacy (IL) skills and practices by helping to create a “culture of transfer” (Herring, 2011b, p. 20) within a school. IL skills and practices need to be recognised and accepted by the whole learning community as essential for supporting curriculum goals (Herring, 2011a, para. 14). The TL can bring this to the attention of the Principal and teachers at staff meetings and curriculum development meetings. (Herring, 2011b, p. 20)
  • Collaboration with teachers is essential to continue to develop this “culture of transfer” (Herring, 2011b, p. 20) within a school. Collaborative partnerships between the TL and teachers will ensure that teachers know what IL skills and practices the TL is teaching and the TL can encourage the teachers to reinforce these IL skills with students. Collaboration is essential for the development of teaching strategies that encourage students to transfer IL skills and practices. This encouragement needs to come from both TLs and the teachers (Herring, 2011a, para. 15)
  • A learning environment where encouragement comes from both the TL and the teachers is more likely to have students that do transfer IL literacy skills and practices (Herring, 2011a, para. 14)
  • The TL can talk to students and gather information on the students views on IL skills and practices. The information gathered can assist in the development of transferring IL skills and practices amongst students. The TL can encourage teachers to talk to students, so that this information can be used as part of collaboration. TLs and teachers need to talk to students across all grades (Herring, 2011a, para. 21).

References

Herring, J. (2011a). Assumptions, information literacy and transfer in high schools. Teacher Librarian, 38(3), 32-36. Retrieved from http://www.teacherlibrarian.com

Herring, J. (2011b). Year seven students, concept mapping and the issues of transfer. School Libraries Worldwide, 17(1), 11-23. Retrieved from http://www.iasl-online.org/index.htm

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ETL401- Topic 4.1 Guided Inquiry

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Guided inquiry (GI) is a form of constructivist learning. It is based on the Information Search Process (ISP) which was researched and developed by Dr Carol Kuhlthau. The bulk of the literature seems to suggest more advantages than disadvantages for a TL that is wishing to implement a GI approach, although challenges are clearly discussed.

 Advantages:

  • The skills used in GI can be applied in other areas in the students lives and support lifelong learning
  • GI is a practical way to address the learning needs of students
  • As described by Kuhlthau, each time the students engage in a GI task they are engaging in five kinds of learning, “curriculum content, information literacy, learning how to learn, literacy competence and social skills” (2010, p. 19)
  • Enables the expertise in the school community and the wider community to be utilised for the advantage of the students learning
  • Encourages collaboration between TLs and teachers, therefore providing the opportunity for collaboration to increase
  • Collaboration creates the foundation for applying the team teaching approach necessary for GI
  • GI is a useful tool for forming the basis for ongoing evidence based practice
  • Ensures students information literacy skills are addressed
  • The use of scaffolds and bringing them together in a meaningful way
  • Support given by the School Library Impact Measure (SLIM) survey toolkit, great assessment tool and evidence based practice tool

Challenges:

  • GI challenges TLs and teachers (schools) to take learning to a higher level
  • Getting teachers to be willing to participate
  • Keeping students motivated and interested at different stages of the GI process

Disadvantages:

  • Workload increased
  • SLIM surveys – data entry can be time consuming

The positive impact that GI can have on the learning experience of students was eloquently described by one of the Year 10 students from Broughton Anglican College when she described her experience. The student stated,

I was incredibly proud of my work! It wasn’t just any assignment; it had become my own project. By the end of the process the information really had become my own. I knew my topic like the back of my hand and I had become extremely passionate about it. This is still the case now. It was honestly the most fulfilling piece of work I have ever completed (Sheerman, Little, & Breward, 2011, p. 5)

Reference

Kuhlthau, C. K. (2010). Building Guided Inquiry Teams for 21st-Century Learners. School Library Monthly, 26(5), 18. Retrieved from http://www.schoollibrarymonthly.com/index.html

Sheerman, A., Little, J., & Breward, N. (2011). iInquire… iLearn… iCreate… iShare: Guided Inquiry at Broughton Anglican College. Scan, 30(1), 4-5. Retrieved from http://scan.nsw.edu.au/

Blog Task # 2 – Evidence based practice

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Evidence based practice (EBP) is a method that involves the teacher librarian (TL) gathering evidence to demonstrate how the TL supports student learning outcomes (Lamb & Johnson, 2004-2010b, para. 1). In practice the TL can proactively engage in a variety methods of gathering information. It is essential for the TL to present the evidence to senior administrators, teachers and parents, creating a clear and factual picture of how the TL supports student achievement.

Essentially EBP is about the TL taking action by gathering information that measures student learning outcomes. There are a variety of different methods for gathering this information. Todd (2003) suggests that the most important factor is that the evidence gathered clearly documents how the role of the TL has enhanced student achievement, with concrete examples (para. 15). The TL needs to research, analyse, evaluate, synthesise and present the evidence. Todd (2007) discussed the fundamental idea, that EBP is best practice and it benefits both the students and the TL. The students benefit from the TL continuously assessing ways to best support learning needs. The TL benefits by gaining recognition and support from senior administrators, teachers and parents, for the vital role they play in the learning community (p. 76). How the TL implements EBP will be discussed next.

 In practice there are number of different methods the TL may use to gather information. According to Todd (2003) the TL needs to gather information that illustrates concrete learning outcomes and the influence of the TL in achieving these outcomes (para. 4 – 5). In practice the TL will need to gather information on a regular basis. Todd (2003) describes a number of useful methods such as checking and documenting student’s skills, before and after instructional lessons. Using rubrics to evaluate the students based on the effectiveness of the library lessons. Providing students with opportunities for reflective writing and conversation about how library instructional lessons support literacy and information literacy skills. The TL can collect lesson plans and document the outcomes achieved from the students. Importantly, the TL can gather samples of student’s work regularly and use these to demonstrate specific curriculum goals and information literacy learning outcomes (para. 11). Todd (2003) also suggests that collaboration with teachers is another way for TLs to gather information about their contribution to curriculum development in the areas of literacy and information literacy. The teachers can be the TLs greatest advocates for how vital the role of the TL is in supporting students learning outcomes (para. 10). Presenting this evidence will be discussed next.

 The TL will want to promote the strong collection of evidence that they have gathered (Lamb & Johnson, 2004-2010a, para. 12). According to Haycock (as cited in Oberg, 2002, p. 10) the evidence that the TL has gathered needs to be presented in a way that is comprehendible to senior administrators, teachers and parents, for it to be effective. Producing reports or presentations is a practical way to illustrate how the TL supports student learning outcomes.

 EBP requires the TL to proactively gather information to demonstrate how the TL’s role is vital to the learning community. A number of methods can be used to gather relevant information to document the TLs positive contributions. It is essential that the TL communicates this information to the school community to gain support and recognition for school library programs.

 References

Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2004-2010a). Library media program: Evaluation. In The school library media specialist. Retrieved April 22, 2013 from http://eduscapes.com/sms/program/evaluation.html

Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2004-2010b). Library media program: Evidence-based decision-making.  In The school library media specialist. Retrieved April 22, 2013 from http://eduscapes.com/sms/program/evidence.html

 Oberg, D. (2002). Looking for the evidence: Do school libraries improve student achievement?, School Libraries in Canada, 22(2), 10-14. Retrieved from http://www.clatoolbox.ca/casl/slic/

Todd, R. J. (2007). Evidence-based practice and school libraries. In S. Hughes-Hassell & V. H. Harada (Eds.), School reform and the school library media specialist (pp. 57-78). Westport, CY: Libraries Unlimited.

Todd, R. J. (2003). Irrefutable evidence: How to prove you boost student achievement. School Library Journal. Retrieved from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA287119.html

ETL401 – Topic # 3

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What is an appropriate role for the teacher librarian in curriculum development?

Each particular school context will greatly influence the TL in the decisions that are made about the curriculum learning and the service the library provides (O’Connell, 2013, Slide 2). It is beneficial to the whole learning community if the TL is significantly involved in the development of the curriculum.

What benefits can a school obtain from the active involvement of the teacher librarian in curriculum development?

The TL is looking at things in a “big picture way”. With teacher collaboration the TL can help identify areas of the curriculum that can be enriched by bringing the students (and teacher) out of the classroom and in to a wider learning environment & utilising inquiry based learning to meet the curriculum needs and foster deeper understanding for the students. With teacher collaboration, TLs can focus in on areas of the curriculum where reading and literacy can be supported. TLs can add value to curriculum development by initiating activities that maximise new technologies to enrich learning and teaching experiences. TLs can emphasise how these can be used to facilitate learning. As Judy O’Connell states “inquiry is at the heart of our work, and is supported by information literacy frameworks to add depth to the thinking processes” (2013, slide 6). If constructivist learning is at the heart of the curriculum, and IBL and RBL are forms of constructivist learning, then the TLs expertise and experience in these areas can only be of benefit to curriculum development.

Should a principal expect that teachers would plan units of work with the teacher librarian?

Principals that understand the vital role that the TL plays in student’s achievement will also understand how collaboration between teachers and TLs is the essential ingredient for this to happen. A well informed and supportive Principal would do more than just expect that teachers plan units of work with TLs, they would be active in making sure that it does happen. Supportive Principals would schedule time for teachers and TLs to sit down together and collaborate about teaching and learning strategies for units of work.

How are students disadvantaged in schools that exclude the teacher librarian from curriculum development?

These students may be deprived of fully developing skills that they will need to function well in the 21C. These students could possibly miss out on developing the deep learning and understanding that can come from the TLs supportive role in an inquiry approach to their learning. These students may be lacking the skills and understanding that are enriched by researching, finding information, analysing information, synthesising information and presenting it. Student’s education will be disadvantaged if the TL and school library program is not utilised to it maximum potential. The TL needs to be involved in curriculum development for this to happen.

 References

 O’Connell, J. (2013). Teacher librarian and the curriculum: Lifesavers of learning [Audio podcast]. Retrieved April 5, 2013, from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/tool/967fb641-e8a6-470b-8079-12701ae22ac0/view_module

ETL401 – The TL as evidence gatherer, pro-active researcher & advocate for school libraries

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It seems that the TL professional community is more than aware that trained TLs (with libraries that are equipped well and have adequate support staff) do make a difference to the learning achievement of students.

TLs need to be advocates for the important role that they play in student achievement. This advocacy needs to be backed up with evidence, for it to have any real lasting effect on the attitudes of the rest of the school community and especially those that make decisions. Advocacy is important at local level but needs to be backed up by “demonstrable actions and evidences which give substance and power to advocacy” (Hay & Todd, 2010, p. 37).

Evidence-based practice and using the available research findings of others are the two main ways that TLs can gather the evidence that they need to support the fact that TLs and school libraries (that are fully utilised) do improve students learning achievement (Oberg, 2002, p. 10).

According to Haycock (as cited in Oberg, 2002, p. 10), this evidence needs to be presented in a way that is understandable to other members of the school community and very importantly the staff members that make the decisions about how well the school library is supported.

It would be beneficial for TLs to become pro-active researchers, gathering evidence continually. Oberg’s suggestion of TLs involvement in “carrying out action research or teacher-researcher projects” (2002, p. 12) illustrates one of the many avenues TLs can pursue in being pro-active.

Ultimately, TLs will need to be part of the solution in demonstrating their worth to the school community rather than just pointing out the problems that are currently facing the TL profession.

References

 Hay, L., & Todd, R. (2010). School libraries 21C: The conversation begins. Scan, 29(1), 30-42. Retrieved from http://scan.nsw.edu.au/

Oberg, D. (2002). Looking for the evidence: Do school libraries improve student achievement?, School Libraries in Canada, 22(2), 10-14. Retrieved from http://www.clatoolbox.ca/casl/slic/