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.
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