There are a number of strategies that a TL can try if they are working in a school where many teachers see collaboration as a major challenge, or they actually fight against it. Gaining the Principal’s support is fundamental in being able to change the culture of the school to being one that embraces collaboration (Oberg, as cited in Montiel-Overall, 2005, p. 38). The teachers that resist collaboration may believe that they do not have enough time or sufficient resources to support the collaborative process. A Principal that supports collaboration is essential in removing these challenges and providing the vitally needed time and resources (Montiel-Overall, 2005, p. 38). To gain the principal’s support the TL will need to build a case for the benefits of collaboration by gathering concrete evidence. Evidence-based practice will be essential to gather this information. The TL can informally talk to teachers within the school in a social manner to try to find a teacher or teachers that may be willing to attempt a collaborative project (Montiel-Overall, 2005, p. 30). The TL can use the evidence gathered from participating in a number of collaborative lessons or a unit of work with a teacher to demonstrate to the Principal and other teachers that collaboration supports students’ achievement. The TL can be a leader in garnering support for collaboration and its benefits.
Argument for collaboration between the teacher librarian, principal and teachers at a school that you know?
- Improves student achievement
- Integrating IL across the curriculum – skills for higher order thinking and lifelong learning
- Assists the TL to build a library collection that better meets student learning needs and supports the curriculum more effectively
- TL can contribute to the development & design of curriculum
- TL can contribute to development and design of evaluation rubrics for research projects
- TL can collaborate to develop information literacy skills amongst students and transfer across curriculum
- Collaboration fosters creativity and innovation amongst those who participate, “these are essential components for academic success” (Montiel-Overall, 2005, p. 24)
- Collaboration builds trust and social connections amongst teachers (Todd, 2008, p. 28)
- Collaboration between TL and teachers is fundamental in providing students with the skills for living in a world with enormous amounts of information that needs to be understood and managed on a daily basis (Montiel-Overall, 2005, p.25).
Montiel-Overall, P. (2005). A theoretical understanding of teacher and librarian collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 11(2), 24-48. Retrieved from http://www.iasl-online.org/pubs/slw/
Todd, R. J. (2008). The dynamics of classroom teacher and teacher librarian instructional collaborations. Scan, 27(2), 19-28. Retrieved from http://scan.nsw.edu.au/