Reflection ETL 401
It is with some trepidation that I launch into this reflection piece. I have been teaching in the Library, alongside a teacher librarian (TL), albeit in a part-time capacity, for eight years and thought I was pretty astute at embracing guided inquiry and information literacies into my lessons. I was fairly certain that I knew exactly what a TL was supposed to focus on within the library context and while that is partially true and I may have an advantage over those who have never taught within a library, I have since realised that I have much to learn!
Within my library are two posters and a mobile clearly depicting the NSW ISP and whilst I have looked at them many times and ensured I followed the steps as a teacher, I have failed to articulate and teach this process when instructing my students. Ryan & Capra (2001) advocate a common language throughout NSW schools to aid in following the inquiry process and enhancing transfer of skills across curriculum areas. As I reflect back on this assignment I am acutely aware that I had no real understanding of the cognitive foundations of information literacy models and therefore did not realise their value. I do of course now see the absolute importance of such models and their complete relevance in the curriculum particularly in a world where information overload is predominant and the convergence of literacy is ever present.
I have found many of the readings, particularly those by James Herring and Joyce Valenza very informative and enlightening. In fact ‘Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians (Valenza, 2010) overwhelmed me at first as I realised how many of these skills and attitudes I was lacking and how many I would have to adopt to become the TL I want to be. Whilst the amount of readings has been overwhelming, O’Connell’s (2013) comment “literacy underpins all that we do” has in many ways become my ‘mantra’. It has greatly contributed to the foundation of my own pedagogical views, encouraging me to try new avenues for developing my students use and enjoyment of literacy. I have also greatly benefited from reading other peoples contributions to the forums and following some of the available links to blogs. It has been of great interest to me to read other peoples experiences, attitudes and research and of great comfort to read the difficulties we have all faced on our journey through the first half of this course.
I have learnt that the teacher librarian role is one of the most complex roles in a school. It requires us to be leaders, media specialists, curriculum experts and advocates for reading and information literacies (Lamb, 2011). The library itself also performs a complex role within the school. It is an area for quiet reflection, inquiry learning, recreational reading and activities and meetings for staff and the community; it is most definitely the centre of the school and as Herring (2007) suggests, it does not exist in a vacuum. Never in the history of education has there been such a rapid time of change, with the plethora of technologies available and the progression of technological advancement, requiring TL’s to consistently adapt to these new innovations. This is quite daunting when one sits back and really analyses the responsibilities that are undertaken as a TL. Mitchell (2011) claims TL’s will be looked upon as leaders into the future, facilitating other staff members in implementing new technologies and the new Australian Curriculum (OLJ, May 18, 2013). We as librarians are at the forefront of analysing and implementing change in curriculum, policies and adapting the learning environment to suit our learning communities.
Most of all I have learnt how absolutely vital our role is to the culture of a school. I have actively searched many quirky pictures and sayings to support my learning journey but my favourite of all is “What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it feels about education.” (OLJ March 18, 2013). It was written by Harold Howe, who was the U.S. Commissioner for education from 1964-1968 and was a senior lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Education. I have learnt that no matter how modern the world gets and no matter how much ICT is integrated into literacy, if we are doing our jobs effectively, the library will retain its quintessential position in education.
Herring, J. (2007) Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries in the twenty-first century: charting new directions (pp.27-42). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University
Langford, L. (1998). Information literacy: a clarification From Now On
The Educational Technology Journal
Mitchell (2011). Resourcing 21st century online Australian Curriculum: The role of school libraries, FYI Autumn 2011, pp. 10-15.
O’Connell, J. (2013). Webinar on the teacher librarian and the curriculum. Lifesavers of Learning. Retrieved from: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL401_201330_W_D/page/21cc3723-8c2a-4279-008f-96f00ee74642 from: [The Inquiry Page]
Ryan, J., & Capra, S. (2001). Information literacy planning for educators: The ILPO approach. School Libraries Worldwide, 7(1), 1-1. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/217753335?accountid=10344
Valenza, J. (2010, December 3rd). School Library Journal. Retrieved March 13th, 2013, from http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2010/12/03/a-revised-manifesto/