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I began this course with a great deal of naiveté
Unsure of expectations, roles, duties, teaching load, some uncertainties still endure. The practicalities of running the school library are not yet habit. In fact the library at my school has been a turbulent venue all semester.
A Reflection from blog task #3
I started out very gung-ho about this teacher librarian business. Unfortunately I lost a great deal of momentum after being struck by a tsunami of information. I can imagine how our school students feel in this information-rich world. The troubling reality became that instead of “the more I see the more I do”, my reaction was “the more I read the less time I have to do”. With the multitude of voices (I needed to go no further than forum discussions) I found that the going was slow. Obviously the key is to be selective and target the information I require, but what if I miss something? How can I get where I need to get quickly? This seems to me to be the frustrating crux of the matter (and annoyingly the reason I need to develop my information literacy skills!).
I have certainly learnt a lot about the complexities of the teacher librarian’s role. I have felt like a central cog in the daily turnings of the school. My school chose to implement an experimental program of middle schooling. A small suburban high school, the library became the home room for our Stage 4 cohort (70 odd students). This was a brilliant way for me to meet students and I’ve developed strong professional relationships with this group. This is the most important lesson I’ve learnt as a teacher librarian, becoming part of a school and meeting all of the school’s students.
So far our library has been largely a classroom, sometimes as many as four classes operating during the same period. Last year the library underwent a review and I’ve been given the task of implamenting the recommendations (a daunting task for a new TL). However, I view it more as the freshest start I could be given. The staff are supportive and I am able to bring ideas from unni directly into practice.
One of my favorite learning experinces has been thinking about how the library can be a centre for culture. And like in Frey (1997) the assertion that the library will “…tap into the spirit of the community…” I find this totally inspirational!
Some final thoughts about information literacy I developed during the latest assignment. Thoughts that I am still trying to synthesis into the way I work on a daily basis.
Abilock’s (2004) definition of information literacy (IL) is predicated on the concept that IL is wider than just a set of skills; rather that it is a “transformational process”. Eisenberg (2010) argues differently, suggesting that information literacy needs a scaffold. He defines IL as the Big6. Eisenberg goes further and argues that the big six model should be implemented world wide as the common language for information literacy teaching and speaks about its implementation as part of a whole school approach to tackling wide ranging issues in education. While admirable the Big6 surely misses Abilock’s ambition. It is an important argument because it highlights the schism among IL advocates. Indeed why should there be only one model? And what is being transformed anyway?
Winzenried (2010, p.224-225) sets out a counter argument to information literacy and works from the individual viewpoint. His arguments may seem to confuse the topic of information literacy with guided inquiry, but no, do we sincerely believe that there is a one size fits all approach to creating or instilling sets of skills into life-long learners? Winzenried puts the argument that the “client” comes first, not a scaffolded set of skills, and that by doing so teacher librarians are simply extending “the Industrial Age model of learning”. Instead he proposes the “need to be building relationships one by one”. This argument appears to stand alone and totally apart from even the most sympathetic ISP models, because although they may recognise affective uncertainty or the need to differentiate to meet the needs of all learners, “one-to-one” is the only sure way the client will find what they need.
This is my lastest challenge. I once was a visual arts teacher, now I have a new method as a TL. But what do I teach? The ideas around information literacy have given me much food for thought. And then is IL a passing fad? Surely not after almost 30 years of implementation. Is it the duty of the teacher librarian to stand as a lone wolf preaching the merits of on ISP over the next model? But what of Meta-literacy? There’s always something new to learn! Bring it on!!
Haycock (2007, p.26) explains that “collaboration depends on trust, shared vision, and communication.” And I feel blessed to be working in such an environment where the possibilities are just beginning!
Abilock, D. (2004). Information literacy from prehistory to K – 20: A new definition. Knowledge Quest, 32(4). Retrieved on 26th of May 2013 from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslpubsandjournals/knowledgequest/kqwebarchives/v32/32n4abilock.pdf on May 25 2013
Eisenberg, M. (2010). Vodcast #1: What is Information Literacy? Retrieved on 26th of May 2013 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9UXEDNP1lc
Haycock, K. (2007). Collaboration: Critical success factors for student learning. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 25-35.
Winzenried, A. (2010). Visionary Leaders for Information. Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies