Friday, October 1, 2010

Part C-Critical Synthesis

Before this course was undertaken the view that I had of a teacher librarian (TL) was that of most other people: that the teacher librarian manages the books and teaches students about fiction and non-fiction books in a non-contact lesson.

In the blog entry posted on July 12 (Fabian, 2010), reference is made to memories of library experiences as a young child through to high school. The school library was a place where books were kept with the occasional help of finding a book for an assignment. It was not the type of library that was described in the readings from Hazell (1990) as being a “dynamic, integrated resource service offering library and information services to all members of the school community”. The reason for this lack of knowledge was identified in the same blog post as being there was little to no explanation about TL’s, what the TL can provide, how to utilise the school library and the TL, in teacher training courses and educational literature (Fabian, 2010, July 22nd). Another reason is the view that some schools and principals hold of the library and the teacher librarian. In other campuses of the school I am associated with the TL is there to manage resources and provide non-contact for the class teachers (Fabian, 2010, July 28th). After speaking to one of the TLs at the school it was expressed that money and time restraints resulted in the TL not being utilised appropriately (Fabian, 2010, 29th July ETL401 forum, topic 2). A reading undertaken by Sue Spence (Fabian, 2010, July 22nd) on the state of TLs in my home state also showed that the majority of school libraries were being run by SSOs and not trained TLs which further adds to the false perceptions of librarians.

A discovery was made about the importance of the TL and resource-based learning (RBL). I had not experienced that as a teacher as there was no TL in the school where I was first employed. The reason identified on the forum posted on July 18th (Fabian, 2010, ETL401 forum, topic 1) was that being early childhood trained there was a lot of explicit teaching required; there was also a lack of training in this from the university degree. Progress has been made in the school by in that I approached teachers and showed them the importance and benefits of RBL. A development of a RBL task for one class has begun in hopes that other teachers will want this in their classes too and eventually make this part of the policy and curriculum of the entire school (Fabian, 2010, September 20th). Co operative planning and learning will also hopefully become a norm in the school as I realise the great importance of it (Fabian, 2010, August 26th), and have already begun to make some suggestions to teachers where they can incorporate some co operative learning tasks in their programmes.

Interesting to me was the belief that the key role of the teacher librarian was to supporting the teachers first (Fabian, 2010, July 27th). This is opposite to what has been experienced and is practised in a large number or libraries in the past and even today. It makes sense that by providing the teacher with education on the importance of being information literate (IL), encouraging training and development, and supplying the teachers with the information they need is the primary role and where most of our time should be spent. The secondary role of supporting the students would naturally flow from that as they benefit from well-equipped and trained teachers and TLs (Henri, 2005).

Something that struck me is the importance of critically analysing things and researching wisely. This has been learnt through ETL501 where we were learning about evaluation and also through this subject in relation to the research models. Again, things that were not included in the teaching university degree nor covered in P&D once teaching in a school commenced. A very important and vital role it appears of the TL, especially in this technology geared world (Fabian, 2010, August 27th).

Using the blogs and forums has helped to solidify what I now believe the role of a TL is. The forums were very helpful when I might not have understood something, reading it in words by someone else helped. It was also good to share experiences and find similarities in thoughts and practices, and also be challenged and inspired by the differences. The blog was useful to record the learning that was happening. A realisation came after reading about the Big6; that the readings, the forums, the blogs and assignments were all part of metacognition; getting us to evaluate and think about how we think (Fabian, 2010, 17th August).

Overall, the readings, forums, blog, and interactions with other TL students and teachers have helped to shape the new view that I have of TLs. That a TL is an essential asset, that is professional, and is a leader in educating the youth of today and tomorrow.

References can be found in the assignment reference list.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Putting it into practice

Whilst I have been busy with the two latest assignments I have been able to put into practice what I have learnt over this semester in the school where I teach relief classes, and will hopefully be the TL when the new library is built in 2012.

I have got all the teachers' email addresses and have emailed them all links to cool sites I've found along the way. I've been able to share with the upper primary teachers the idea about research models (they didn't really know much about them!) and one teacher asked me to provide her and her class with one to use next term!! The pathfinder that I made for501 is also being used by that class and the other teachers have seen it and would love me to be able to work with them for one next year!

The principal is happy for all of this to happen and is getting excited about my excitement! I'm hopeful that I will be able to show over the next year what an asset a TL can be when utilised correctly and not just there to manage the resources and provide non-contact time for the teachers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

YES! I passed

Well I have to brag somewhere :P
Its not for this subject either. But for 501. Because I live in an area that would see me getting my results late James let me know what I got.
I am SO happy with my result. 3% off the next bracket. Next time :)

I'm interested to see my results for this subject as this was the one I made use of student services to check over my assignment.

Hurry up please Mr Postman :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ramblings and frustrations

So this week has proven frustrating.
Assignment 2 for ETL 401 wasn't exactly clear in the outline or the podcast, and even though more information was sought earlier the answers didn't come until this week. Has meant alot of frantic searchings and facebook statuses about my frustration.
I have learnt though that the skills I have been learning through this subject and 501 has proven useful as I scramble for more information that is required.

As I read through the standards about teaching and teacher librarians it has motivated me and inspired me to be a better teacher and eventually a teacher librarian. Something to aspire to and encourage my fellow teachers with. They have also shown me the extent and importance of the TL role and further added to the knowledge of what this role encompasses vs what I knew and thought before I started this course.

The standards are the ALIA/ASLA standards, Australian School Library Association (ASLA) and Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). (2004). Library standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. They can be found at

Friday, August 27, 2010

Readings in conclusion section

One of the readings in the conclusion section of the module is "The seven most critical challenges facing our profession" by Doug Johnson.

Johnson, D. (2002). Challenges: The seven most critical challenges facing our profession, Teacher Librarian, 29(5), 21-24.

He makes a good point when he says that many librarians are too busy creating their own programmes in the library without seeing what is needed and happening in the school. This would be where collaboration comes into play, and seeking to understand where the school, teachers are placing their focus.

Things like serving on department teams, reporting back of students skills to the school community, collaborating with teachers a curriculum where students learn, practice and hone their skills are important things a teacher librarian can do.

Making sure that the TL is an expert in technology, and making sure that students and teachers are technologically literate is another important role. This is evident in ETL501 where we are learning about evaluating websites and resources.

Keeping a TL's core values is also important, and must be remembered, especially when some are going to be forced to babysit, or caretake the library only.

It was an encouraging article, with practical ideas on how to stay focused on the role of the TL and show why its necessary to have them in schools.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thoughts on the latest readings...

I may be behind on the readings for this week, not sure.
I have just finished reading Todd's article on "The dynamics of classroom teacher and teacher librarian instructional collaborations". Todd, R. J. (2008). The dynamics of classroom teacher and teacher librarian instructional collaborations. Scan, 27(2), 19-28.

The main thing that came to mind is the difference between how I used to work in a pre school and how I worked in a school. In a pre-school you collaborate with the whole teaching team. The director, the SSO's and myself all sat down on the friday to plan ahead for the next week. We shared ideas about what we thought the children needed, how this could be achieved etc. Then I moved to a primary school, and I was on my own. No planning with anyone (there was no TL, or even a SSO to work in the library), everyone looked after their own curriculum.

I also don't recall alot of emphasis being placed on it at uni, or if any. I know we were taught to let the student's collaborate, but I don't recall anything on collaborating with other teachers of TL's.

I think what Todd highlighted at the end of the study was interesting. He asked the question "Was there a common goal that was driving the collaborative experience?" He concluded from the results that it was more a "I'm going to prove the importance of my role" type of thing. There wasn't much discussion on the learning outcomes for students, and that being the main reason why collaboration was seen to be something of importance.

I think there are many reasons why collaboration doesn't occur. Some were highlighted in this research, lack of time, lack of admin/principal support, working with another person who is different in teaching style/organisation. However, I think things like pride (I know everything I need to teach the children), lack of knowledge about collaboration and its benefits, and feeling overwhelmed are factors too.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


So I was doing one of the readings for last week (I'm a week behind because of assignments, illnesses and work) on the Big 6 and I had an A-ha moment! I remember reading on someone else's blog about how this course expects alot from us, reading wise etc and isn't really backing up what its teaching us... Anyway, when I read about metacognition, I realised the purpose of this blog. Its so we can see, and our lecturers can see that which can't be "seen", how we think about thinking, how we are sorting out all this information, what we are thinking about it, learning about ourselves and how we approach learning, study, research.

so it all became clear.
End of a-ha moment, and now back to reading...