Topic 3 forum – in your group, share your thoughts on the pedagogical initiatives you have examined. Other points include:
* What is an appropriate role for the teacher librarian in curriculum development?
An appropriate role for a teacher librarian (TL) is that of a facilitator and educator in supporting research and information literacy as we are educating the digital citizens of the future. The TL should be working in conjunction with teachers and stage leaders to provide support and activities that encompass the curriculum. With our knowledge of technology and resources, we can support our peers, whilst ensuring that students are involved in an engaging and stimulating learning experience.
Engaging students in a comprehensive school wide literacy program, encouraging students to use technology, and how to successfully engage with technology will result in students that are better prepared for an ever changing digital age. Encouraging literacy skills is necessary to enable all students learning, both guided and independent. O’Connell (2013) talks about, ‘an awareness of curriculum’ and as a quality teachers we need to be proactive in meeting learning outcomes despite adjustments to the curriculum. We need to create engaging learning activities, shaped around the curriculum, with guidance taken from the Bloom (‘Educational Origami,’ 2013, para. 2). These activities support constructivist-learning ideals, whilst still allowing for individualised and differentiated learning. At the forefront of curriculum development is a need to prepare and equip students for life. We need to be able to make learning relevant to all students. Ensuring that although we may be teaching from a National or State Curriculum that learning is relevant despite their location, socio-economic background or culture. We need to be creative and imaginative as teachers to inspire our students. It is vital that we make the most of what we have and engage students despite a lack of recourses or technology. Incorporating ‘Values Education’ (2011) and encouraging students to link their learning across all subject areas will further promote development of the curriculum whilst creating citizens for the future.
* What benefits can a school obtain from the active involvement of the teacher librarian in curriculum development?
The school can benefit from the active involvement of the Teachers Librarian in a variety of ways. ‘The changing nature of schools and education has brought a growing demand for a wide range of information resources and for guidance and support in the effective use of these resources within the curriculum,’ an affective TL will benefit the school by supporting this theory (‘Master of Education-Teacher Librarianship,’ 2013, para. 1). Technology integration in lessons, useful access to information resources and effective ways to use these systems should be actively promoted throughout lessons. We are the best qualified to guide this learning and this will benefit both the students and our peer teachers. Development and implementation of information literacy programs will further support learning programs throughout the school.
Creating a whole school approach to teaching a topic or lesson area by engaging all staff and collaborating to produce lessons that are engaging, succinct, well planned will positively influence student learning. Furthermore this streamlining will reduce the amount of work for classroom teachers on an individual basis as they are not required to independently plan all of their lessons. In addition, working as a team to create a resource that is available for the whole year/stage will ensure that all students are given equal opportunities to learn. The school will also benefit because of access to well managed resources that enrich learning throughout. The TL has a role of a leader in understanding and implementing Information Technologies and managing a multitude of relevant resources. It is vital that we use our extensive professional knowledge to its full benefit.
* Should a principal expect that teachers would plan units of work with the teacher librarian?
I don’t think that a principal would always expect the teacher librarian to work collaboratively with their peers to plan units of work. However, there should be a collaborative relationship between the teachers and the TL. This does not mean that it is solely the responsibly of the TL to design and create engaging lessons for students, but to support and direct their colleagues in assisting students to reach curriculum outcomes. It is important that the TL should be considered a partner in planning, creating, implementing and conducting evaluation of the successfulness of a unit. As professionals, if we continually prove that we are invaluable in encouraging student learning and increasing outcomes, our roles will be more likely to be safeguarded.
* How are students disadvantaged in schools that exclude the teacher librarian from curriculum development?
Students are disadvantaged when a TL is excluded from curriculum development and planning. This will result in an education program that is not cohesive and may be disjointed. Outdated teaching practices may not allow students to construct their own meaning and therefore be less effective. TLs are trained to be proficient in Information Technology. As TL’s our roles are ever changing and adapting we are experts of managing and locating resources. There are many teachers in schools, who once completing their degree have not continued with ongoing learning. We need to ensure that all students have equal chances to learn and become technologically proficient in their learning and research. As professionals, we are guided by state and national standards that continually challenge us and push us to be at the forefront of technological advances and the most effective ways to implement these in our schooling. In schools that do not involve the TL in curriculum development students are at an obvious disadvantage. Additionally, we can cater learning to students as required. An example of this could consist of lesson plans designed around ‘Bloom’ and Gardner’s styled activities. This teaches students research skills, caters for a wide range of learning styles and uses a constructivist learning approach (‘Educational Origami,’ 2013, para. 3). Further stepping away from teacher directed learning will cater more successfully for learners for the future.
Educational Origami. (2013). Retrieved from http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Bloom%27s+Digital+Taxonomy
Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship). (2013). Retrieved from http://www.csu.edu.au/courses/postgraduate/teacher_librarianship_education/course-overview
O’Connell, J. (2013). Retrieved from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL401_201330_W_D/page/21cc3723-8c2a-4279-008f-96f00ee74642
Values Education for Australian Schooling. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.valueseducation.edu.au/values/ Education Services Australia