I would like to thank the SLAP forum organisers for the opportunity to speak at this wonderful event and also the invitation to visit this beautiful country.My task today is to discuss the Australian curriculum and the role of the teacher librarian. I am going to use my own experiences, and examples from my own school, to highlight the points that I wish to make about our professions role in the new Australian Curriculum.I intend to cover the following-
Let’s begin with a little background and an overview.The development of the Australian Curriculum was guided by the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, a document that was adopted by the Ministerial Council in December 2008 (next slide).
The Melbourne Declaration emphasises the importance of knowledge, skills and the understandings offered by learning areas, general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities. This is the basis of a curriculum designed to support 21st century learning.(next slide – outline)
Currently the Australian curriculum consists of the following:
All other learning areas are to be phased in across the next few years.The Foundation to year 10 Australian Curriculum sets out the core knowledge, understanding, skills and general capabilities important for all Australian students. It describes the learning entitlement of students as a foundation for their future learning, growth and active participation in the Australian community.ACARA, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, has developed the Australian Curriculum in consultation with States and Territories. Education Authorities in each State and Territory have responsibility for implementation of the Australian Curriculum and for supporting schools and teachers.That is a very brief overview. Suffice to say all schools are working their way through how to implement this new curriculum. But change in most cases is substantial as there is great deal of scope within the documentation, for particular foci or approaches to be adopted by an individual school, as long as the basic skill sets are embraced. Most interesting are the overarching general capabilities and cross curricular priorities and this is what I am going to focus on in the remainder of my discussion.Next Resourcing
Obviously from a school library’s perspective one of the first factors we must consider in light of curriculum change is resourcing. What new resources will be necessary to support the changes or additions to the curriculum? This is an ongoing process and an integral part of our role. Each learning area has different needs some have greater change than others, the minutia of these elaborations is to detailed for us to tackle here. In general though our role resourcing all aspects for the curriculum remains crucial. I a time of change such as this it is important that we step up and offer useful, relevant assistance at a time when teachers and administrators are feeling their way. We must ensure we are seen as the experts in this area offering ourselves as collaborators in creating the way ahead. The screen shot above is of Scootle. This is an online collection of resources collected by Education Services Australia, supported by Government funding. So we do have support in developing and collecting material to support the new studies. Like most schools my own is nevertheless grappling with how to collect together in one place electronic resources, links and lists of other hardcopy resources in a bright and inviting manner for staff and students. (next slide)
We are using libguides to present our information.This is what our home page currently looks like:
We still have a lot of work to do but ultimately this website will be a very valuable and important forum from which our library will support the development of the Australian curriculum.The next broad role I’d like to address is the necessity for mapping.
All of the Learning areas at my own school, like all other schools across the country, have been busy mapping ourcurrent curriculum against the outlines and elaborations of the Australian Curriculum in an effort to see what is already being covered and also what needs to now be included.This document on the slide illustrates the work of my library team involved with teaching our year six reading wider program. We were asked to highlight, on the English curriculum outline for year six, which areas we felt were covered in our reading program. This input would then be considered in the overall planning process for English.This process has shown us very clearly what we need to be doing to support the classroom teachers and made clear what is necessary for us to fulfil the requirements of the Australian curriculum.I hope in time to also document how the library service supports the general capabilities and cross curricular priorities – mapping such as this is an important activity as it helps us to position the library service as crucial to the development and support of curriculum. It also involves us closely with teachers in the planning and discussion process surrounding curriculum development.Let’s move on then to consider the general capabilities -
Read slide.Let’s begin with Literacy
Read slideThe general capability of literacy, most importantly, recognises that the teaching of literacy is an overarching teaching responsibility of all learning areas not just the responsibility of English.In considering how the teacher librarian can work to support literacy learning I’d like to look more specifically at the English curriculum itself as I feel we have an important role to play here. To begin with the three main strands -
Read slideLet’s look more specifically at the strands and sub strands of English
Many of the strands here would be supported and extended by a fully integrated wide reading program. At my own school we run a fully assessed program from years 5 to 10 that incorporates many of these areas. In doing so we strengthen our role as educators and are an integral component of the English team.If we look specifically at the description for the teaching of texts in English:
There is a clear role here for the teacher librarian working within a reading program to extend the reading possibilities of students and involve them in the discussion and exploration of texts of all kinds.At my school we present our program via the schools learning management system. The year nine main page looks like this:
The program is called ROAD which stands for Reading Opens All Doors and it incorporates a range of assessment activities that incorporate ICT, a factorI will discuss later.We introduce texts using as much multi media as possible to create interest and interactive discussion. We have created a range of lists like this one on fantasy for year 7:
These lists have links to reviews and videos and form the basis for a class discussion as part of the program. We have a vibrant and active reading culture based around this program. A program that perfectly aligns with the requirements of the English and Literacy components of the Australian curriculum.I’d now like to move on tothe next of the general capabilities -Critical and creative thinking -
Read slideA wonderful list that is a gift to our profession.I could speak here on the Inquiry process but as this is the topic of another presentation I will say only that there is a role here for our profession to be involved, with other teachers, in a range of inquiry and research processes that emphasise reflection, analysis, synthesis and rich inquiry.I’d like to focus here on the words of another, Dr Grette Toner, and her views on this particular General capability - Dr Toner has said:
Read slideContinued on Next slide
It is certainly the case that many in our profession in Australia see a role for our work with the new Australian curriculum.The School Library Association of Victoria, a group with which I am heavily involved, has recently been involved in the development of two initiatives that directly support the aims of this particular general capability.The first is the question generator
The question generator is online.It allows learners to spin the different sides of the wheel to formulate the beginnings of quality questions. An integral part of critical and creative thinking.The second initiative is the VCE advantage Merspi YouTube channel
This service includes a number of videos on a range of research related topics that can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Many where created in conjunction with our State Library service.The slide aboveis of a video I have found very useful as it outlines search techniques for how to use Google more effectively. Again, a useful tool in responding to the call to have our students think more critically and creatively and an important support for this capability within the Australian Curriculum.The next general capability to consider is ICT (Information Communication Technologies)
Read slideAs we find ourselves in an increasingly technologically able world the importance of ICT to all learning areas cannot be underestimated.In Australia, as in many other countries, the library service has often led the way in schools in introducing technology.As an example of this, I’d like to return to the wider reading program at my own school, we have made a conscious effort to incorporate web 2.0 tools and other software into the way we assess students wider reading activities. (next slide)
Wordle, photostory, prezi, garageband, audacity, animoto and wallwisher, to name just a few, have allowed students to respond to texts in creative and interesting ways as part of our reading program. This has allowed us to fulfil the requirements of the English learning area’s need to incorporate ICT into classwork. Being involved in this way has allowed us tofully embed the library program for wide reading into the teaching of English.The next general capability area is Ethical Behaviour -
Read slide The teacher librarian has a crucial, important role to play within the general capability of Ethical Behaviour. How our students use technology and in particular, how they use the information, images and material that the internet, places at their finger tips.I do not have any quick solutions. The ethical use of information is difficult to enforce. Through our guiding of the research process it is vital that we take a role in ensuring the school community understand how important it is to reuse only what they have permission to reuse and to correctly cite the material that they use that belongs to others.In my own school we have recently felt it necessary to reassert the importance of correct citations and the creation of accurate reference lists for all work produced. To give this refocus weight we reproduced our guide, updating the information on all sources of information.
This booklet is made available both in hard copy and electronically on our intranet. To give weight to this initiative the booklet was taken to a curriculum leaders meeting where it was ratified by the committee as the agreed standard for all work produced within the college.Ratifying such documents and having them agreed to as policy is an important action if we are to have our role in this area taken seriously.Such recognition gives us ‘permission’ to both teach and encourage others to teach and expect a certain level of ethical behaviour in how information is used. It is important that we take this opportunity to stamp our ownership on this areaand have correct procedures accepted as school policy.The next General Capability is the Intercultural Capability
This is a very interesting general capability. If we look a the sub headings on the graphic, we have:EmpathyRespectResponsibilityRecognisingReflectingInteractingI would argue that the school library ably addresses these areas of student growth and development in two important ways.Firstly, a key role of the library is to provide and support the use of varied collections of all kinds. These collections play a key role in enabling students to learn empathy, respect etc through the knowledge of others and themselves that reading brings. How we as teacher librarians promote and teach, using these collections is a very important part of improving our cultural understanding. The other way we impact upon culture is through (next slide)
the wonderful library spaces and programs we provide that encourage reflection, interaction and respect. School libraries should be a home for all kinds of cultural activities - literary events, guest speakers, a meeting place for clubs and groups and a display space for student work – all of these aspects of the library role make it a key element in the culture of any school community and, a key player in supporting this general capability.In the same way I feel we play an important role in the next general capability in the Australian Curriculum – the Personal and Social capability
Again, if we consider the sub areas of this capability:Self- awarenessSelf-managementSocial managementSocial awarenessIn the ways we interact with students, and in the collections, spaces and opportunities we provide we play a role, with all teachers, in extending our students personal and social development.I’d now like to move on to the last area in my exploration of the teacher librarian and the Australian Curriculum, that is the Cross Curricular priorities.
The cross curricular priorities are a very interesting initiative. It has been stated that they have been chosen to enable a clear nationwide focus on three key areas across all learning areas. It has also been noted that they may change as needs change.In response to these priorities a range of resources have been developed to support them. I’d like to briefly explore one I have been directly involved with.(next slide – things a map wont show you cover)
This short story collection was released at the beginning of 2012 by Penguin books Australia. It is aimed at years seven and eight. It was edited by Dr Pam Macintyre and myself. We had the pleasure of choosing 28 pieces of work - 14 newly commissioned works and 14 republished pieces.The brief was to
The resultingcontents was:
A number of these have a focus on Indigenous Culture, they are:
And, another group in the collection are stories that come from various parts of the Asia pacific region:
It was a pleasure to work on this collection. It was aimed specifically at supporting the Australian curriculum as the possibility of using fiction in particular to explore the cross curricular priorities has been high lightedby a number of commentators.In response to this perception I have also spent time developing lists of books that address in some way one of the three cross curricular priorities. Resourcing these new priorities through the use of fiction has been a focus for many school libraries in Australia. These lists are available here:
Each list contains a range of titles. For instance this (next slide)
Is a capture of part of the list for Later years of schooling ofbooks that address, or have, an Asia Pacific focus. You can access the full lists on my blog.In conclusion I’d like to end with the words of a great friend and mentor, writing in my states research journal Synergy, Associate Professor Ross Todd has said about the Australian curriculum:
Clearly the new curriculum embodies skills and ideals we want for all of our students. Hopefully I have also demonstrated that there is a role for the teacher librarian in this new curriculum, a role we must embrace and explore to our advantage.Thank you
School library and curricular
Dr Susan La MarcaHead of Library & Information Services Genazzano FCJ College email@example.com
• Background & Overview of Australian Curriculum• Resourcing• Mapping• General Capabilities• Cross Curricular Priorities
The Australian Curriculum includes a focus onseven general capabilities
ENGLISHTogether the three strands focus on developing students’knowledge, understanding and skills in listening, reading,viewing, speaking and writing.The three strands are:Language: knowing about the English languageLiterature: understanding, appreciating, respondingto, analysing and creating literatureLiteracy: expanding the repertoire of English usage.
Strands and sub-strands Content descriptions in each strand are grouped into sub-strands that, across the year levels, present a sequence of development of knowledge, understanding and skills. The sub-strands are:language literature literacyLanguage variation and change Literature and context Texts in contextLanguage for interaction Responding to literature Interacting with others Interpreting, analysing andText structure and organisation Examining literature evaluatingExpressing and developing ideas Creating literature Creating textsSound and letter knowledge
TEXTS‘….While the nature of what constitutes literarytexts is dynamic and evolving, they are seen ashaving personal, social, cultural and aestheticvalue and potential for enriching students’ scopeof experience. Literature includes a broad range offorms such as novels, poetry, short stories andplays; fiction for young adults and children,multimodal texts such as film, and a variety of non-fiction.’
The application of the general capabilities in the learning areasoffers many opportunities for teacher librarians to collaborate withlearning-area teachers. For example, one of the capabilities moststrongly represented across all learning areas is Critical and creativethinking. It draws on many of the skills and processes teacherlibrarians would recognise as integral to information literacy,including: • posing insightful and purposeful questions • suspending judgement about a situation to consider the big picture and alternative pathways • generating and developing ideas and possibilities • analysing information logically and making reasoned judgements • evaluating ideas, creating solutions and drawing conclusions • assessing the feasibility, possible risks and benefits in the implementation of their ideas • reflecting on thinking, actions and processes • transferring their knowledge to new situations.
These skills and processes are essential learning in allfour learning areas, being most evident in the Literacystrand of English, the Historical skills strand of History,the Inquiry skills strand of Science and the problem-solving and reasoning skills of Mathematics. Teacherlibrarians are in a strong position to support class andlearning-area teachers in addressing the critical andcreative thinking demands of learning-area content. Dr Grette Toner Senior Project Officer, Cross Curriculum Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) SCIS Connections, Issue 76, 2011
Critical and Creative Thinking wsi.slav.vic.edu.au/question-generator
Critical and Creative Thinking http://www.youtube.com/user/merspi
The Australian Curriculum has threecross-curriculum priorities -Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanderhistories and cultures,Asia and Australia’s engagement with AsiaandSustainability
Respond to:Cross curricular priorities – Indigenous Culture - Asian Pacific FocusNeed for Various format types – poetry,illustrated stories, cartoon style.Innovative approaches and variousvoice styles (first, second and third person).The structure of the short story.
I like the strong focus on intellectual engagement andintellectual adaptability, with strong and clear emphasison developing meaning and understanding through thetransformation and use of information in all its forms.There is also a focus on the creation of new knowledgethat enables purposeful participation in society and itsgrowth and sustainability. These foci give emphasis todeveloping students as critical, reflective, imaginativeand creative thinkers who are able to interrogatemeaningfully their information landscape and beinnovative problem solvers. Dr Ross Todd ‘Lead, Transform, Create’ Synergy, Volume 10, Number 2, 2012