Textos SessãO 1

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Textos SessãO 1

  1. 1. A Biblioteca Escolar: desafios e oportunidades no contexto da mudança As bibliotecas escolares no contexto da mudança A biblioteca escolar tem passado por transformações assinaláveis resultantes da evolução do paradigma tecnológico e das implicações profundas no acesso, uso e comunicação da Informação. Neste contexto, passaram de espaços organizados com recursos destinados ao acesso da informação e ao lazer a espaços de trabalho e de construção do conhecimento. Há evidência irrefutável atestada por diferentes estudos internacionais, de que a biblioteca escolar contribui para o sucesso educativo dos estudantes e para o desenvolvimento das literacias imprescindíveis na nossa sociedade. Linhas de força definidoras da biblioteca escolar actual Ross Todd conseguiu, de forma sintética, objectivar as transformações por que passa a biblioteca escolar actualmente: •Knowledge space, not information place •Connections, not collections •Actions, not positions •Evidence, not advocacy Com possibillidade de acesso em qualquer lugar e sem qualquer mediação, mas com necessidades evidentes de rever o portfólio de competências exigíveis ao uso da informação, à construção do conhecimento e à construção da cidadania, a biblioteca escolar vê redefinidos contextos de trabalho e de prestação de serviços e ganha um papel preponderante na formação para as literacias e para o acompanhamento curricular e das aprendizagens dos alunos. As bibliotecas escolares passam, neste contexto, a ter um papel: • Informacional: Disponibilizam recursos de informação, apoiam a infra-estrutura tecnológica, contribuindo para o seu uso e integração nas práticas lectivas;
  2. 2. • Transformativo: Formam para as diferentes literacias, contribuindo de forma colaborativa e articulada com os outros docentes para o desenvolvimento de competências que suportam as aprendizagens e a construção do conhecimento. • Formativo: Transformam-se de espaços de disponibilização de recursos em espaços de aprendizagem, de construção do conhecimento. (Bogel, 2006) Noutro artigo da CILIP, New guidelines, new challenges in schools, a forma como a mudança induz novas práticas está também patente. Os organogramas revelam a mudança de enfoque que deve presidir às nossas práticas. Esse enfoque varia entre a valorização dos processos de gestão e uma mudança de papel que coloca a biblioteca escolar no centro das aprendizagens e da construção do conhecimento. Evidenciam também o impacto que o paradigma digital tem na biblioteca escolar, nas práticas e na forma como gerimos e processamos a informação. Neste paradigma, conteúdos, administração/ gestão, ambientes virtuais de aprendizagem e currículo são partes de um todo que a biblioteca escolar tem forçosamente que integrar. 2
  3. 3. Estes organogramas podem servir-nos de exemplo à perspectivação da mudança que o Plano Tecnológico da Educação trará às nossas bibliotecas. Capacidade de antecipação e de alterar práticas e modelos de trabalho serão fundamentais. A organização da informação digital para estar pronta a usar no quadro interactivo, a criação de ambientes virtuais de aprendizagem, a ligação ao currículo serão factores críticos de sobrevivência para as BEs. Que bibliotecas escolares temos? Embora em Portugal exista um quase vazio de dados em termos de avaliação e conhecimento da realidade das nossas bibliotecas diversos estudos internacionais, realizados em países com um percurso maior nesta área, vieram demonstrar a importância das práticas de avaliação. A Literatura Internacional na área das bibliotecas escolares evidencia, de forma clara, o impacto das bibliotecas na aprendizagem e no sucesso educativo dos alunos em regiões e em contextos diversos. Estes estudos realizaram-se em diferentes estados da América, mas também no Canadá, Reino Unido ou na Austrália, países onde as bibliotecas têm um percurso mais consolidado. A American Assotiation of School Libraries conduz um inquérito anual, a nível nacional - “School Libraries Count!”- com o objectivo de recolher informação acerca da situação das bibliotecas escolares e das mudanças ocorridas. Em todos estes estudos, há o reconhecimento de que a biblioteca escolar é usada enquanto espaço apetrechado com um conjunto significativo de recursos e de equipamentos (as condições externas, as condições físicas e a qualidade da colecção são fundamentais) e, como espaço formativo e de aprendizagem, intrinsecamente relacionado com a escola e com o processo de ensino/ aprendizagem. A Literacia da Informação tem, nestes estudos, um papel muito importante. Estes estudos identificam, também, áreas chave, determinantes na construção de uma biblioteca escolar de qualidade: - Integração na escola e no processo de ensino/ aprendizagem
  4. 4. -Integração institucional e programática, de acordo com os objectivos educacionais e programáticos da escola; -Desenvolvimento de competências de leitura e de um programa de Literacia da Informação, integrado no desenvolvimento curricular; -Articulação com departamentos, professores e alunos na planificação e desenvolvimento de actividades educativas e de aprendizagem. - Condições de Acesso. Qualidade da Colecção - Organização e equipamento de acordo com os standards definidos, facultando condições de acesso e de trabalho individual ou em grupo; - Disponibilização de um conjunto de recursos de informação, em diferentes ambientes e suportes, actualizada e em extensão e qualidade adequadas às necessidades dos utilizadores. - Gestão da BE - Afectação de um professor bibliotecário qualificado e de uma equipa que assegure as rotinas inerentes à gestão, que articule e trabalhe com a escola, professores e alunos; - Liderança do professor bibliotecário e da equipa; - Desenvolvimento de estratégias de gestão e de integração da BE na escola e no desenvolvimento curricular. - Desenvolvimento de estratégias de gestão baseadas na recolha sistemática de evidências – evidence based practice Avaliação - Gestão - Mudança Avaliação, gestão e mudança são conceitos que apontam para diferentes dimensões implicadas nos processos, práticas e impactos das nossas acções enquanto profissionais. Quando gerimos um serviço, gerimos expectativas, definimos políticas, planeamos e projectamos, por norma com um horizonte temporal em perspectiva. Estas expectativas, projecções e acções estão forçosamente ligadas a um objecto, uma realidade concreta (no nosso caso, a biblioteca escolar) na qual incide a nossa acção. 4
  5. 5. Esse objecto/ realidade sobre a qual actuamos, é atravessado por uma série de factores internos capazes de condicionar a resposta àquilo que perspectivamos ou acções que realizamos. Existem, também, factores externos com proximidade e forças diferenciadas que temos que ter em conta quando pensamos um serviço ou perspectivamos a sua gestão. Do ambiente externo (próximo) fazem parte entidades tão diversas como a escola, o órgão directivo, outros stakeholders... Fazem ainda parte, por exemplo, os órgãos decisores (macroestrutura) que definem políticas, como o Ministério da Educação/ Gabinete RBE. A avaliação é um elemento fundamental no processo de gestão porque nos permite: - Aferir a eficácia dos serviços que prestamos, identificando sucessos e insucessos – gaps que condicionam a qualidade e eficiência do serviço. - Aferir o impacto que temos nas atitudes, comportamento e competências dos nossos utilizadores. Em suma, procuramos, através do processo de avaliação, trazer à luz a diferença que fazemos na escola que servimos. Fazer entender essa diferença é fundamental. É importante fazer compreender àqueles que têm poder decisor que somos imprescindíveis; É fundamental fazer ver por que é que investir em mais recursos de informação ou realizar outros investimentos, como, por exemplo em recursos humanos, não representa uma perda ou um investimento sem retorno. É também importantíssimo fazer entender aos professores (alguns fechados à colaboração com a biblioteca), aos pais e aos alunos que a biblioteca cumpre objectivos semelhantes àqueles em que toda a restante escola se empenha e que algum do sucesso obtido tem a sua participação. Interrogar a biblioteca escolar – What Works? A comparação com standards pré-definidos permite-nos aferir as expectativas existentes relativamente a determinado domínio e os resultados obtidos (ou o que a nossa experiência empírica nos mostra).
  6. 6. A grande mudança reside no facto de desenvolvermos uma actividade sistemática de recolha de informação que nos permita ajuizar e decidir de forma fundamentada o rumo a dar à nossa acção. Tais práticas implicam: - Gerir para o sucesso educativo; para a melhoria das aprendizagens e do trabalho escolar; criar mais-valias comportamentais, formativas e de aprendizagem junto dos nossos alunos. - Gerir no sentido da optimização dos processos que produzam resultados e impacto na qualidade da BE e dos serviços que prestamos. Ser prospectivo, estar atento e ter uma postura de investigação e de aprendizagem contínua são factores críticos à efectivação de uma boa gestão e à prestação de serviços de qualidade. The 2001 IASL Conference Auckland, New Zealand, 9-12 July ASPECTS FOR DISCUSSION: From Ross Todd: I would like the focus of discussion to be on approaches to evidence-based practice. Participants should share: Examples of initiatives that provide evidence of the power of the educative role of the school librarian: describe the initiative, how you collected some evidence, what you found. This does not have to relate to technology -- but initiatives where impact, benefit can be demonstrated: it might centre on reading, literacy, information literacy, information technology, communication, perceptions of seld as learners, improved test scores. KEYNOTE PAPER: VIRTUAL CONFERENCE SESSION 6
  7. 7. Transitions for preferred futures of school libraries: Knowledge space, not information place Connections, not collections Actions, not positions Evidence, not advocacy DR ROSS TODD ABSTRACT The fusion of learning, libraries and literacies is creating dynamic, if not confronting challenges for teacher-librarians, teachers and administrators, particularly when set against the backdrop of learning and information environments that are complex and fluid, connective and interactive, and ones no longer constrained by time and space. It is both an opportunity to evaluate and chart impacts and achievements, as well as an invitation to examining new ways of looking and thinking, being and doing. This presentation will argue that action and evidence-based, learning-centered practice, rather than position and advocacy, are key mindsets for the profession if it is to achieve its preferred future, particularly in the context of the development of digital collections and services. It will elucidate a shared-learning framework as the fundamental building block for the articulation of roles, selection of resources, the nature of the instructional program, and for evaluating the power of the library in achieving the school’s learning objectives. INTRODUCTION Two statements from different times and contexts form the heart of my address. Winnie the Pooh has been attributed with saying: “There has been an alarming increase in the number of things I know nothing about”. The German philosopher Goethe, once said: “Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute. What you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Only engage and then the mind grows heated. Begin and then the work will be completed”. In a time of intense educational change and profound growth in accessible information, both somewhat driven by networked information technology, the challenge for teacher-librarians to chart a preferred future for the information environments of schools is both complex and potentially confronting. It is time to acknowledge our past, reflect on our achievements, and chart a course for the future. I have begun writing this address in one of the world’s magnificent libraries, the Library of Congress, in Washington D.C. The scale and grandeur of the physical place and the
  8. 8. enormity of its collection are difficult to comprehend. The collection includes more than 28 million catalogued books and other print materials in 460 languages, and has the largest rare book collection in North America, as well as the world’s largest collection of legal materials, films, maps, sheet music and sound recordings. Marble, gilt, brass inlay, vaulted ceilings, mosaics honoring the professions, magnificent paintings depicting the creation and diffusion of knowledge and the role of literature and learning, sculptures featuring life and thought and honoring those who over centuries have made distinguished contributions – all these make it visually an awesome and inspiring place. I am working in the domed Reading Room of the Thomas Jefferson Wing, barely able to concentrate. A mural by Edwin Blashfield depicting the great epochs of civilization adorns the apex of this enormous and embellished dome. In the cupola of the dome is another painting by Edwin Blashfield, and it is this that captures my attention. Here is painted a female figure, visible only to those in the Reading Room below, representing Human Understanding. Human Understanding. And atop this dome, on the outside of the building, is the “Torch of Learning”. It is my view that at the pinnacle, the c entre, the heart of a library is the development of human understanding. My central claim in this paper is that the school library in the 21st Century is about constructing sense and new knowledge, and building an information infrastructure and information resources to enable this. This is the idea of the library as a knowledge space, not information place. In order to achieve that, I believe we need to focus on three things: connections, not collections; actions, not positions; and evidence, not advocacy. FROM INFORMATION TO KNOWLEDGE The information environment of the 21st century is complex and fluid, connective and interactive, diverse, ambiguous and unpredictable, and one no longer constrained by physical collections, time, place and national boundaries. The e-environment, at a time when social commentary focuses on “the dot.com age”, “the dot.con age”, “the dot.come-and-gone age” is increasingly giving attention to the development of “the knowledge society”, “the clever country”. This does not happen by chance. Not does it happen by having magnificent information collections, inspiring physical environments, or advanced information technology networks. These are important, there is no question about that, but I do not believe that these are the hallmarks of the school library of the 21st Century. Giving information is not the same as giving knowledge, and turning 8
  9. 9. information into knowledge is potentially the most complex, challenging and rewarding task of all educators. In order for school libraries to play a key role in the information age school, I believe there needs to be a fundamental shift from thinking about the movement and management of information resources through structures and networks, and from information skills and information literacy, to a key focus on knowledge construction and human understanding, implemented through a constructivist, inquiry-based framework. The notion of human understanding is the essence of the word “information”: inform.ere informo, informare, informavi, informatus = inward forming. School libraries are aboutproviding the best information opportunities for people to make the most of their lives as sense-making, constructive, independent people. They know how to connect with, interact with and utilize their information rich world to enable them to understand their world around them, to think through issues and to make decisions to sustain and enrich their own lives. Information is the heartbeat of meaningful learning in schools. But it is not the hallmark of the 21st century school. The hallmark of a school library in the 21st century is not its collections, its systems, its technology, its staffing, its buildings, BUT its actions and evidences that show that it makes a real difference to student learning, that it contributes in tangible and significant ways to the development of human understanding, meaning making and constructing knowledge. The school library is about empowerment, connectivity, engagement, interactivity, and its outcome is knowledge construction. This must be at the centre of our philosophy, the mandate for our role, and the driver of all our day-by-day teaching and learning actions. Information is not power. It is human understanding and knowledge that is power, and information is how you get it. Professor Kuhlthau's address earlier this week argued that inquiry-based learning provides both a philosophical and action-centred constructivist framework for building an appropriate learning environment in an information-rich school, one that has construction of meaning and understanding as its outcome, where students are engaged in "an active personal process" fitting information in with what one already knows and extending this knowledge to create new perspectives (Kuhlthau, 1993:4). This is the significant context for my paper today. Writing in the preface to Effective libraries in international schools (Markuson, 1999), I make this statement: "Preparing our students today for tomorrow's unknown world, being able to predict an uncertain future, and moving into it with confidence, takes
  10. 10. courgae and conviction. Indeed the best way to predict the future is to work towards creating it, and creating it begins today, not tomorrow. This means that although we respect and are informed by our past, we also have the courage and determination to think and act divergently" (1999, 9). I like this quote, from an unknown source: "If we always see as we've always seen, we'll always be as we've always, and we'll always do as we've always done." So what is the problem? I am going to stick my neck out here. I am not convinced that empowerment for knowledge construction and the development of human understanding is the central concern of teacher-librarians today. Over my 25 year period of engagement with the profession, as a practicing teacher-librarian, educator and researcher, I have sat in numerous meetings, forums and conferences, and listened to the concerns and challenges of teacher-librarians around the world I still remain unconvinced that action and evidence-based, learning-centred practice focusing on engagement with information for human understanding and knowledge construction, are key mindsets for the profession -- philosophically and in practice. Certainly they are reflected in the rhetoric about roles and responsibilities, in other words, espoused values. But I would argue that the central public concerns of teacher-librarians continue to be expressed in terms of collections, position and advocacy, and I believe that this is the major limiting factor of the profession today. I strongly believe that our mindset needs to shift to evidence-based, learning centred practice that has as its heart the central concepts of knowledge construction and human understanding. This should be the locus of our concern and the fundamental challenge that drives us, and the rest will look after itself. PERCEPTIONS OF CHALLENGES Let me give some simple evidence for this. Recently I sent out a message to two Australian electronic lists for teacher-librarians: OZTL_NET and InfoSpec. (a discussion list for the Parramatta Diocese school libraries staff). I requested teacher- librarians to email me and tell me what they thought were the most important challenges facing them at this time. This could be broad or narrow -- on the educative role, on technology, on the status of their position, on their image value; on anything they think important. I asked them to list these in priority order, from the most important or highest priority. It was not intended to be a formal study, and the results I mention here need to be perceived in that context -- however, they show some interesting patterns. I received 74 written replies. I did provide some prompts, as stated above, based on my own hunches, and these were taken up, and others identified as well. I undertook a content 10
  11. 11. analysis of those replies, first by identifying individual statements of challenge. 249 individual statements of challenge were provided. Some of these were expressed broadly, which enabled me to establish 11 categories for grouping these challenges; others were expressed quite specifically, which serve to illustrate the breadth and depth of each category. Key Challenges Facing Teacher-Librarians Number of % of Total Concern Statements Statements Impact of information technology on library 47 18.87 and role of teacher-librarian Perceived lack of understanding of the nature 32 12.85 and dimensions of the role Perceived lack of value, importance and 28 11.24 appreciation Negative perceptions of the image of 23 9.23 teacher-librarian by others Perceived lack of support for the role of 20 8.03 teacher-librarian Not able to do the job I want to do as 27 10.84 teacher-librarian Perceived low status 17 6.84 Student learning -- processes and outcomes 15 6.902 Advocacy of position and role 12 4.82 Funding 10 4.03 Professional development 7 2.81 Other 11 4.42
  12. 12. TOTAL 249 100% The most significant challenges were in terms of information technology, and challenges related to other's perceptions of the image and role of the teacher-librarian, the lack of understanding by others of the role, and dealing with less-than-desired perceptions of the importance and value of the contributions made by them. The bullet points below each category are some of the individual statements made by teacher- librarians, to illustrate the dynamics, breadth and depth of the challenges. Impact of information technology on library and role of librarian • Another issue is the problem of responsibility for technology. As more equipment is being placed in the library -- networked printers, scanners, colour photocopiers, ID cards -- more pressure / expectations are being placed on the TL to maintain / service the needs of the equipment and the users. • Taking on more and more tasks like web master, network password administrator, PD organiser for staff, mentor to "reluctant" staff, computer technician, with no extra staff provided nor time allowance to cope with the load. The pace just keeps hotting up; some days the descent into chaos is positively scary. • In the use of technology, many teachers lack the skills to assist students, so they are relying more on the TL to be involved with their classes, which leaves less time for management tasks. • TLs are hampered by technology in every sense of the word; They receive the cast noff machines from the Administration areas; There is little or no technological support; the latest software does not work with older machines; The technology is forever changing; the students think they know about technology -- but they do not know how to research. • Information technology drains the library budget (is money going to computers etc instead of the library). Perceived lack of support for the role • We see lots of excellent school-based staff getting very frustrated because the job they do isn't supported or appreciated. • The energy of the battle is not worth the little support we gain. • We seem to have to spend a lot of time fighting for any support we get. • Support seems to be given grudgingly, often to shut me up. 12
  13. 13. • If I become too strident over library needs, I get into all sorts of strife if I don't get strident, the library gets nothing or leftovers, after years of asking. Perceived lack of value and importance and appreciation • Not perceived by peers as being relevant (in part die to the increasing problem of being sidelined by the IT agenda in a school). Why do we need a library (TLs) when we're "connected" to the world. • Lack of official value -- school annual reports can be written with no library or T-L but happily report on the multi-purpose shelter & the bus as facilities. • Showing my value and being valued as a teacher librarian -- a special role in the school -- so as not to be replaced by a librarian. • Encouraging classroom teachers to see me as a valuable resource in their classrooms as well as in the library. • Recognition for cooperative work done with teachers with an adequate time allocation for this. Perceived lack of understanding of the nature and dimensions of the role • Perpetual misunderstandings of one's role (not a new one). • Principals in general do not have an understanding of the importance of the library to teaching and learning. • The boss consults the computer class teacher on what equipment should go into the library and since this teacher rarely even uses the library, his vision and mine seldom overlap. • Having administration and colleagues understanding the role of the t/l in the 21st century. • If our colleagues in the profession could see how valuable we could be in a more collaborative role beyond "give me all you have on transport" and storytelling to the littlies then things might change. • From where I sit one of my biggest concerns is the apparent lack of understanding by administrators and teachers, of the place that the library and a good teacher librarian can play in the learning process. This is especially evident with the advent of the Internet with the tendency in many schools to think that online information can replace the book stock and trained library staff. • The administration of schools only seem to know that the library is a problem when something has gone wrong or a parent complains. Perceived low status of position
  14. 14. • The challenge is to get enough status to get the money to ring the changes that move us forward whatever the current sticking point may be. • Top of my priorities at the moment is the perception of the status of TLs in Australian schools, and specifically, of course in my own school. • I have less status than I have ever had in this school. I am fearful that if I studied for a PhD, as I have wanted to, that I would find myself cleaning the toilets. • Trained TLs are being replaced by other, untrained teachers who sometimes do quite extraordinary things to collections such as abandoning the Dewey system for home-made ones. • Status as an educator -- I'm an assistant principal/TL and still have to fight for time, resourcing and status of the library. It is convenient to have me in this dual role, so I can be on call whenever there is a more urgent need for me to wear my AP hat -- which if allowed, would be 90% of the time. I have 3 days TL and 2 days AP. Negative perceptions of the image of School Librarian by others • Tag of librarian -- still has the image of somewhat old fashioned keeper of the books and daggy. • Librarians have a negative image, and no matter what you do, it doesn't seem to shift. • TLs are often seen as second grade in a school, with nothing to offer but control of the shelves with a stern face. • The image of the librarian -- attitudes of the old days still persist as strong as ever. • No matter what I do or say, I am still tarnished with the past image of the librarian. Advocacy • Encouraging good quality training courses for new TLs with an emphasis on education, not just library management. • The need to convince all stakeholders (politicians, society, academics, teachers, parents and students) that Information Literacy is an essential responsibility of schooling. If it is established that if graduates can access and efficiently use information, and be critical thinkers, data can become knowledge, and knowledge can be transformed into wisdom, I think most of our challenges will be diminished somewhat. 14
  15. 15. • I think it is a worry that there do not seem to be any courses on offer in Victoria to train teacher librarians. • Information skills are an important part of our work and many tertiary institutions are realising the importance of conducting classes for their students, perhaps there should be more consultation between the two sectors. Student learning -- processes and outcomes • TLs are frustrated by the lack of technical skills amongst the students and staff. Users rush in waving a disk and want material printed out yesterday. They have used Word 2000 on Mac and we have windows 95 etc etc. • Teacher librarians do not contribute to the debate on the place of information technology and and its effects on curriculum, and teaching and learning, and as a consequence the implications for the role of the teacher librarian and the resource centre then they run the very serious risk of being sidelined. • Encouraging teachers to see the ICT Competencies, especially the Info Lit component, should be across the curriculum, not just considered in the IT classes. • Incorporating ICT resources into the library collection in a way that doesn't downgrade more traditional resources i.e. persuading students that the Internet isn't the only place to go for research. Maintaining the value of print resources. • Need to explore electronic aspects to info process -- not the locating and selecting, but the cut and paste organisation aspects, (my own area not explored, still give the kids paper and pencil). • Curriculum development for composite classes. • Student assessment. Funding • Funds -- probably linked to above -- some libraries are starved of fundsto make them the vibrant places they should be. • Maintaining our library budget and library staffing ratios in tight times and in tough competition with other needy areas of the school, or new "must have or we'll look bad" school trends in the region. • Funding and resources: once the need for information literacy is established, the challenge to provide adequate resources in the way of staffing, hardware, technology and technology support, information sources, and funds for ongoing research and development, will be on the way to being met.
  16. 16. • Chronic under-funding is another major problem. • Libraries are considered a waste of funds. Not able to do the job I want to do • Find TIME, TIME, Time. Find enough time to do all that I want to do. • I spend more time than I think I should need to on: student management (first year at this school so still not known by students); student discipline (we are in a difficult demographic area); paperwork related to purchasing, getting signatures and faxing (must be a better way); too many meetings (at school and network level -- usually valuable but too many); house-keeping as in shelving, and training and selling cards for the photocopier!! • Time management... to do less better. Finding the time to teach AND monitor authority files & the nitty-gritty that makes the database effective. • Would like more time available: for planning and implementing a meaningful research skills plan for students; for teaching teachers about the value of our college intranet and how it can make teaching and learning a more positive experience. • Time -- to do own professional development, present it to colleagues, discussion for co-operative, read latest literature on shelf, be available to students outside "lesson" time, to debrief with peers! Professional development • Education of the staff on the need for integrated, systematic Information Skills classes across the curriculum. • Remaining at the forefront of new information technology as it pertains to information management and teaching. • Change and the ability to keep up (espcially when you are the only one in the library); keeping up with and gaining in-service training. • Continuous training and development; once the pivotal role of Information Literacy and the fact that school/university libraries are in a prime position to enahnce and develop it, is established, hopefully the provision of quality, free, ongoing training will also become less of a struggle, for those working in the field and undergraduates. • Learning new skills myself and implementing ideas for literature programs: frustration at students' poor research skills; read more of the latest adolescent fiction; teach myself how to use PowerPoint, etc. 16
  17. 17. These are important challenges, ones not just local to Australia, and ones that need to be addressed. Many of these challenges have been expressed for decades. These were the issues I thought about when I did my training in teacher-librarianship in the early 1980s. Yes, even technology, as we grappled with the integration of the audio-visual technologies into learning. What is particularly interesting is that challenges related to the processes and outcomes of student learning received lower priority. There may be a number of reasons for this: these challenges are well under control for the majority of teacher-librarians, or they don't exist or don't matter, or it is perceived that solutions to the other challenges need to be in place before the real work of student learning can be accomplished. Maybe there is something in the old proverb: "Energy goes where the attention flows". We tend to send our energy where our attention is. The attention we are giving and needing to the challenges expressed above may not bring about the desired effect. It is my view that we cannot wait around, hoping that someone out there will rescue us from this concerns. We need to shift our thinking to what we espouse as the real purposes of our roles, and demonstrate its power on the lives of the students we deal with. We need to move beyond the public relations approach, and focus on an evidence-based practice approach. I spoke at the 4th National Information Literacy Conference in Adelaide, Australia, in December 1999, and made the comment that information literacy is often seen by others as "a clarion call by committed protagonists to improve literacy and learning outcomes" (Todd, 2000: 29), rather than as an action-centred process where tangible outcomes could be demonstrated. I cited Foster who claimed that information literacy is "an exercise in public relations" and "an effort to deny the ancillary status of librarianship by inventing a social malady with which librarians as 'information professionals' are uniquely qualified to deal" (Foster, 1993, 346), and Miller who observed: "the word 'literacy' carries with it the connotations of illiteracy, and the continuing implication that librarians are dealing with clients on a basic or even remedial level" (Miller, 1992). Foster's and Miller's remarks are undeserved and many people were angered by my comments. However, the advocacy, role, status, image and position messages are the messages that school executives, system administrators, school library educators, and school library professional associations have been hearing for decades. Why haven't they been heard to the extent that the teacher-librarian's position today is the most exalted, cherished and sought-after position in the school? I believe that one key element in this answer is that
  18. 18. these are all self-centred and ego-driven dimensions. People -- administrators, classroom teachers and parents -- sometimes do not see the links between what you do on a day-to-day basis and how that enables the learning outcomes of the students. I am going to be blunt here. I hope I am wrong. But you will not be heard until your day-to- day practice is evidence-based; a practice that is directed towards demonstrating the real tangible power of your contribution to the school's learning goals -- goals that while expressed in many different ways, have at their heart concepts of knowledge construction and human understanding. The evidence of your direct, tangible contribution to improving learning in your school should be the substance of your message, the substance of your public concern, the substance of your negotiations. In my short survey, one teacher-librarian commented: "I teach with some wonderful, dedicated teachers, and we use scads of ingenuity in finding the resources we need, and teaching our students. This is still the best job in the world, either teaching on its own, or being a teacher librarian, and there is great satisfaction to be had from finding a needed, elusive fact, or introducing a child to a book that brings them back for 'more of the same, please'. But there is so much more we could do." I would suggest that the answer to the concluding remark, "But there is so much more we could do" needs to foocus on evidence-based practice. We might argue that there is a great deal of evidence out there that highlights the empowering role of the school library. Yet even with this evidence, it is sometimes difficult to convince school executive of the nature, scope and importance of this role. Why? I think there is a simple answer to this. The evidence is not local, immediately derived from the day-to- day teaching and learning going on in a specific school. Principals, teachers, parents, want to hear local success, local improvement; they want to know how their students in particular are benefiting, not how others are doing. Yesterday (June 14th), the US Senate approved the first major overhaul of the country's education policy in 35 years. The Bill calls for annual testing of students in reading and methematics, and requires each school to demonstrate progress in eliminating academic achievement gaps. Failing schools will receive aid to improve, but will face the loss of funds and other penalties if they fail to make adequate progress. If a school does not make enough progress after two years, it must allow students to transfer to other public schools. Schools with a continuing record of failing may also be required to replace staff or restructure. However we might react to this approach, it clearly shows that local outcomes will 18
  19. 19. matter; local improvements will be monitored, watched, listened to, and it highlights the importance of teacher-librarians being engaged in evidence-based practice that shows that their role in the learning goals of the school makes a difference. Oberg (2001) makes this timely comment: "Many people, including educators, are suspicious of research and researchers. Research conducted closer to home is more likely to be considered and perhaps to be viewed as trustworthy". EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE Another teacher-librarian provided this longer reply to my challenges request: "Information technology has provided the means for teacher librarians to present themselves to the world in a way clearly valued to the world. We employ our information management skills to manage information and knowledge across a whole spectrum of formats. We are at the forefront of taking information technology from a frightening spectre to place it within the context of education in a controlled and meaningful way. We look at the curriculum needs, and work with teachers to plan their courses and lessons, than set about finding the best information in whatever format, including websites, and applying the most suitable information technology -- from simple pathfinders on a website to highly complex webquests. We then teach teachers and their classes how to use it. Schools and teachers are convinced that we know what we are doing because we use every opportunity to be involved in curriculum planning and to sell our skills to the school community: on councils, meetings, in-service, assemblies, workshops. We use our websites to best effect for the school and to present our knowledge and information management to the school and the broader community. We monitor education and librarianship email discussion lists and channel relevant emails to our colleagues. We publish good news about our libraries in every venue possible. We send our library staff to as many professional development sessions as possible." There are some worthwhile initiatives here. The fundamental question needs to be asked: what difference did this make to student learning? The focus here is on "doing", and undoubtedly, some fine doing. What did this do in terms of students "being" and "becoming"? For students, teachers and parents, what was the "experience"? What were the differences, defined and expressed in ways that say: "hey, we want more of this!". This is evidence-based practice. Evidence-based practice focuses on two things. Firstly, it is the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the performance of
  20. 20. your role. It is about using research evidence, coupled with your own professionsl expertise and reasoning to implement learning interventions that are effective. Without current best evidence, practice runs the risk of not only being out of date, but detracts from the real purpose, to the detriment of learners. Secondly, evidence-based practice is about ensuring that your daily efforst put some focus on effectiveness evaluation that gathers meaningful and systematic evidence on dimensions of teaching and learning that matter to the school and its support community, evidences that clearly convey that learning outcomes are continuing to improve. Some may claim that evidence-based practice is impossible to practice, given the seemingly limited time for keeping abreast, let alone implementing strategies, or that it is only possible to be done by those in ivory towers. My view is that evidence-based practice is fundamental to future survival. Unless teacher-librarians engage in carefully planned evidence-based practice, I see the continuing erosion of the role. It is about action, not position; it is about evidence, not advocacy, and at the heart of this is inquiry-based learning for knowledge construction. THE RESEARCH EVIDENCE There is a considerable body of evidence already existing that provides direction in terms of where the evidence-based focus of a school might lie. This research evidence is well documented in substantive reviews undertaken over a number of years, for example, by Didier (1984), Haycock (1992, 1994), Loertscher and Woolls (1999), Oberg (2001), as well as many individual and large-scale research studies, such as Kuhlthau's research on inquiry-based learning and the Information Search Process (1993, 1994, 1999), and the Colorado Studies by Lance and colleagues (1992, 1999, 2000, 2001). It is imperative that teacher-librarians continue to engage actively with this literature, and use it as a way of determining how each individual school might establish its library program, identify learning needs, and chart its own evidence. As I examine this literature, I see at least 8 important generalizations about the relationship of school libraries to learning, each underpinned by specific research-based evidence. These are: • A shared educational philosophy centering on inquiry learning provides an appropriate and common climate for engaging teacher-librarians and school staff in collaborative, integrated learning opportunities. A "shared philosophy of learning" (Kuhlthau, 1993) underpins a shared vision for the learning outcomes, and a commitment to a shared collaborative process. 20
  21. 21. • A process approach focusing on the systematic and explicit development of students' abilities to connect with, and utilize information to contruct personal understanding results in improved performance in terms of personal mastery of content. • The systematic and explicit development of students' abilities to connect with, interact with, snd utilize information to construct personal understanding results in more positive attitudes to learning, increased active engagement in the learning environment, and more positive perceptions of themselves as active, constructive learners. Kuhlthau has in particular studied attitudes and feelings of certainty and confidence in the search process, and demonstrates how feelings of uncertainty and poor self-concept can change positively through engagement in active inquiry-centered learning. • The development of student competence is most effective when it is integrated into flexibly delivered classroom instruction at the point of need. • Active reading programs foster higher levels of reading, comprehension, vocabulary development and language skills. • There are benefits to students when school and public libraries communicate and co-operate more effectively. Evidence suggests that students who are active school library users are more likely to have more positive attitudes to public libraries and using those libraries. • Successful school library programs are ones that set clear expectations and manageable objectives, establish realistic time lines, and gather meaningful and systematic feedback from students and teachers on the impacts of the programs. • School leaders tend to be more supportive when they can see the library actively engaged in the teaching and learning process, and when they can articulate specific impacts of this engagement. Such evidence to them demonstrates people-centered, learning-cerntered empowerment. We should be greatly encouraged by such findings, but it is not good enough to simply tout these findings particularly in the context of shoring up image, position, role, power, or status, or a clarion call for more funding for teachnology or resources. I believe central to our role is the major task of developing our own school evidence that supports these findings -- building the local case in the context of more global findings, as well as identifying specific local learning dilemmas, and exploring how the school library program might contribute to their solution.
  22. 22. SOME OPPORTUNITIES FOR EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE One key area that teacher-librarians might focus on relates to students' engagement with information technology. There are many important learning dilemmas emerging from available research evidence, and these might form the centre of carefully planned, evidence-based practice. The Table below highlights some learning dilemmas faced by students when engaging with the World Wide Web. I have analyzed this literature from an information literacy perspective, where information literacy is conceptualized as centering on people connecting with information, interacting with information and utilizing information as part of the learning process for knowledge construction. The research, primarily American, provides insights into the cognitions, behaviors and emotions that are commonly experienced during the process of interacting with electronic information. This research, in contrast to the commonly held view that young people are gurus in this vast digital world, suggests that the intuitiveness, ease, certainty, and success as input and outcomes attributes of searching the World Wide Web are highly questionable, and highlights significant learning dilemmas in this arena. INFORMATION LITERACY RESEARCH FINDINGS DIMENSION Connecting with Atkin (1998); Watson (1999); high levels of information overload; information inability to manage and reduce large volumes of information; Bilal & Watson (1998); McNicholas & Todd (1996); Todd (2000): failure to retrieve documents based on aboutness; formulating ineffective search queries; failure to utilize Boolean operators Kuhlthau (1991); McNicholas & Todd (1996); Watson (1999): considerable insecurity and uncertainty when searching; McNicholas & Todd (1996); Kafai & Bates (1997); problems with working with search engines; Hertzberg & Rudner (1997); Nims & Rich (1998); tendency to conduct simple searches, crafting poor searches; considerable guessing of appropriate terms; Nims & Rich (1998): high expectation of the technology's ability to make up for poor searching techniques Fidel (1999): examine only first screens of most sites 22
  23. 23. Schacter, Hung & Dorr (1998): preferred browsing techniques to systematic, andlytic-based strategies; Hirsch (1999, 1997): motivation for searching decreases when site load time is slow, and especially in relation to graphics -- technical implications Interacting with Atkin (1998): coping strategies -- filtering, simplification, errors, information delegating; feelings of confusion and frustration; Bilal & Watson (1998); Hirsch (1999): not thinking critically and evaluatively in searching; limited use of thesaurus Hertzberg & Rudner (1997): typical user only performs 2 or 3 inquiries per search; very small number of citations examined (5-6); abort searches quickly; McNicholas & Todd (1996); Schacter, Hung & Dorr (1998); Hirsch (1999): inability to judge quality of information Watson (1999): inability to question the accuracy of Web information McNicholas & Todd (1996); Wallace & Kuperman (1997); Hirsch (1999): not able to judge relevance of information; Fidel (1999): often inappropriately favoring visual cues; minimalist behaviour -- made quick decisions at all stages of search process; looked at pictures rather than textual information as signs of relevance; use of "landmarks" rather than in-depth critical analysis of sites to judge relevance and quality Utilising McNicholas & Todd (1996): project management issues of time, information workload management, meeting deadlines Hertzberg & Rudner (1997): median amount of time spent in searching was 5-6 minutes; willing to construct answer on limited information; users satisfied with any somewhat-relevant hit McNicholas & Todd (1996): tendency to plagiarize As can be seen from the above analysis, students are experiencing a substantial range of learning dilemmas associated with the World Wide Web. Any one of these learning dilemmas provides a rich opportunity for teacher-librarians to intervene, and through collaborative, inquiry-centered approaches, demonstrate that their practice makes a real difference to student learning. This does not imply that information technology alone
  24. 24. provides the opportunities; opportunities exist with all facets of the library's information literacy, reading, and literature programs. What is important is that the learning needs are identified, instructional strategies developed, and considerations given to how this will be evaluated. This is evidence-based practice. It might be in the form of statistics, or stories, or documented case studies, or analyses of reflective student interviews or feedback processes. It does not need to be complicated, but manageable, and clear. Oberg (2001) identifies a range of evidence-based practices. In this paper, she asks: How can we show that school libraries are making a difference in student learning? She explores key approaches, some of which have already been touched on here. They are: • Using research findings from the school library field; as indicated, these highlight an extensive range of learning dilemmas that have a clear information literacy focus. • Analysing the results of national, state or provincial testing programs: these provide opportunities to see what key learning needs are, and how the library can intervene to improve these. Often such results are accompanied by reports on the local school, and sometimes these make explicit suggestions relating to critical thinking skills, reading abilities, transfer of knowledge to new situations, ability to interpret information, ability to structure and organise information. These are opportunities begging the library program to intervene. • Using locally available library and test data: the school library's automated system can provide data about circulation of library materials; these data can be correlated with learning programs, test scores, assignment results to see if there are patterns that indicate that using the library makes a difference. For example, it might show that the class that has the highest circulation, or the class where collaborative inquiry learning processes have been implemented have scored higher on reading comprehension or content mastery. • Carrying out action research or teacher-researcher projects: at the heart of this is an identified learning problem, and developing a cycle of collaborative planning, acting, evaluating and reflecting to address it. The problem might be low motivation for reading, plagiarism, weaknesses in skills of analysis and synthesis, or it might relate to World Wide Web issues, such as issues centring on the evaluation of web information. I want to commend to you the 1996 Volume 3 Issue 2 of School Libraries Worldwide, which documented a range of perspectives and strategies on action research. Action research projects provide 24
  25. 25. real, creative, and collaborative opportunities for teacher-librarians to initiate and document learning improvements. I want to commend to you the forthcoming book • Using statistical data that is available or easily obtained: this approach might include census data or educational system data, so that a specific school situation might be compared to regional or state or national levels, and opportunities identified for the school library program to intervene. PRINCIPLES OF LEARNING At the heart of evidence-based practice, and driving this practice, are 10 principles of learning. I have been greatly influenced in my thinking by a paper called "Powerful Partnerships: Shared Learning" (1999), developed by the American Association for Higher Education and other associations, which articulates these principles of learning as a basis for collaborative learning where students, teachers and community are all stakeholders. I will briefly outline these. These principles form an exciting basis from which a library program can be derived; they define the functions and roles of the library team working transformatively for knowledge construction; they become the basis of the criteria for the selection of resources; they shape the allocation of physical space in thelibrary; they are the basis of developing school-wide ownership of the library program. In addition, they become the marketing framework of the library, and are the basis for demonstating the evidence of the power of the library. Each of these learning principles forms a basis around which evidence might be collected to show the power of the library program. WORKING FOR KNOWLEDGE LEARNING PRINCIPLE CONSTRUCTION: TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP 1. Learning is an active search for An inquiry-based learning approach is the central meaning by the learner: it is about philosophy and practice of the school -- from it constructing knowledge rather than stems the information search process and the range passively receiving it; involving of teaching-learning initiatives which focus on the learners directly in discovery of development of the intellectual scaffolds for knowledge; enabling them to engaging with and using information for transform prior knowledge and knowledge construction. experience, and to take responsibility Inquiry based learning, not information literacy or
  26. 26. for learning information skills, is the educative platform. Outcomes articulated in terms of learning gains, with evidence, becomes the strongest argument for library support 2. Learning is about making and Need to situate information literacy advocacy and maintaining connections: linking initiatives within an empowerment model towards concepts, ideas, meaning; linking knowledge construction, rather than conveying a mind and environment; linking self deficiency notion -- ie students are somehow and others; linking deliberation and deficient because they do not have these skills. action. Ensuring instruction links needs to experience. Giving learners responsibility for solving problems and resolving conflicts. Creating a physical and virtual environment that is an invitation to connect, to get to know, to know more. Making sure my instruction makes explicit the relationships of need to the curriculum. Ensuring that I personalize interventions appropriate to learners' circumstances and needs. Gathering evidence on which to base learning initiatives and decisions. 3. Learning is developmental: a Planning for the progessive, developmental nature cumulative process involving whole of each learning experience: instruction should be person. Intellectual growth is gradual: additive and cumulative -> greater richness, advancement, consolidation, complexity. reinforcement; fostering an integrated Tracking student development of competence sense of identity. (gathering the evidence). Providing opportunities for trialing, testing, reviewing, as well as opportunities for needs assessment, discussion, reflection. Systematic approaches to gathering evidence. 4. Learning is both individual and This might mean: social: Responsive to students' Opportunities for peer tutoring and learning from 26
  27. 27. personal histories and common each other; enable students from different cultural cultures; opportunities for co- backgrounds to experience each other's traditions operative learning; cultivating and -- choice of resources; inclusive community; valuing human creative approaches responsive to different differences. learning styles and development of self-learning packages to cater for different learning styles; creating learning zones in the library, depending on social or individual needs; librarians daring to have fun with their students -- in the library! using school, home and community as resources for collaborative learning. 5. Learning is strongly affected by Ensuring that the library plays a key role in educational climate in which it building a strong sense of community. takes place: value academic and Library conveys a clear sense that it values personal success and intellectual intellectual inquiry and knowledge construction. inquiry; involve all constituents in Library rules and regulations invite, rather than contributing to effective student forbid. learning feeling connected, cared for Learning environment in which students feel and trusted. connected, cared for, trusted -- and where they do not suffer from LH ("Loans Harrassment") or PFS ("Petty Fines Syndrome") Clearly thinking about what you convey that is important to your students by your attitudes, values, and in-house behaviors. Celebrate knowledge successes. 6. Learning requires feedback, Instructional design encourages goal setting, and practice, and use: opportunities for students to chart and measure Feedback -> sustained learning their learning gain. Practice -> nourishing learning Grab every opportunity to provide information on Opportunities to use -> meaningful their progress towards meeting learning goals. learning Engage in a recurring process of needs analysis and improvement.
  28. 28. Be prepared to take risk and learn from your own mistakes. Encourage development of learners as constructive critics. Ensure demands for behavior modification and rules compliances are not your primary feedback, rather your feedback is the feedback of learning- partners. 7. Much learning takes place Creative and imaginative approaches to instruction informally and incidentally: -- not necessarily the group one-size-fits-all Activities beyond the classroom approach. enrich formal learning experiences; Rethink distributuion of responsibilities. Mentoring relationships beyond the Engage school staff as Information Literacy classroom; support staff. Learning in a variety of settings and Identify strategies that ensure the library is a circumstances. learning portal to information and enrichment. Develop pathways to extension and enrichment on curriculum topics. Provide a virtual or real space that links students with peers, staff, community mentors. Create a physical environment that is an open invitation for mystery, intrigue, discovery -- where accidental discovery is highly likely: ie an invitation to dance the "knowledge dance". Use of volunteers and activities. Provide on-line help points: quick-fix. Learning is grounded in particular Provide opportunities to tailor education to contexts and individual individual rather than mass-produced delivery. experiences: Explore how you can use educational technologies Requires effort to transfer specific as tool for collaborative learning. knowledge and skills to new Make the library a hotbed of learning activism, a circumstances; space where they can encounter alternative Grounded nature of learning: perspectives and other realities, challenge 28
  29. 29. encounter alternative perspectives conventional views, test application of new and other realities knowledge, engage in dialogue with people of disparate perspectives and backgrounds -- in an environment of safety and respect. Focus on the development of the experience, and reflection on the experience. Provide students with opportunities to share their experiences with others that have shaped their identities and learning. Understand factors which affect student cognition. Curriculum co-ordination to contextualize learning experience. 9. Learning involves ability of Provide opportunities and processes to help individuals to monitor own students understand their strengths and weaknesses learning: in learning. Understand how knowledge is Help students observe and record their own acquired; progress in learning. Know how to work with capacities Show students how to think about their learning and limitations; Awareness of own and learning processes in a reflective way. ways of knowing; Ability to monitor own learning. 10. Learning is enhanced by taking Students learn more when asked to tackle complex place in the context of compelling and compelling problems that invite them to situations: develop an array of workable and innovative Provides challenge and opportunity. solutions. Stimulates brain to conceptualize, Students tend to engage more when they produce contemplate and reflect. work to be shared with multiple audiences. Amplifies the learning process. Ensure instruction provides opportunities for active application of skills and abilities. Effective instruction takes place when students are placed in settings where they can draw on past knowledge and competencies. CONCLUSION
  30. 30. On the basis of what I have said, and in summary, I would like to suggest the following as a model of teacher-librarians creating an information-knowledge environment for learning, one that focuses on information connectivity and empowerment for knowledge construction and the development of meaning and understanding. At its heart is an educational philosophy and practice centering on inquiry learning, and which drives the transformative actions and evidence-based practices centering on knowledge construction and meaning making. This focus underpins the nature and scope of collaborations to achieve learning outcomes, and in the context of the educational role of the teacher-librarians, is likely to give emphasis to the information search process and enabling students to connect with, interact with and utilize information in the process of knowledge construction. This shapes and guides the selection of resources amd how information technology is utilized across the school. And this focus underpins the nature of the management role of the information-knowledge environment and its infrastructure to create a knowledge sharing community. At the heart of a school library empowering learning are teacher-librarians and educators whose philosophy and actions empower learners to connect with, interact with and utilize information to develop their own understanding, to construct their own meaning, and who have the evidence to demonstrate this. It is about adding value and making a difference to people. Systems, structures, buildings provide infrastructure, frameworks, contexts, locations, and linkages are important, but they in themselves do not empower. It is people who empower, and people who are empowered. Senge (1990) claims that empowerment is one of four components that are central to transformational leadership. These components are "the Four Es" -- Envisioning, Energizing, Empathizing, and Empowering. Caldwell & Spinks (1992) argue that transformational leadership is about leadership that transforms rather than simply maintains the status quo; it is about leadership that brings about meaningful and purposeful change; it is about leadership grounded in actions and evidence that create the desired reality. Transformational leadership is about creating and enabling preferred futures, and this is achieved through people who are empowered to take evidence-based action. It is commitment to making a difference through action. It involves envisioning, energizing, emphazing, and empowering. Central to this is a shared inquiry centered philosophy and process of learning. This calls for conceptualizing the role of the teacher-librarian as partner-leader. Partner- leaders demonstrate: 30
  31. 31. • Purposeful leadership: have a clear vuision of desired learning outcomes for the school; • Strategic leadership: have a clear blueprint for translating learning-centred vision into evidence-based actions; • Collaborative and creative leadership: are able to creatively combine capabilities, and mutually reinforce capabilities, to deliver real value to the school community; • Renewable leadership: are able to be highly flexible and adaptive, continuously learning, changing and innovating; and • Sustainable leadership: being able to identify and celebrate achievements, outcomes, and impacts -- showing, through evidence, the role of the teacher- librarian is the most prized role in the school. A personal philosophy of mine is "You begin the road by walking it". Today I present to you the road, the way ahead, and I challenge you to walk it. REFERENCES AKIN, L. Information overload and children: A survey of Texas elementary school students. School Library Media Quarterly Online. 1, 1998. BILAL, D. & WATSON, J. Children's paperless projects: Inspiring research via the Web. Amsterdam: 64th IFLA General Conference August 16 -- 21, 1998. Available at http://www.ifla.org/IV/ifla64/009-131e.htm BILAL, D. Children's use of Yahoologans! Web Search Engine: 1. Cognitive, physical and affective behaviors on fact-based search tasks. Journal of the American Society for Information Science. 51(7), 2000. 646-665. CALDWELL, B., and SPINKS, J. Leading the self-managing school. London: Farmer, 1992. DIDIER, E. Research on the impact of school library media programs on student achievement: implications for school library media professionals. In S. Aaron and P.R. Scales (Eds), School Library Media Annual 1984 (pp.343-361). Note: Also published in 1985 in School Library Media Quarterly, 14(1), 1984, 33-36. FIDEL, R. et al. A visit to the information mall: Web searching behavior of high school students. Journal of the American Society for Information Science. 50(1), 1999, 24-37. Haycock, K. What works: Research about teaching and learning through the school's library resource center. Vancouver: Rockland Press, 1992.
  32. 32. HAYCOCK, K. Research in teacher-librarianship and the institutionalization of change. School Library Media Quarterly, 23, 1994, 227-233. HERTZBERG, S. & RUDNER, L. The quality of searchers' searches of the ERIC database. Education Policy Analysis Archives. 7(25), August Available at: http://epaa.asu.edu/ HIRSH, S. Children's relevance criteria and information seeking on electronic resources. Journal of the American Society for Information Science. 50(14), 1999, 1265-1283. HIRSH, S. How do children find information on different types of tasks? Children's use of the science library catalog. Library Trends. 45(4), Spring, 1997, 725-745. KAFAI, Y. and BATES, M. Internet Web-searching instruction in the elementary classroom: Building a foundation for information literacy. School Library Media Quarterly. Winter, 1997, 103-111. KUHLTHAU, C. Inside the search process: Information seeking from the user's perspective. Journal of the American Society for Information Science. 42(5), 1991, 361-371. KUHLTHAU, C. Student Learning in the Library: What Library Power Librarians Say. School Libraries Worldwide. 5(2), 1999, 80-96. KUHLTHAU, C. Seeking Meaning: A Process approach to Library and Information Services. Ablex, 1993. KUHLTHAU, C. Teaching the Library Research Process. Scarecrow Press, 1994. LANCE, K., HAMILTON-PENNELL, C. & RODNEY M. Information empowered: The school librarian as an agent of academic achievement in Alaska schools. Juneau, AK: Alaska State Library, 1999. LANCE, K., RODNEY, M. & HAMILTON-PENNELL, C. (in press). Measuring up to standards: The impact of school library programs and information literacy in Pennsylvania schools. Camp Hill, PA: Pennsylvania Citizens for Better Libraries. LANCE, K., RODNEY, M. & HAMILTON-PENNELL C. How school librarians help kids achieve standards. castle Rock, CO: Hi Willow Research, 2000. LANCE, K., WELBORN L. & HAMILTON-PENNELL C. The impact of library media centers on academic achievement. Denver, CO: Colorado Department of Education, 1992. 32
  33. 33. LAZONDER, A., BIEMANS, H. & WOPEREIS, I. Differences between novice and experienced users in searching information on the World Wide Web. Journal of the American society for Information science. 51(6), 2000. 576-581. MARKUSON, C. Effective libraries in International Schools. Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, 1999. MCNICHOLAS, C. & TODD, R. New kids on the box: is it worth the Investment. Scan, 15(4), November 1996, 40-42. NIMS, M. & RICH, L. How successfully do users search the Web. College and Research Library News. 1998, 155-158. OBERG, D. Demonstrating that school libraries improve student achievement. Access, 15(1), 2001. OBERG, D. Research indicating school libraries improve student achievement. Access. 15(2), 2001 In press. POWERFUL PARTNERSHIPS: A Shared Responsibility for Learning: A Joint Report. American Association for Higher Education, American College Personnel Association; National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, 1999. Available at: http://www.aahe.org/assessment/tsk_frce.htm SCHACTER J., CHUNG, G. & DORR, A. Children's internet searching on complex problems: performance and process analysis. Journal of the American Society for Information Science. 49, 1998, 840-849. SENGE, P. The fifth discipline : the art and practice of the learning organization. 1st ed. New York: Currency Doubleday, 1990. TODD, R. "From net surfers to net seekers: the www, critical literacies and learning outcomes". In: Education for All: Culture, Reading and Information. Selected Papers. Edited by S. Shoham &. M. Yitzhaki. 27th International Conference of the International association of School Librarianship, Ramat-Gan, Israel, July 5-10, 1998. Tel Aviv: Bar- Ilan University, 231-241. TODD, R. Reconceptualising the Search Process in Electronic Environemtns. A discussion paper for Department of Education and Training Virtual Conference, 1999. Available at http://www.dse.nsw.edu.au/staff/F1.0/F1.8/teaching/3.htm TODD, R. Information Literacy: Concept, Conundrum, and Challenge. In Booker, D. (ed). Concept, Challenge, Conundrum: From Library Skills to Information Literacy. Proceedings of the fourth national information literacy conference conducted by the University of South Australia Library and the Australian Library and Information
  34. 34. Association Information Literacy Special Interest Group, 3-5th December, 1999. Adelaide: University of South Australia Library, 2000, 25-34. WALLACE, R. & KUPERMAN, J. On-line search in the science classroom. Benefits and possibilities. Paper presented at AERA, Chicago, 1997. http://mydl.soe.umich.edu/papers/online_search.pdf WATSON, J.S. Students and the World Wide Web: Issues of Confidence and Competence. In: Lighthall, L. and Howe, E. (Eds). Unleash the Power: Knowledge -- Technology -- Diversity. Papers presented at the Third International Forum on Research in School Librarianship. Seattle: International Association of School Librarianship, 1999, 191-200. http://www.iasl-online.org/events/conf/virtualpaper2001.html SCHOOL LIBRARY MEDIA ACTIVITIES MONTHLY/VOLUME XXIV, NUMBER 8/APRIL 2008 Reframing the Library Media Specialist as a Learning Specialist BY ALLISON ZMUDA AND VIOLET H. HARADA Allison G. Zmuda is an education consultant who has worked with schools throughout the United States and Canada. Email: zmuda@competentclassroom.com Violet H. Harada is a professor in the University of Hawaii"s Library and Information Science Program. Email: vharada@hawaii.edu Preparing students to meet the challenges of the 21st century has solidified the need for information literacy and technology as meaningful components of curriculum designs and instructional practices. The survey report Partnership for 21st Century Skills states that, when polled, voters rank the following areas as high priorities for schools (2007): • computer and technology skills • critical thinking and problem solving skills • ethics and social responsibility • written and oral communications • teamwork and collaboration • lifelong learning and self-direction • leadership • creativity and innovation • media literacy • global awareness In today's schools, a host of learning specialists joins classroom teachers in working with students. These specialists have no formal classroom assignments, but they provide instruction for students, and, frequently, training for teachers. They range from library media specialists and reading resource teachers to technology coordinators and math coaches. As learning specialists, library media specialists, because of their deep content expertise about the nature of inquiry and the construction of knowledge, are uniquely suited to develop 21st-century student learning skills. What would it look like if learners could determine their information needs, solve problems, read for pleasure, effectively and ethically use information and ideas, debate merits of a point of view, and create quality written and oral communications? Such clarification of what the learners must do to achieve mission goals defines for all staff what good business looks like in the library media center. Good business is work (instructional activities and assessments) that develops student learning around the goals that are most important (again as defined by the mission). The recently published Standards for the 21st-Century Learner requires students to construct knowledge through 34
  35. 35. the exploration and analysis of ideas, information, and point of view, and to communicate their learning through authentic, transfer-oriented tasks (AASL 2007). In his research of student learning in Ohio, Ross Todd found strong evidence that: Students unequivocally recognize that when school librarians have a clearly defined role as an information literacy specialist, their opportunities for learning are enhanced. This role is a very active, learning-centered role where school librarians actively contribute their expertise to that of the classroom teachers to enable students to transform information into personal knowledge (Todd, 2006). Bad business is work that is irrelevant, tangential, or counter-productive. These activities or assessments require students to collect information or resources in the library media center and then leave. The superficiality of this acquisition is doomed to fail. Students will not become wiser, more skillful, or more strategic; they will not become more prolific or powerful as communicators; they will not become more mindful of the validity of alternate points of view or the persuasive use of data. Bad business takes up precious resources of the library media specialist because of the time it takes to prepare and organize the resources as well as the orchestration and oversight of the experience. Major features of bad and good business practices are delineated in Table 1. Table 1. Bad and Good Business Practices for Library Media Specialists Moving away from bad business where... Moving toward good business where... Success is defined by the number of staff who Success is defined by the quality of the work completed in the library media center. collaborate with the library media specialist. Success is defined by doing whatever is asked in order Success is defined by investing resources only in those tasks that are central to the library mission. to be recognized as valuable or important. Success is defined by helping students find what they Success is defined by engaging students in the construction of deep knowledge through the exploration of are looking for. ideas and information, conducting of investigations, and communication and evaluation of findings. Success is defined by the number of instructional Success is defined by the student learning that resulted from completion of work centered on subject area sessions held in the library media center. and information literacy goals. There is no upside to library media specialists collaborating with classroom teachers on tasks that are bad business. If library media specialists participate in the design and orchestration of these types of tasks, even though they know that it is "bad business," they become accomplices in the assignment of yet another task that dilutes inquiry to the level of answering the questions on a worksheet, reduces deep reading to counting the number of pages read, and prostitutes construction of knowledge to a cut-and-paste exercise. The library media specialist must insist that every learning experience in the library-classroom aligns with the learning goals of both the classroom teacher’s curriculum and the library media curriculum. The key to depersonalizing this transformation of "bad business" to "good business" comes from the continued insistence that this isn’t about what the teacher or library media specialist prefers, but what the learner requires. The mission statement and AASL Standards for the 21st- Century Learner should be prominently featured in all aspects of the learning environment—physically hung on the walls, judiciously placed in curriculum binders and planning materials, and prominently displayed on the school and library media websites. The library media specialist also should use the learning goals as a touchstone in every conversation with staff. Such relentless consistency both models and reinforces to staff that the focus on the goals of learning is a "disciplined mindset" that ensures that what students are asked to do on a daily basis is challenging and worthy of the attempt. How the 21st-Century Mission Affects the Job Description of the Library Media Specialist In their upcoming book, Librarians as Learning Specialists: Meeting the Learning Imperative for the 21st Century , Zmuda and Harada contend that library media specialists must refocus their job descriptions and their daily practice so that they target direct contributions to improve the achievement of all learners on defined curricular goals. The job description of a library media specialist predictably includes key components that appear in those of many other learning specialists employed in schools. A comparative analysis of reading, technology, mathematics and librarian job descriptions is shown in Table 2. Table 2. What Learning Specialists Do Assessment and Instruction (with Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction Program Development, Leadership, and Management students) (with staff) • Provide instruction for individuals or small Curriculum Development and Leadership groups of students. Such instruction tends• Serve on curriculum committees. • Provide professional development for teachers as part of the to be supplemental to that provided by the Assessment school staff development program; also teach classes that classroom teachers. teachers can take for credit. Work with teachers in planning • Assist in the development of assessment • Work on short-term basis with targeted instruments (retelling protocols and running and conducting professional development in the schools. students, then provide strategies/processes records) and selection of assessment instruments. • Work closely with the principal in setting a schedule and for classroom teachers to follow. making decisions about professional development. • Assist in interpretation of test results with teachers • Provide instruction, using research- and parents. • Serve as mentor to new teachers by modeling, providing supported programs. feedback, and coaching. • Share results of assessments with public. • Work with special educators and serve on instructional Instruction support or pupil personnel teams. • Discuss and share ideas with teachers about help • Lead study groups (read a professional book or article and for struggling students, and materials and ideas then discuss). that enhance performance. • Serve as a resource to allied professionals, parents, other • Hold collaborative planning sessions to develop

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