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1Lindsey La BargeFRMS 7136Information Skills PaperOctober 7, 2008 Information Skills: Collaboration is the Key Collaboration between teachers and media specialist is very important in teachingstudents information literacy skills. Usually teachers do not venture into the media centerunless they need help with their VCR or need help changing a light bulb. There is somuch that can be gained by teachers and media specialists working together for the goodof the students. Students need critical thinking skills in order to succeed in either thework force or post secondary education. The media specialist is the perfect person to helpstudents build these necessary skills, and help teachers continue to teach their studentsinformation literacy. Social studies teacher Joseph Brubaker feels that students should learn readingcomprehension skills from the media center (personal communication, August 29, 2008).Mr. Brubaker teaches world history and has problems with students being able tocomprehend or remember the reading within the textbook for the class. This affects thetest scores of his students. He suggested that the media specialist host some sort ofreading comprehension workshop for ninth graders. Within his classes, he has manydifferent types of students. Some are more advanced than others. Mr. Brubaker has to usedifferentiated instruction in his classroom daily. According to Karen Larsen, “the goal ofdifferentiation is to bring the ideas and concepts of the curriculum to the learner at thepace and depth that is appropriate for the ability of each student” (Larsen, 2004).Differentiation is just as important in the media center as it is in the classroom. In some
2ways the students that come to the media center for help are more differentiated thanthose in a single class. Differentiation can be just as important as collaboration. “Collaboration is a great way for us to impact student learning throughmeaningful, curriculum-connected learning experiences” (Heard, 2007). It is importantfor teachers and media specialists to work together for the benefit of the students. Thereis so much that the students can learn from both media specialists and their teachers, soworking together only makes sense. Collaboration is the way to true education andpreparation for the future. “An effective library media center program ensures thatopportunities are provided for students, faculty, and staff to become effective users ofideas and information and acquire lifelong patterns of learning” (Young, 2005). Even ifthese opportunities are available they still need to be made known so that they can betaken advantage of by the students and teachers. Social studies teacher Keith McCrory stated that he believes the media center isthe perfect place to teach students basic research skills (personal communication, August29, 2008). Dr. McCrory teaches AP classes and so his students need the basic researchskills that are required in order to succeed in any AP course. The main problem that hisstudents have is knowing where to find appropriate academic sources for their research.Dr. McCrory has suggested that the media specialists come up with a lesson to show thestudents some of the places that they can find some great academic resources. That wouldhelp the media center enter the classroom. English teacher Amber Strickland thinks that the media center should be able tolead students to literature to support what is being taught in the classroom (personalcommunication, September 22, 2008). Most of the students at Jackson County High
3School never even enter the media center because they do not think that there is anythingthat can benefit them. Mrs. Strickland thinks that if the media specialist can offercomplimentary literature to what is being presented in the classroom, more students willfind a reason to visit the media center. She also thinks that the media center is a greatplace to introduce online academic sources to advanced students. Media specialists Pauline La Barge and Martha Babb said, “we teach the studentsthe best research and information access skills, such as how to use Boolean so that theycan get closer to what they are actually looking for. We teach students how to evaluatewebsites for information accuracy and how to put the information they find into properMLA format, such as how to create citations and bibliographies for both print and non-print sources. We teach students how to use GALILEO, NetTrekker, and other Academicsource sites. We teach understanding of the ethics of using resources including copyrightrestrictions and the concept of plagiarism. We also teach our students how to use Destiny,our online card catalog, to locate print resources in our media center; we also teach themto understand the Dewey classification system. Another responsibility is teachingstudents how to use the various technology tools such as software, a scanner, digitalcameras to best convey the information and ideas they learned in their research” inresponse to the question of how the media center teaches students information literacy(personal communication, October 6, 2008). Mrs. La Barge and Mrs. Babb are always traveling between the classrooms andthe media center at East Jackson Comprehensive High School in order to offer what themedia center has to the teachers and students within the high school. They have alsostarted an extended day program. Mrs. La Barge stays until six p.m. one day per week in
4order to allow students one day to study for a couple extra hours. This allows the studentsaccess to every resource that the media center can offer. Media specialist Andrea Waldrip says that the problem with collaboration is thatthe teachers really do not know the abilities that media specialist has (personalcommunication, September 17, 2008). Before the beginning of the school year at JacksonCounty Comprehensive High School, Mrs. Waldrip passes out a list of some of the thingsthat the media specialist can help teachers with. It is not a comprehensive list, but it givesthe teachers an idea of what is available through the media center. The problem is that atthis point in the school year is that the teachers get so much paper work, so most of themdo not even read the list of what the media center offers. The problem that needs to be fixed in the Jackson County media center is findingsome way to make the teachers more aware of what is available through the media centerand what the media specialist can help them with in their classroom. Awareness of whatis offered through the media center is the key to collaboration. Carl A. Harvey II haswritten a list called “What should a teacher expect a media specialist to be?”. This list hastwelve things that a media specialist should be. Some of the points on this list thatteachers need to be aware of are that media specialists are teachers, a media specialist is aresource locator and a media specialist is a collaborator (Harvey, 2005). It would be veryhelpful if every teacher posted this list by their desk so that they knew where they couldgo for help. This list should also be posted in the media center for the benefit of thestudents. It is “imperative to constantly advocate for the library and regularly show yourteachers how the media center can be a resource to them and their students” (Heard,2007).
5 Collaboration is the key to the success of the students and the success of theteachers teaching students to be prepared for whatever they do in the future. Whether it isinformation literacy, reading comprehension or research skills that need to be taught, themedia center is the place to go and the media specialist is the person to ask for help. Inorder to take advantage of what is offered through the media center, there needs to besome way to make what is offered known to everyone that it could benefit. There is somuch that could be taught through the media center. So, collaboration with classroomteachers is the key to a future of well-informed and information literate citizens.
6 ReferencesBuzzeo, T. (2005 January). Collaborating from the Center of the Universe. Library Media Connection. 18-20.Harvey, C. (2005 February). What Should a Teacher Expect a School Library Media Specialist to Be? Library Media Connection. 23.Heard, J. (2007 February). Technology: A Tool for Collaboration. Library Media Connection. 24.Larsen, K. (2004 November/December). Sink or Swim: Differentiated Instruction in the Library. Library Media Connection. 14-16.Young, T. (2005 January). Better Data… Better Decisions. Library media Connection. 14-19.