SlideShare a Scribd company logo
Enquiring Minds – what is
Education for and how do
school libraries and librarians
contribute ?
By Francis Gilbert
www.francisgilbert.co.uk
1
Enquiring Minds – what is Education
for and how do school libraries and
librarians contribute ?
An outline of what I will cover
 What is Education for?
 Ideals: eudemonia (human flourishing), Independent
learners, creators, motivated, happy, imaginative, moral.
 Social control
 Emancipation

 My brief: “We would like you to base your talk on how school
libraries and librarians can contribute to these ideals.”
2
Education as social control
 Social control: this is possibly was the Victorian intention
(Simon)
 The school system preserves the class system:
 Secondary moderns (holding pens for children)
 Grammar schools (educating the “middle tier”)
 Private schools
 Elite “public schools”, educating the elite: politicians,
barristers etc.
3
Social cohesion Prison
4
Social control – positives/negatives
 Schools are about social
harmony
 Different social groups can
mix together
 Teaching is about nurturing
dialogue between people
 Assessment of abilities
rooted in meritocratic
principles
 Blind obedience to arbitrary
authority
 Social, ethnic, gender
segregation
 School is about learning to
be lectured to
 Assessment pre-supposes
failure
The “social control” library
 A clear hierarchy of books which mirrors the social class
system:
 Simple texts for the “less able”, for the poor, socially
deprived, or a policy of exclusion: you’re not welcome here…
 More advanced texts for the elite, the rich, the advantaged
middle-classes
 A strong emphasis on social control: silence, the librarian as
the custodian of the social/literary hierarchy
 Key thinkers: F.R. Leavis, ‘The Great Tradition’
5
Education as “emancipation”
 Education as a utopian project to change society for the better;
to enrich everyone’s lives both materially, creatively,
epistemologically…
 Political agenda has changed: “education, education, education”
(Blair, 1997)
 “Closing the attainment gap” is a key policy agenda for left and
right. (EEF)
 Non-selective academies and free schools replace grammar
schools as the “elite” state schools in the eyes of Conservative
government.
 Focus upon FSM children.
 Universities change their entrance requirements to attract
students from diverse backgrounds.
6
But what is “emancipation”?
 Traditional: Teacher-centred, authoritarian, rote-learning,
drilling for exams, higher attainment in the traditional
academic subjects: Progress 8, English, Maths, Science,
MfL, Humanities (Gove/E.D. Hirsch)
 Creativity: a “holistic approach”; child-centred, problem-
solving, creating art, drama, poetry (Montessori, Steiner,
Dewey, Robinson)
 A middle ground which teaches the “traditional” subjects in
creative ways, mediating between traditional and more child-
centred ways of teaching (most state school teachers)
7
Paulo Freire
 Education as liberation and emancipation
 The starting point is people’s lives: your own life, your students’ lives.
 Education has to be relevant to its context (s)
 Paulo Freire writes in the Pedagogy of the Oppressed:
 “The banking concept (with its tendency to dichotomize everything)
distinguishes two stages in the action of the educator. During the first,
he cognizes a cognizable object while he prepares his lessons in his
study or his laboratory.” (Freire, p.61)
 “Every prescription represents the imposition of one individual’s choice
upon another, transforming the consciousness of the person prescribed
to into one that conforms with the prescriber’s consciousness.” (Freire,
p. 29)
8
Freirean questions
 Principles: choice/disclosure is voluntary/ autobiographical
 What are your first reading experiences?
 What are your childhood memories of libraries?
 What are your positive experiences of books as a child?
 Conceptual reflection:
 Can any of your experiences be possibly generalised to other
people?
9
The Freirean librarian: dialogue
 Emphasis on “dialogue” and listening.
 The librarian listens to students’ interests, draws out from
them what they like and enters a dialogue with them about
the texts they want to see in the library.
 This is an on-going dialectical process; the librarian “leads”
students to other texts that enable an “opening out” of
thought (Freire, Bakhtin, Robin Alexander)
10
The Freirean librarian: praxis
 The librarian takes necessary social actions to change
oppressive conditions: re-arranging furniture, thinking about
displays, considering oppressive students and teachers
within the library context.
 Ownership: the library is a “shared” communal space, not
“my library”, the use of pronouns is important.
 The library is a venue for social justice: talks, council
meetings, group work encouraged there.
11
The Freirean librarian:
conscientization
 The library is a place where consciousness both collective
and individual is developed.
 Constantly evolving: new words, texts, approaches are
highlighted;
 CPD shelf for teachers; get them into the library!
 New ideas in the school are promoted there;
 New texts are highlighted, interrogated, celebrated
 New technology show-cased and questioned, celebrated…
12
The Freirean library: lived
“experience”
 The lived “experiences” of the members of the library are
celebrated and show-cased:
 Work is displayed
 Books are published (self-publishing)
 Students/teachers are celebrated
 Links are made between lived experience and text
 Cartoon bubbles for students talking about books they like…
 Cards where students/teachers write about favourite books
13
The “emancipatory” library
 Every librarian needs to ask continually:
 What is the library for?
 What are its aims/purposes?
 Who is it for?
14
The Post-modern condition
 The “School Matrix”…
 The rigid military hierarchies in schools and state education
generally (Sennett/Weber) Librarian is placed at the bottom.
 Michel Foucault/Lacan: discourses of power. The hierarchy of
the school, Ofsted, the demands of the curriculum, the
advent of new technology “renames” the library as a
“Learning Zone” or “Learning Resources Centre” (LRC)
 “Resistance”: the librarian can experience the brunt of this…
 Highly problematic: surely the whole of school is a “learning
zone”?
 Often an imposition; questions the centrality of the “book”
15
Post-modern questions
 What are your thoughts/feelings about the key names that
surround libraries?
 What “language games” are played around the concept of
libraries?
 What are the connotations of the words “library” and “learning
zone”, “LRC” for you? Do you think this affect how people
behave in libraries?
16
The Enlightenment and the library
 The library emerged as a fundamental tool of the
“Enlightenment”, a storehouse for key texts, for rational
explanations of everything; the rationale sureties of John
Locke, Emmanuel Kant,
 The “post-modern” condition questions the Enlightenment
project: there is no “objective body of knowledge”; no vital
canon; only multiple discourses; multiple forms of
representation; everything is potentially a “text”; the internet
questions the very existence of a storehouse for the “physical
book”.
17
Re-thinking key concepts
 Gender concepts (Judith Butler, Laura Mulvey) girls and boys as
cultural concepts (George, “Girls in the Goldfish Bowl”)
 Sexuality (Stonewall), gay people can get married.
 Age; we are all learners (Claxton “The Learning Powered
School);
 Instruction versus dialogue; learning is a dialectical process, a
dialogue with teacher and student, and it starts with what the
students knows and builds upon that (Vygotsky ZPD), as
opposed what the teacher knows and what the student doesn’t
(deficit model)
 The librarian is in a unique position to listen to
students/teachers, and uses his/her position to respond
creatively to students/teachers
18
The post-modern library
 A radical “contextualisation” of books; find students’
passions, create “book bowers”, e.g. football section which
has magazines, videos of matches, Nick Hornby, 19th century
history which reveals the emergence of football.
 A section called “Pink” which explores and contextualises
“pink”, e.g. Pink “girly” books, Spare Rib, Attitude magazine,
royal pinks
 Don’t be frightened of “non-fiction”
19
Re-thinking assessment
 Accelerated Reader & similar programmes; it can have its
place in the “post-modern” library which is, by its nature, a
“mixed-up” place, but it needs to be “contextualised”, and
abandoned if necessary. The problem is the “point score”
becomes the “point”.
 The crying pupil…”that ain’t no good, George…”
 Teachers/librarians need to trust their instincts in the
moment, learn to assess in “real-time”; assess the emotional
state of a student; their “life trajectory”; look at the “big
picture”; describe rather “prescribe”…
20
Reclaiming the name of “library”
 The primacy of the physical book as a marvel of human technology:
 Reclaim the name by reclaiming the concept of “Libra”; of the book; the
physicality of the book is important; its smell, text, pages.
 The library as an “affective” space: a place which generates a specific
atmosphere, a specific emotional climate. There are or could be
possibly “silent times/places”, “talking times/places”, “game times”,
“bring a friend time”.
 Reinvigorate the idea of “browsing” in a physical space; children
needed to be guided as to how to do this; teachers to model?? The
pleasure of the browser in physical space as opposed to digital space??
Exploring and deconstructing this process is actually a complex subject:
many students see an intimidating shelf of books; a reminder of what
they don’t know; their reaction is negative; they are “frightened” to
explore & teachers too!
21
The pleasures of reading
 To get these things right requires a great deal of thought and
dialogue (Robin Alexander/Bahktin)
 It is an acknowledgement of the ambivalent position of
libraries within the “post-modern” age
 Ultimately, though it is about establishing the “pleasure of
reading” in all its facets; affective, bodily, intellectual.
 The library is a magical, mystical space; a rare space for
people to fall in love with books.
22
Summing up
 The shift from social control to emancipation
 The “Freirean” approach which starts with the “learner” and
acts in a profound, political way to nurture and enrich
students’ lives
 The “post-modern” condition; adapting to this; thinking
creatively; reclaiming the name of “library”; establishing the
primacy of the book.
23
Summing up questions
 Is there anything you didn’t understand?
 What do you think of my points? Agree/disagree!
 How do you think libraries can become places of
“emancipation”?
 Is social control a big issue for you in your library? If so, why?
What’s going on?
24

More Related Content

What's hot

Choosing Children's Literature 2003 version
Choosing Children's Literature 2003 versionChoosing Children's Literature 2003 version
Choosing Children's Literature 2003 version
Johan Koren
 
Selection Tools for Children's Series
Selection Tools for Children's SeriesSelection Tools for Children's Series
Selection Tools for Children's Series
Mary Jo Chrabasz
 
Online assignment
Online assignmentOnline assignment
Online assignment
9995217078
 
Wlma 2011
Wlma 2011Wlma 2011
Wlma 2011
Kathleen Johnson
 
Core77 1HDC: Reading Ahead Research Highlights
Core77 1HDC: Reading Ahead Research HighlightsCore77 1HDC: Reading Ahead Research Highlights
Core77 1HDC: Reading Ahead Research Highlights
Steve Portigal
 
The Virtual Circle
The Virtual CircleThe Virtual Circle
The Virtual Circle
Terence Carty
 
D'Antoni Keynote paper 09 09 02 Cambridge Conference Odl Final
D'Antoni Keynote paper 09 09 02 Cambridge Conference Odl FinalD'Antoni Keynote paper 09 09 02 Cambridge Conference Odl Final
D'Antoni Keynote paper 09 09 02 Cambridge Conference Odl Final
grainne
 
Choosing Children's Literature
Choosing Children's LiteratureChoosing Children's Literature
Choosing Children's Literature
Johan Koren
 
The role of schools and public libraries in promoting reading habit among chi...
The role of schools and public libraries in promoting reading habit among chi...The role of schools and public libraries in promoting reading habit among chi...
The role of schools and public libraries in promoting reading habit among chi...
Alexander Decker
 
Wlma 2011 final
Wlma 2011 finalWlma 2011 final
Wlma 2011 final
Kathleen Johnson
 

What's hot (10)

Choosing Children's Literature 2003 version
Choosing Children's Literature 2003 versionChoosing Children's Literature 2003 version
Choosing Children's Literature 2003 version
 
Selection Tools for Children's Series
Selection Tools for Children's SeriesSelection Tools for Children's Series
Selection Tools for Children's Series
 
Online assignment
Online assignmentOnline assignment
Online assignment
 
Wlma 2011
Wlma 2011Wlma 2011
Wlma 2011
 
Core77 1HDC: Reading Ahead Research Highlights
Core77 1HDC: Reading Ahead Research HighlightsCore77 1HDC: Reading Ahead Research Highlights
Core77 1HDC: Reading Ahead Research Highlights
 
The Virtual Circle
The Virtual CircleThe Virtual Circle
The Virtual Circle
 
D'Antoni Keynote paper 09 09 02 Cambridge Conference Odl Final
D'Antoni Keynote paper 09 09 02 Cambridge Conference Odl FinalD'Antoni Keynote paper 09 09 02 Cambridge Conference Odl Final
D'Antoni Keynote paper 09 09 02 Cambridge Conference Odl Final
 
Choosing Children's Literature
Choosing Children's LiteratureChoosing Children's Literature
Choosing Children's Literature
 
The role of schools and public libraries in promoting reading habit among chi...
The role of schools and public libraries in promoting reading habit among chi...The role of schools and public libraries in promoting reading habit among chi...
The role of schools and public libraries in promoting reading habit among chi...
 
Wlma 2011 final
Wlma 2011 finalWlma 2011 final
Wlma 2011 final
 

Similar to Schools library association

Teaching Children's Literature
Teaching Children's LiteratureTeaching Children's Literature
Teaching Children's Literature
Johan Koren
 
What are libraries and what are they good for?
What are libraries and what are they good for?What are libraries and what are they good for?
What are libraries and what are they good for?
Johan Koren
 
Learner-centred learning; thoughts
Learner-centred learning; thoughtsLearner-centred learning; thoughts
Learner-centred learning; thoughts
London Knowledge Lab
 
What are Libraries Good For?
What are Libraries Good For?What are Libraries Good For?
What are Libraries Good For?
Johan Koren
 
The process is the outcome: a framework for student ‘research as praxis’ - Fe...
The process is the outcome: a framework for student ‘research as praxis’ - Fe...The process is the outcome: a framework for student ‘research as praxis’ - Fe...
The process is the outcome: a framework for student ‘research as praxis’ - Fe...
IL Group (CILIP Information Literacy Group)
 
WAYS OF READING An Anthology for Writers Seventh Edi.docx
WAYS OF READING An Anthology for Writers Seventh Edi.docxWAYS OF READING An Anthology for Writers Seventh Edi.docx
WAYS OF READING An Anthology for Writers Seventh Edi.docx
jessiehampson
 
Choosing Children's Literature 2007
Choosing Children's Literature 2007Choosing Children's Literature 2007
Choosing Children's Literature 2007
Johan Koren
 
Transcendentalist Education Lecture
Transcendentalist Education LectureTranscendentalist Education Lecture
Transcendentalist Education Lecture
bsimoneaux
 
1 Perennialism
1 Perennialism1 Perennialism
1 Perennialism
Dr. Paul A. Rodriguez
 
NRF Posthumanism Project Seminar II 'Finding Child Beyond Child' Karin Murris
NRF Posthumanism Project Seminar II 'Finding Child Beyond Child' Karin MurrisNRF Posthumanism Project Seminar II 'Finding Child Beyond Child' Karin Murris
NRF Posthumanism Project Seminar II 'Finding Child Beyond Child' Karin Murris
Jakob Pedersen
 
Choosing Children's Literature 2003
Choosing Children's Literature 2003Choosing Children's Literature 2003
Choosing Children's Literature 2003
Johan Koren
 
Shakespeare ankara conf nov 2012 kassim b safir
Shakespeare ankara conf nov 2012 kassim b safirShakespeare ankara conf nov 2012 kassim b safir
Shakespeare ankara conf nov 2012 kassim b safir
safirk
 
Shakespeare ankara conf nov 2012
Shakespeare ankara conf nov 2012Shakespeare ankara conf nov 2012
Shakespeare ankara conf nov 2012
safirk
 
Buffy hamilton response to beach and myers
Buffy hamilton response to beach and myersBuffy hamilton response to beach and myers
Buffy hamilton response to beach and myers
Buffy Hamilton
 
What Is The Purpose of Education?
What Is The Purpose of Education?What Is The Purpose of Education?
What Is The Purpose of Education?
Kirsten Olson
 
Humanities Presentation
Humanities PresentationHumanities Presentation
Humanities Presentation
jutecht
 
Educational Philosophies
Educational PhilosophiesEducational Philosophies
Educational Philosophies
Jhun Ar Ar Ramos
 
Introduction to Great Books.pptx
Introduction to Great Books.pptxIntroduction to Great Books.pptx
Introduction to Great Books.pptx
TurtleArt
 
Using ya in the classroom
Using ya in the classroomUsing ya in the classroom
Using ya in the classroom
Wheeler School
 
Frei joão promoting reading 11th october
Frei joão promoting reading 11th octoberFrei joão promoting reading 11th october
Frei joão promoting reading 11th october
malex86
 

Similar to Schools library association (20)

Teaching Children's Literature
Teaching Children's LiteratureTeaching Children's Literature
Teaching Children's Literature
 
What are libraries and what are they good for?
What are libraries and what are they good for?What are libraries and what are they good for?
What are libraries and what are they good for?
 
Learner-centred learning; thoughts
Learner-centred learning; thoughtsLearner-centred learning; thoughts
Learner-centred learning; thoughts
 
What are Libraries Good For?
What are Libraries Good For?What are Libraries Good For?
What are Libraries Good For?
 
The process is the outcome: a framework for student ‘research as praxis’ - Fe...
The process is the outcome: a framework for student ‘research as praxis’ - Fe...The process is the outcome: a framework for student ‘research as praxis’ - Fe...
The process is the outcome: a framework for student ‘research as praxis’ - Fe...
 
WAYS OF READING An Anthology for Writers Seventh Edi.docx
WAYS OF READING An Anthology for Writers Seventh Edi.docxWAYS OF READING An Anthology for Writers Seventh Edi.docx
WAYS OF READING An Anthology for Writers Seventh Edi.docx
 
Choosing Children's Literature 2007
Choosing Children's Literature 2007Choosing Children's Literature 2007
Choosing Children's Literature 2007
 
Transcendentalist Education Lecture
Transcendentalist Education LectureTranscendentalist Education Lecture
Transcendentalist Education Lecture
 
1 Perennialism
1 Perennialism1 Perennialism
1 Perennialism
 
NRF Posthumanism Project Seminar II 'Finding Child Beyond Child' Karin Murris
NRF Posthumanism Project Seminar II 'Finding Child Beyond Child' Karin MurrisNRF Posthumanism Project Seminar II 'Finding Child Beyond Child' Karin Murris
NRF Posthumanism Project Seminar II 'Finding Child Beyond Child' Karin Murris
 
Choosing Children's Literature 2003
Choosing Children's Literature 2003Choosing Children's Literature 2003
Choosing Children's Literature 2003
 
Shakespeare ankara conf nov 2012 kassim b safir
Shakespeare ankara conf nov 2012 kassim b safirShakespeare ankara conf nov 2012 kassim b safir
Shakespeare ankara conf nov 2012 kassim b safir
 
Shakespeare ankara conf nov 2012
Shakespeare ankara conf nov 2012Shakespeare ankara conf nov 2012
Shakespeare ankara conf nov 2012
 
Buffy hamilton response to beach and myers
Buffy hamilton response to beach and myersBuffy hamilton response to beach and myers
Buffy hamilton response to beach and myers
 
What Is The Purpose of Education?
What Is The Purpose of Education?What Is The Purpose of Education?
What Is The Purpose of Education?
 
Humanities Presentation
Humanities PresentationHumanities Presentation
Humanities Presentation
 
Educational Philosophies
Educational PhilosophiesEducational Philosophies
Educational Philosophies
 
Introduction to Great Books.pptx
Introduction to Great Books.pptxIntroduction to Great Books.pptx
Introduction to Great Books.pptx
 
Using ya in the classroom
Using ya in the classroomUsing ya in the classroom
Using ya in the classroom
 
Frei joão promoting reading 11th october
Frei joão promoting reading 11th octoberFrei joão promoting reading 11th october
Frei joão promoting reading 11th october
 

More from Francis Gilbert

Anthem for doomed youth
Anthem for doomed youthAnthem for doomed youth
Anthem for doomed youth
Francis Gilbert
 
Of mice and_men_chapter_1
Of mice and_men_chapter_1Of mice and_men_chapter_1
Of mice and_men_chapter_1
Francis Gilbert
 
Copy of copy of of mice and men chapter 4
Copy of copy of of mice and men chapter 4Copy of copy of of mice and men chapter 4
Copy of copy of of mice and men chapter 4
Francis Gilbert
 
Copy of copy of copy of of mice and men chapter 5
Copy of copy of copy of of mice and men chapter 5Copy of copy of copy of of mice and men chapter 5
Copy of copy of copy of of mice and men chapter 5
Francis Gilbert
 
An ebacc too far
An ebacc too farAn ebacc too far
An ebacc too far
Francis Gilbert
 
An annotated version of Obama's bin Laden speech
An annotated version of Obama's bin Laden speechAn annotated version of Obama's bin Laden speech
An annotated version of Obama's bin Laden speech
Francis Gilbert
 
Slideshow on chapter 8
Slideshow on chapter 8Slideshow on chapter 8
Slideshow on chapter 8
Francis Gilbert
 
The kite runner, pp1
The kite runner, pp1The kite runner, pp1
The kite runner, pp1
Francis Gilbert
 
The kite runner_tiffany_wallis
The kite runner_tiffany_wallisThe kite runner_tiffany_wallis
The kite runner_tiffany_wallis
Francis Gilbert
 
The kite runner, pp1
The kite runner, pp1The kite runner, pp1
The kite runner, pp1
Francis Gilbert
 
Slideshow on chapter_20
Slideshow on chapter_20Slideshow on chapter_20
Slideshow on chapter_20
Francis Gilbert
 
The kite runner_-_chapter_10
The kite runner_-_chapter_10The kite runner_-_chapter_10
The kite runner_-_chapter_10
Francis Gilbert
 
Blog marking
Blog markingBlog marking
Blog marking
Francis Gilbert
 
As coursework powerpoint
As coursework powerpointAs coursework powerpoint
As coursework powerpoint
Francis Gilbert
 
Blog titlesreflection
Blog titlesreflectionBlog titlesreflection
Blog titlesreflection
Francis Gilbert
 
As video coursework_steps_and_tasks
As video coursework_steps_and_tasksAs video coursework_steps_and_tasks
As video coursework_steps_and_tasks
Francis Gilbert
 
Title project marking
Title project markingTitle project marking
Title project marking
Francis Gilbert
 
As video coursework_steps_and_tasks
As video coursework_steps_and_tasksAs video coursework_steps_and_tasks
As video coursework_steps_and_tasks
Francis Gilbert
 
Asyoulikeit
AsyoulikeitAsyoulikeit
Asyoulikeit
Francis Gilbert
 
Ayli resource pack
Ayli resource packAyli resource pack
Ayli resource pack
Francis Gilbert
 

More from Francis Gilbert (20)

Anthem for doomed youth
Anthem for doomed youthAnthem for doomed youth
Anthem for doomed youth
 
Of mice and_men_chapter_1
Of mice and_men_chapter_1Of mice and_men_chapter_1
Of mice and_men_chapter_1
 
Copy of copy of of mice and men chapter 4
Copy of copy of of mice and men chapter 4Copy of copy of of mice and men chapter 4
Copy of copy of of mice and men chapter 4
 
Copy of copy of copy of of mice and men chapter 5
Copy of copy of copy of of mice and men chapter 5Copy of copy of copy of of mice and men chapter 5
Copy of copy of copy of of mice and men chapter 5
 
An ebacc too far
An ebacc too farAn ebacc too far
An ebacc too far
 
An annotated version of Obama's bin Laden speech
An annotated version of Obama's bin Laden speechAn annotated version of Obama's bin Laden speech
An annotated version of Obama's bin Laden speech
 
Slideshow on chapter 8
Slideshow on chapter 8Slideshow on chapter 8
Slideshow on chapter 8
 
The kite runner, pp1
The kite runner, pp1The kite runner, pp1
The kite runner, pp1
 
The kite runner_tiffany_wallis
The kite runner_tiffany_wallisThe kite runner_tiffany_wallis
The kite runner_tiffany_wallis
 
The kite runner, pp1
The kite runner, pp1The kite runner, pp1
The kite runner, pp1
 
Slideshow on chapter_20
Slideshow on chapter_20Slideshow on chapter_20
Slideshow on chapter_20
 
The kite runner_-_chapter_10
The kite runner_-_chapter_10The kite runner_-_chapter_10
The kite runner_-_chapter_10
 
Blog marking
Blog markingBlog marking
Blog marking
 
As coursework powerpoint
As coursework powerpointAs coursework powerpoint
As coursework powerpoint
 
Blog titlesreflection
Blog titlesreflectionBlog titlesreflection
Blog titlesreflection
 
As video coursework_steps_and_tasks
As video coursework_steps_and_tasksAs video coursework_steps_and_tasks
As video coursework_steps_and_tasks
 
Title project marking
Title project markingTitle project marking
Title project marking
 
As video coursework_steps_and_tasks
As video coursework_steps_and_tasksAs video coursework_steps_and_tasks
As video coursework_steps_and_tasks
 
Asyoulikeit
AsyoulikeitAsyoulikeit
Asyoulikeit
 
Ayli resource pack
Ayli resource packAyli resource pack
Ayli resource pack
 

Schools library association

  • 1. Enquiring Minds – what is Education for and how do school libraries and librarians contribute ? By Francis Gilbert www.francisgilbert.co.uk 1 Enquiring Minds – what is Education for and how do school libraries and librarians contribute ?
  • 2. An outline of what I will cover  What is Education for?  Ideals: eudemonia (human flourishing), Independent learners, creators, motivated, happy, imaginative, moral.  Social control  Emancipation   My brief: “We would like you to base your talk on how school libraries and librarians can contribute to these ideals.” 2
  • 3. Education as social control  Social control: this is possibly was the Victorian intention (Simon)  The school system preserves the class system:  Secondary moderns (holding pens for children)  Grammar schools (educating the “middle tier”)  Private schools  Elite “public schools”, educating the elite: politicians, barristers etc. 3
  • 4. Social cohesion Prison 4 Social control – positives/negatives  Schools are about social harmony  Different social groups can mix together  Teaching is about nurturing dialogue between people  Assessment of abilities rooted in meritocratic principles  Blind obedience to arbitrary authority  Social, ethnic, gender segregation  School is about learning to be lectured to  Assessment pre-supposes failure
  • 5. The “social control” library  A clear hierarchy of books which mirrors the social class system:  Simple texts for the “less able”, for the poor, socially deprived, or a policy of exclusion: you’re not welcome here…  More advanced texts for the elite, the rich, the advantaged middle-classes  A strong emphasis on social control: silence, the librarian as the custodian of the social/literary hierarchy  Key thinkers: F.R. Leavis, ‘The Great Tradition’ 5
  • 6. Education as “emancipation”  Education as a utopian project to change society for the better; to enrich everyone’s lives both materially, creatively, epistemologically…  Political agenda has changed: “education, education, education” (Blair, 1997)  “Closing the attainment gap” is a key policy agenda for left and right. (EEF)  Non-selective academies and free schools replace grammar schools as the “elite” state schools in the eyes of Conservative government.  Focus upon FSM children.  Universities change their entrance requirements to attract students from diverse backgrounds. 6
  • 7. But what is “emancipation”?  Traditional: Teacher-centred, authoritarian, rote-learning, drilling for exams, higher attainment in the traditional academic subjects: Progress 8, English, Maths, Science, MfL, Humanities (Gove/E.D. Hirsch)  Creativity: a “holistic approach”; child-centred, problem- solving, creating art, drama, poetry (Montessori, Steiner, Dewey, Robinson)  A middle ground which teaches the “traditional” subjects in creative ways, mediating between traditional and more child- centred ways of teaching (most state school teachers) 7
  • 8. Paulo Freire  Education as liberation and emancipation  The starting point is people’s lives: your own life, your students’ lives.  Education has to be relevant to its context (s)  Paulo Freire writes in the Pedagogy of the Oppressed:  “The banking concept (with its tendency to dichotomize everything) distinguishes two stages in the action of the educator. During the first, he cognizes a cognizable object while he prepares his lessons in his study or his laboratory.” (Freire, p.61)  “Every prescription represents the imposition of one individual’s choice upon another, transforming the consciousness of the person prescribed to into one that conforms with the prescriber’s consciousness.” (Freire, p. 29) 8
  • 9. Freirean questions  Principles: choice/disclosure is voluntary/ autobiographical  What are your first reading experiences?  What are your childhood memories of libraries?  What are your positive experiences of books as a child?  Conceptual reflection:  Can any of your experiences be possibly generalised to other people? 9
  • 10. The Freirean librarian: dialogue  Emphasis on “dialogue” and listening.  The librarian listens to students’ interests, draws out from them what they like and enters a dialogue with them about the texts they want to see in the library.  This is an on-going dialectical process; the librarian “leads” students to other texts that enable an “opening out” of thought (Freire, Bakhtin, Robin Alexander) 10
  • 11. The Freirean librarian: praxis  The librarian takes necessary social actions to change oppressive conditions: re-arranging furniture, thinking about displays, considering oppressive students and teachers within the library context.  Ownership: the library is a “shared” communal space, not “my library”, the use of pronouns is important.  The library is a venue for social justice: talks, council meetings, group work encouraged there. 11
  • 12. The Freirean librarian: conscientization  The library is a place where consciousness both collective and individual is developed.  Constantly evolving: new words, texts, approaches are highlighted;  CPD shelf for teachers; get them into the library!  New ideas in the school are promoted there;  New texts are highlighted, interrogated, celebrated  New technology show-cased and questioned, celebrated… 12
  • 13. The Freirean library: lived “experience”  The lived “experiences” of the members of the library are celebrated and show-cased:  Work is displayed  Books are published (self-publishing)  Students/teachers are celebrated  Links are made between lived experience and text  Cartoon bubbles for students talking about books they like…  Cards where students/teachers write about favourite books 13
  • 14. The “emancipatory” library  Every librarian needs to ask continually:  What is the library for?  What are its aims/purposes?  Who is it for? 14
  • 15. The Post-modern condition  The “School Matrix”…  The rigid military hierarchies in schools and state education generally (Sennett/Weber) Librarian is placed at the bottom.  Michel Foucault/Lacan: discourses of power. The hierarchy of the school, Ofsted, the demands of the curriculum, the advent of new technology “renames” the library as a “Learning Zone” or “Learning Resources Centre” (LRC)  “Resistance”: the librarian can experience the brunt of this…  Highly problematic: surely the whole of school is a “learning zone”?  Often an imposition; questions the centrality of the “book” 15
  • 16. Post-modern questions  What are your thoughts/feelings about the key names that surround libraries?  What “language games” are played around the concept of libraries?  What are the connotations of the words “library” and “learning zone”, “LRC” for you? Do you think this affect how people behave in libraries? 16
  • 17. The Enlightenment and the library  The library emerged as a fundamental tool of the “Enlightenment”, a storehouse for key texts, for rational explanations of everything; the rationale sureties of John Locke, Emmanuel Kant,  The “post-modern” condition questions the Enlightenment project: there is no “objective body of knowledge”; no vital canon; only multiple discourses; multiple forms of representation; everything is potentially a “text”; the internet questions the very existence of a storehouse for the “physical book”. 17
  • 18. Re-thinking key concepts  Gender concepts (Judith Butler, Laura Mulvey) girls and boys as cultural concepts (George, “Girls in the Goldfish Bowl”)  Sexuality (Stonewall), gay people can get married.  Age; we are all learners (Claxton “The Learning Powered School);  Instruction versus dialogue; learning is a dialectical process, a dialogue with teacher and student, and it starts with what the students knows and builds upon that (Vygotsky ZPD), as opposed what the teacher knows and what the student doesn’t (deficit model)  The librarian is in a unique position to listen to students/teachers, and uses his/her position to respond creatively to students/teachers 18
  • 19. The post-modern library  A radical “contextualisation” of books; find students’ passions, create “book bowers”, e.g. football section which has magazines, videos of matches, Nick Hornby, 19th century history which reveals the emergence of football.  A section called “Pink” which explores and contextualises “pink”, e.g. Pink “girly” books, Spare Rib, Attitude magazine, royal pinks  Don’t be frightened of “non-fiction” 19
  • 20. Re-thinking assessment  Accelerated Reader & similar programmes; it can have its place in the “post-modern” library which is, by its nature, a “mixed-up” place, but it needs to be “contextualised”, and abandoned if necessary. The problem is the “point score” becomes the “point”.  The crying pupil…”that ain’t no good, George…”  Teachers/librarians need to trust their instincts in the moment, learn to assess in “real-time”; assess the emotional state of a student; their “life trajectory”; look at the “big picture”; describe rather “prescribe”… 20
  • 21. Reclaiming the name of “library”  The primacy of the physical book as a marvel of human technology:  Reclaim the name by reclaiming the concept of “Libra”; of the book; the physicality of the book is important; its smell, text, pages.  The library as an “affective” space: a place which generates a specific atmosphere, a specific emotional climate. There are or could be possibly “silent times/places”, “talking times/places”, “game times”, “bring a friend time”.  Reinvigorate the idea of “browsing” in a physical space; children needed to be guided as to how to do this; teachers to model?? The pleasure of the browser in physical space as opposed to digital space?? Exploring and deconstructing this process is actually a complex subject: many students see an intimidating shelf of books; a reminder of what they don’t know; their reaction is negative; they are “frightened” to explore & teachers too! 21
  • 22. The pleasures of reading  To get these things right requires a great deal of thought and dialogue (Robin Alexander/Bahktin)  It is an acknowledgement of the ambivalent position of libraries within the “post-modern” age  Ultimately, though it is about establishing the “pleasure of reading” in all its facets; affective, bodily, intellectual.  The library is a magical, mystical space; a rare space for people to fall in love with books. 22
  • 23. Summing up  The shift from social control to emancipation  The “Freirean” approach which starts with the “learner” and acts in a profound, political way to nurture and enrich students’ lives  The “post-modern” condition; adapting to this; thinking creatively; reclaiming the name of “library”; establishing the primacy of the book. 23
  • 24. Summing up questions  Is there anything you didn’t understand?  What do you think of my points? Agree/disagree!  How do you think libraries can become places of “emancipation”?  Is social control a big issue for you in your library? If so, why? What’s going on? 24