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Wa School Libraries a Class Act


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Wa School Libraries a Class Act

  1. 1. School Library Conference (WA) School Libraries: Making them a Class Act DR ROSS J TODD Associate Professor Department of Library and Information science Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  2. 2. CISSL
  3. 3. [sízz'l] (noun) ¹Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries where leading researchers and professionals work together to create school libraries that spark learning in information age schools around the world. ²Global hot spot for school library action, where the synergies of school libraries, inquiry learning, literacies, and information technology spark ideas, research, innovation and scholarship.
  4. 4. The Information Age school: Get it right
  5. 5. “It is hard to set in motion what is still, or to stop what is in motion” Cobham Brewer 1810–1897
  6. 6. “We must be the change we wish to see in the world” Gandhi
  7. 7. School libraries are vital to effective learning in an information age school. Just don’t say it, show it! Ross J Todd
  8. 8. The Hole Truth Consider the Drill
  9. 9. The Hole Truth Consider the Drill People don't buy a drill bit because they want a drill bit, they buy a drill bit because they want to create a hole.
  10. 10. The Hole Truth Consider the school Library: School administrators, teachers and parents aren't interested in a good library because they want good libraries or good teacher-librarians. They're interested in libraries because they want students to read better, to research effectively, to discover new ideas, learn more, and to improve achievement.
  11. 11. Learning in the Information Age School The active search for meaning and understanding by the learner. As a cumulative process of becoming informed through study, instruction and experience, its outcome is the gain of new knowledge, skills, attitudes and values, and the transforming of prior knowledge.
  12. 12. In an Information Age School Library, the challenge is to … “celebrate the understood, not the found”
  13. 13. What does a “good” school library look like?
  14. 14. What is a good School Library? • Research tells us: • It has a qualified teacher-librarian: both a leading teacher and a credentialed librarian: Learning Activist not a Classroom Escapee • It supports the mission and continuous improvement plan of the school: explicit and tangible library policy focusing on learning outcomes • It actively supports the curriculum: provision of up-to- date adequate resources, provision of curriculum- based school library activities and instruction in collaboration with classroom teachers • It provides individual and group instruction in information and critical literacies (teachers and students)
  15. 15. What is a good School Library? • Research tells us: • It has a vibrant literature / reading program for academic achievement and personal enjoyment and enrichment • It collaborates with other libraries: public, government, community resources • It provides an integrated and rich information technology environment to support teaching and learning (the library is not a refuge for reject technology) • It provides leadership to students and staff in the use of electronic resources and integrating information technology into learning
  16. 16. School Libraries: 3 Core Beliefs • Information makes a difference to people. • Making a difference does not happen by chance: Teaching-learning role is the central dimension of the professional role of teacher-librarians • Learning outcomes matter: belief that all students can learn, and develop new understandings through the school library, and demonstrate outcomes
  18. 18. SHIFTING THE FOCUS OF SCHOOL LIBRARIES “Celebrate the understood, not the found” (anon)
  19. 19. THE SCHOOL LIBRARY OF THE FUTURE INFORMATION PLACE • Collections • Technology Access • Staffing • Locating and finding information THESE ARE IMPORTANT KNOWLEDGE SPACE • Building knowledge through engagement with information • Information Literacy • Learning outcomes • Making a difference THESE ARE LIBRARY GOALS
  20. 20. Empowerment, connectivity, engagement, and understanding define the actions and practices of the school library. Their outcome is the development of new knowledge: new meanings, new understandings, new perspectives, new skills, new attitudes
  21. 21. THE PREFERRED FUTURE The Library as a Knowledge Space, not an Information Place
  23. 23. SCHOOL LIBRARIES DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE: THE RESEARCH EVIDENCE Keith Lance: 12 State-Wide Studies in USA State test scores increase as teacher- librarians specifically spend more time: • planning cooperatively with teachers • identifying materials for teachers • teaching information literacy skills to students • providing in-service training to teachers • managing a computer network through which library’s learning program reaches beyond its own walls to classrooms, labs and offices • qualified teacher-librarians
  24. 24. Overall Recommendations • Funding of school library programs sufficiently to allow for adequate professional and support staff, information resources, and information technology • Institution policies and practices that encourage teacher-librarians to assume positions of leadership in their school • Network technology to make school library resources available throughout the school • Flexible scheduling to allow maximum student access to libraries • Collaborative approaches to learning and teaching • Identifying relationships of library to learning outcomes
  25. 25. SCHOOL LIBRARIES DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE: THE EVIDENCE • School Libraries help students with finding and locating information • School Libraries help students with understanding and using information • School Libraries help students build new understandings: knowledge outcomes • School Libraries help students improve their technology skills • School Libraries help students with their learning out of school • School Libraries help students with their reading
  26. 26. SCHOOL LIBRARIES DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE: THE EVIDENCE School Libraries help students with finding and locating information • Know the different stages in doing research • Develop the key questions to investigate a research topic • Find different sources for research topics • Find different viewpoints and ideas about topics • Be more confident with doing research
  27. 27. SCHOOL LIBRARIES DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE: THE EVIDENCE School Libraries help students with understanding and using information • Know how to use different sources and formats of information • Identify the main ideas in information • Become more skilled at information analysis and synthesis • Write ideas in own words • Learn from successes and failures with researching topics • Understand that research takes time, effort and practice • More interested and motivated in learning
  28. 28. SCHOOL LIBRARIES DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE: THE EVIDENCE School Libraries help students build new understandings: knowledge outcomes • Remember content of classes • Build background and specific detail of topics • Sort out confusions about ideas • Clarify things not understood • Work out if ideas are right or wrong • Work out own opinions, positions on issues • Make connections between ideas • More actively discuss viewpoints in class discussions: being informed, able to contribute
  29. 29. SCHOOL LIBRARIES DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE: THE EVIDENCE School Libraries help students improve their technology skills • Do school work better through technology • Have greater interest in information technology • Locate information inside and away from library • Search the Internet better • Think more carefully about information on the Internet • Use technology tools better to produce assignments • Are more confident with using computers to do research
  30. 30. SCHOOL LIBRARIES DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE: THE EVIDENCE School Libraries help students with their learning out of school • Learn about interesting topics other than school work • Study more effectively at home • More organized with study and homework • Become a better problem solver • Help with personal problems • Understand the importance of getting accurate information in making decisions
  31. 31. SCHOOL LIBRARIES DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE: THE EVIDENCE School Libraries help students with their reading • Read more • Find authors they like to read about • Become a better reader • Enjoy reading more • Discover new interests • Become a better writer • Show improved comprehension, vocabulary development and language skills
  32. 32. The reality Survey of Principals, USA June 2002 • 80% of principals believe that the school library and teacher-librarian play a key role in the school • 99% of principals believe that despite the growth of the Internet, school libraries will remain important in the school • 97% of principals believe that the school library plays a positive role in the overall value of the school • 94% of principals believe that there is a direct correlation between the strength and effectiveness of the school library and an increase in student achievement
  33. 33. The reality • 76% of principals identified that their teacher-librarian worked with classroom teachers as needed; • 50% of principals saw their teacher-librarians working in the classroom • 50% of principals saw the role of the teacher-librarian to be that of “caretaker” of the library • 33% of principals said that the teacher-librarian made them familiar with current research of library programs and student achievement • 35% of principals were made familiar with current research on library programs and reading development
  34. 34. Teachers’ perspectives of collaboratively working with the Teacher-Librarian Research shows • Time saved in preparation and delivery • Facilitates handling large groups while allowing students to work at own level of ability, and being responsive to individual needs • More effective sequencing of subject content • Move away from “spoon feeding” approach • Energizing, making them “feel good” as a teacher • More meaningful assessment criteria and feedback, based on learning process as well as content outcomes • Seeing students engaged in learning was highly motivational
  35. 35. SCHOOL LIBRARIES DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE: THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN BY CHANCE • Teacher-Librarian as Educator • Teacher-Librarian as Information Specialist • Teacher-Librarian as Team Collaborator • Focus on student learning outcomes • Information literacy instruction for knowledge building: knowledge, not information • Focus on reading enrichment • Adequate resources and technology
  36. 36. Using Information Technology: Some Research Evidence
  37. 37. WWW Research tells us • High levels of insecurity and uncertainty in searching • High levels of information overload • Inability to manage and reduce large volumes of information • Formulating ineffective search queries • Lack of in-depth examination of sites • Simplistic searches based on guesswork • High expectation of technology to make up for weaknesses • Searching is haphazard, not planned • Absence of critical and evaluative skills: not questioning the accuracy or authority of information • Inappropriately favouring visual cues • Information management difficulties
  38. 38. “If we always see as we've always seen, We'll always be as we've always been, We’ll always do as we've always done, We’ll always have what we’ve always had And we’ll always get what we’ve always got” (Author unknown)
  39. 39. Building the Preferred Future CONNECTIONS: Intellectual / information scaffolds for learning: information literacy and information technology OUTCOMES: Making a real difference to student learning EVIDENCE: Charting the outcomes; demonstrating the role and power of the school library
  40. 40. INFORMATION LITERACY The intellectual scaffolds for effective engagement and utilisation of information in all its forms (electronic, print, popular culture) and for constructing sense, understanding and new knowledge”
  41. 41. How do students develop intellectual scaffolds? • Mysteriously: someone else has taught them • Vicariously: by sitting at a computer terminal • Serendipitously: by just doing assignments through haphazard information seeking • Slavery: getting someone else eg parents • Systematically and explicitly: embedding learning scaffolds into teaching process
  42. 42. Evidence-Based Practice (EBP)
  43. 43. Preferred Future: Evidence-Based Practice 1. School libraries and teacher-librarians focus on learning outcomes 2. Gather meaningful and systematic evidence on dimensions of teaching and learning that matter to the school and its support community SHOW THAT SCHOOL LIBRARIES MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO STUDENT LEARNING
  44. 44. Evidence-Based Practice for School Librarians Gathering evidence in YOUR local school “What differences do my school library and its learning initiatives make to student learning outcomes? “What are the differences, the tangible learning outcomes and learning benefits of my school library”?
  45. 45. Evidence-Based Practice is about celebrating the understood, not the found
  46. 46. Celebrating the Found • Number of classes in the library • Number of library items borrowed • Number of students using the library at lunch times • Number of items purchased annually • Number of web searches • Number of books lost • Students suffering from PFS and LHC
  47. 47. Celebrating the Understood Understanding how school libraries help students learn: Learning outcomes in terms of – Information processes – Information technology – Reading – Knowledge outcomes – mastery of content – Independent learning – Attitudes and values of information, learning – Self concept and personal agency
  48. 48. Benefits of EBP • Provides evidence at local school level that library program makes a difference to learning outcomes • Basis for targeting time, energies and scarce resources • Helps you not to do things that do not work or that do not matter • Reflective, iterative process of informing instructional process: it informs, not misleads or detracts from day- to-day practice • Job satisfaction and confidence in the central role that library plays in the school • Moves beyond anecdotal, guess work, hunches, and advocacy
  49. 49. Alternatives to Evidence • Beating around the bush • Jumping to conclusions • Throwing my weight around • Dragging my heals • Pushing my luck • Making mountains out of molehills • Bending over backwards • Jumping on the bandwagon • Running around in circles • Mouthing on • Pulling out the stops • Adding fuel to the fire • Going over the edge • Picking up the pieces
  50. 50. Creating a preferred future: Need to focus on: • Engagement with information for human understanding and the growth of personal knowledge • Conceptualising library: Information place  knowledge space • Action and evidence-based, learning- centered practice • From finding / locating to meaning making
  51. 51. Your School Library? How can your school library show that it: – Is a knowledge space? – Is a center for learning activism? – Actively contributes to the school as a thinking community? – Shows that it makes a difference to student learning?
  53. 53. BREAKING THE CYCLE – Moving from a VICTIM mindset: No one is going to rescue you, but you! – SEEING is BELIEVING: what does your school see you doing? Educator? Manager? Curator? Book Stamper? Dragon at the Door? Shusher? – From LIABILITY to LIBERATION: Making issues more invisible (censorship, copyright, plagiarism, rules, regulations, resourcing, technology, staffing needs) and learning outcomes more visible
  54. 54. Moving Forward INFLUENCE IS DERIVED FROM THE PERCEPTIONS OF OTHERS KEY IS SHAPING THE PERCEPTIONS OF OTHER PEOPLE • Think differently • Power and Influence help define self esteem (action, evidence, outcomes) • Think outside the box to change inside the box • Understand the school as a bureaucracy of inter- locking dependencies • Map your relationships, identify dependents, demonstrate mutual support • Work with what you can change • Work smarter, not harder • Get to love your Principal’s secretary PersonalPersonal ProfessionalProfessional InfluenceInfluence
  55. 55. Revolting Librarians • Rascal attitude: creative, collaborative naughtiness to show library learning is fun, and motivate others to be part of it • Library as a center for learning activism • Dance the knowledge waltz not the information two- step • Inquiry-based learning, not information literacy or information skills, is the educative platform • Empowerment Model rather than a Deficiency Model of Information Literacy • What language do you speak? Deweydecilibrobabble or a cross-curricular learning dialect? (Voices) • Is your library an open invitation for mystery, intrigue, discovery – where accidental discovery, as well as planned discovery, is highly likely?
  56. 56. Björk “New Worlds” in “Selmasongs” album “If living is seeing I’m holding my breath In wonder – I wonder What happens next? A new world, a new day to see”