Friday, March 6, 2009

I have had a chat to the Teacher Librarian at the local school and am starting to see the job from the inside, rather than the outside looking in. I have not spent enough time in the library to have a complete picture, but here are some of my initial impressions.
The school takes a very structured approach to the units of work that are taught. Every class in each year follows the same program of study, year in, year out. Younger siblings end up doing exactly the same projects that their older siblings did a year or two or three before! I imagine that means that teacher's planning of teaching/learning activities is reduced.
The school librarian has put together plastic tubs containing teacher resources for each topic on the program. Teachers simply grab the whole tub and take it to the classroom when they need it. These tubs do not contain any student resources eg: books from the student collection. The librarian refuses to send all the books to the classroom. She wants them to be on the shelf when students come into the library looking for them. But do they come...???
The school librarian does not engage in any collaborative teaching with classroom teachers. Her weekly library lessons are "Relief from Face-to-Face Teaching" time for the respective classroom teachers. She teaches a program of library and research skills. These are not tied to any of the curriculum areas being taught, but stand alone. She commented to me that the computer teacher does teach computer skills in the context of the curriculum. However, she did not feel that the methods employed taught digital information literacy (she didn't use this term) successfully because any websites used were handpicked by the computer teacher prior to the lesson.
I am still unclear as to whether when the librarian puts together the tubs of teacher resources, there is any communication with the classroom teachers. Does she just get told what the topic is and then choose whatever she likes, or is there some collaboration? I am also not clear of whether the computer teacher communicates with classroom teachers about what online resources and skills should be used when teaching particular topics.
It is clear to me that the teacher librarian takes her job in promoting information literacy among the students very seriously (again, she didn't use this term). But I'm not clear whether print media is seen to be her job, and digital media the computer teacher's job, or whether there is any crossover. And it seems to me that classroom teachers don't do much to promote information literacy (based on my experiences when my children bring home projects from school).
With each visit to the library and each communication with the librarian, I'm sure I will learn more.

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