Sunday, 2 October 2011

Part C Critical Synthesis of My Reflective Journey

Part C
Critical synthesis  of my reflective journey
The course and the forums have highlighted many of the thoughts, plans and ides that are now part of my working life. I was very naive in my understanding of the role prior to ETL401.
1.      Addressing the TL role from library (books in books out) orientation to one addressing the core business of the school – quality teaching and learning outcomes (Henri, 2005a; Herring, 2007; Morris, 2009; An active engaged relationship based on mutual respect for the  Principal as vital to changing perceptions of the role of the library and the TL (Hartzell, 2002; Morris, 2004 and Morris & Packard, 2007) The complex (I must write myself a revised job description (Policy and Procedure Document)  of the teacher-librarian role has simplified in my mind the various hats the teacher-librarian role encompasses that of teacher, librarian and teacher-librarian. The role is an integral part of the working within a school involving all aspects related to learning.
2.      While it is discussed that the TL Topic 5 Forum needs to become an Information leader and specialist (within the 21st Century learner framework – see Coombes, 2008); a teaching partner; and a curriculum leader within a collaborative culture (Brown, 2004; Farmer, 2007). In reading the forum postings, this still is not a strong point for me as in my workplace environment as all our staff are expected to have the same level of expertise and Smart Boards and various other IT specialties are in every learning area.  While I relaise that IT is more than this I still remain unsure of the total relevance being given the amount of attention it has in relation to the TL role.   My role as TL is showing my advocacy for connecting with the curriculum (RBL – [Spence, 2006] and CCPT – Gibbs, 2003; Todd, 2008); and collaborating with teachers and a changing role with students.
3.      The emergence of acceptance that we can share a learning partnership with Inquiry based and Guided Inquiry  by inspiring students to search deeper for more relevant content. Professor Ross Todd's guided inquiry (Todd, 2010). Is more meaningful  now as I understand that the role of the teacher-librarian is fundamental to facilitate learning of students   (Stanley July 30 2011 Forum)
4.       Re-focusing the mission of the library in congruence with school policy. Also increased impetus to review the role statements and policies (LFTF, ASLA, 2001; Morris, 2009, Assignment 1).
5.      Reinforcing good teaching strategies in assisting students with inquiry. I now will take on these opportunities and advocate (and model) them on the basis of ‘just in time’ learning while embracing and employing Kuhlthau’s Zone’s of Intervention (Kuhlthau, 2004).
6.      Recognizing the importance of leadership and the value of relationships and results (Covey, 1989). I see the need to prioritize tasks, develop increasing expertise in leadership and management and ensure the transition to a 21st Century Library.
7.      Remembering change takes time and the need to implement Covey’s paradigms (1989) and Drucker’s leadership principles (1999). Management of self and systematic transformational leadership enables the team to take hold of new library, and information services management opportunities. Focusing on communication, collaboration and team building strengthens the vision of what can be done when collaboration is integral in planning together (Grassian & Kaplowitz, 2005) (Stanley August 28th, 2011 Forum) saw me having a greater understanding now of the complexity of the subject. It is not enough to be a provider of quality resources but involvement  in development of ‘instruction-focused’ collaborative partnerships. I I now know, that to facilitate students toward improved learning outcomes (particularly focused on increasing their competencies in multiliteracies), it is vital for me to be involved in collaborative professional partnerships.
8.      The challenge for a teacher librarian passionate about bringing change to student learning outcomes is to be guided, but not overwhelmed, by the diverse array of tasks. Prioritization becomes a partner in reflective practice and what evolves is my increased commitment to the undertaking of my own ‘action research’ in relation to the development of the role in my school community (See Langford, 1999; 2003).
9.      Developing my understanding of information literacy theories and practices has certainly been the highlight of my journey through ETL 401. Although I had some basic knowledge of information literacy prior to this subject, I had never been exposed to the models and their theoretical backgrounds or the teacher librarian’s role in developing information literate students(Stanley July 11, 2011).
10.  The Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians (Australian School Library Association & Australian Library and Information Association, 2004) clearly indicate the goals to which we should aspire. This subject has given me the opportunity to develop and enhance my professional knowledge and my role as teacher librarian within my school is giving me the opportunity to aspire to professional practice and commitment.
11.  I have learnt the importance of collaboration between teachers and the teacher-librarian. In particular, the relationship between creating meaningful tasks and the assessment of student outcomes. This allows for the library to become central in improving student outcomes (Stanley August 19, 2011) (Stanley September 14, 2011).

My concluding comments are that as a TL I have seen personal growth in my appraoch to all matters pertaining to the role.  Refelction is always an essential part  of any undertaking that we are involved in.  This becomes particularly important in the role of Teacher/Librarian in our own practice and that of students and other teaching staff  that we are collaboratively engaged in learning.

·         Australian School Library Association and Australian Library and Information Association. (2001). Learning for the Future: Developing information skills in schools. Carlton South, Victoria: Curriculum Corporation.
·         Australian School Library Association and Australian Library and Information Association. (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians.Canberra: ASLA.
·         Brown, C. (2004). America’s most wanted: Teachers who collaborate. Teacher Librarian, 32(1), 13-18.
·         Coombes, B. (2008) Challenges for teacher librarianship in the 21st century: Part 2 – Time and workload. Connections 67. Retrieved March 14, 2009, from
·         Covey, S.R. (1989). The seven habits of highly effective people: Restoring the character ethic. New York: Simon and Schuster.
·         Drucker, P.F. (1999). The new commandments of change, Inc. Magazine, available at
·         Farmer, L. (2007). Principals: Catalysts for collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 56 – 65.
·         Grassian, E.S. & Kaplowitz, J.R. (2005). Learning to Lead and Manage Information Literacy Instruction. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.
·         Hartzell, G. (2002) Why should principals support school libraries? ERIC Digest, November (EDO-IR-2002-06).
·         Henri, J (1999). The Information Literate School Community: Not just a Pretty Face, In J.Henri & K. Bonanno. (Eds.), The information literate school community: Best Practice. (pp. 1 – 10). Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies for Teacher Librarianship, Charles Sturt University.
·         Henri, J. (2005a). Understanding the information literate school Community, In The Information literate school community 2, J Henri and M Asselin (eds.) (pp. 135 – 145), Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Australia.
·         Henri, J. (2005b). What is an information literate school community and what are the implications for teacher librarians?, Retrieved on 27 March, 2009.
·         Herring, J.E. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson(Ed.), Libraries in the twenty-first century: Charting new directions for information services. Wagga Wagga, N.S.W.:Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.
·         Johnson, D. (2002). The Seen Most Critical Challenges Facing Our Profession.Teacher Librarian, 29(5), 21 – 24.
·         Kuhlthau, C.C. (2004). Seeking meaning: a process approach to Library and Information Services. Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited.Langford, L. (1999). Change Begins with You: Creating an Information Literate Supernova, In J.Henri & K. Bonanno. (Eds.), The information literate school community: Best Practice. (pp. 293 – 306). Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies for Teacher Librarianship, Charles Sturt University.

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