Love of Words

Teacher Librarian study thoughts, comments and the spread of ideas I like!


July 22, 2012 by · No Comments · ETL504 TL as Leader

I had a bit of an ephipany whilst watching afl football last night (for all you victorians, my partner barracks for Collingwood!). Is it the physical pain and extreme exhaustion that motivates them to play? or is it to attain that feeling of winning in a group – i.e. team work? Every few years someone comes out and says the way schools operate favours girls – they like quiet work, often done in isolation, individualistic, whereas boys, well just look around the classroom, playground, pub or even lounge room – men love getting together and having a good old chin-wag! So instead of splitting them up to stop them getting up to mischief, maybe we should be using their natural desire to be in a ‘group’ or team. However, just as other teams are made up of different types of members, so should our team be created using different types of personalities. e.g. you wouldn’t want to put all the boys together who display leadership qualities because you’d probably end up with a massive fight! To know your students personalities requires time and effort, but according to Myron Tribus in his article, Quality Management in Education (in The Journal for Quality and Participation 16.1:12), we need to engage students in discussion about the ‘service’ we offer and how it can be made more joyful. If we do this properly, we will develop a good understanding of our students and their motivations. Tribus offers a solution to the old ‘time poor’ teacher, who doesn’t have the time to spend getting to know their students. He reports on one teacher who had “often devoted as much as two weeks to a discussion with his class concerning what it takes for them to have a quality experience. to teachers with conventional experience, this would seem like a terrible waste of time. [However], once the students understand and accept what it means to do quality work, they learn with such speed and effectiveness, that they more than make up for the time spent in defining a quality experience” (p 2, 1993).

CommonSense Media

July 7, 2012 by · No Comments · ETL504 TL as Leader

I have just bought an iMac desktop. Hopefully this will make my studies easier as last semester I was using my android phone, work computer, my friend’s laptop and the local library! Quite a challenge keeping all the resources together. Enjoying just browsing around the web, checking out 2nd life (I need lessons!) and discovering the many educational sites around the world.
Commonsense Media has to be one of the best around for reviewing all sorts of media for parents, educators and students. Heres a link to their ‘Ten Beliefs”

Part C – Reflections on the role of TL

May 21, 2012 by · No Comments · ETL401

Part C
I have always loved libraries and books and believed if you could model that love through enthusiastic, passionate and interesting activities within the library that would filter through to the students. If you can include the students in all aspects of the library: collection development; types of resources and digital devices to purchase; design and creation of learning activities and even the library itself, they would develop a love of words and of learning.
I completed two graduate diplomas ten years ago, one in educational administration and the other in information technology. It was interesting to delve back into educational research and see how it has changed. The philosophy behind constructivism has certainly got stronger; there are a lot more articles about student-centred learning, emotional intelligence and different learning styles. However, there sounds to be only small pockets of these ideas filtering through to the classrooms.
The constructivist approach to education is based on psychological and philosophical views of how knowledge is acquired and used by people. Within the school environment, it requires a re-thinking of all aspects of teaching and learning. Teacher-librarians are in a unique position to lead the way for other areas of the school because the library space contains everything they need – technology and a learning environment and they have been given the responsibility by professional librarian organisations, school education authorities and the general research witch shows TL’s make a difference to student learning.
In the March, 2011 edition of Teacher, an article titled 21st Century Learning (no author stated), details an activity in Hermit Park State School, titled ‘Design is your outward demonstration of your philosophy’ (p 13). The article described an authentic learning experience, adaptable to any learning style and grounded in constructivism, as students interact directly with their environment. I would not read this article without studying teacher-librarianship and although one of the most rewarding experiences of my journey of discovery has been the access to an incredible breadth of resources, via the Library and the Internet, I did become over whelmed at various points along the way.
From reading the forums, I was appalled to find that many schools were not taking on the new student-centred learning ideas and that the blame for this not happening seemed to be placed on the principal (My post re: this topic – Thu 03-May-12 01:15 pm, many others e.g. topic 3 forum – TL and the curriculum 13th March to 2nd April). Principals have a lot of influence in the culture of the school and there has been a lot written about how to change the culture of schools (Oberg, 2011, 2007, Hay & Foley, 2009, Lee, 2010 Lorenzo, 2007, Hartzell, 2003) to one of collaboration, rather than individualism; a whole-school approach to the development of information literacy, rather than teaching ‘skills’ in the library once a week and the recognition that libraries can contribute and support student’s learning in all aspects of the curriculum.
Principals obviously cannot do this alone. e.g. in Hay and Todd (2010), in relation to gathering evidence to show the improved outcomes from students using the library, some respondents to their study, School Libraries 21C “appeared to be waiting for barriers to be resolved before evidence could be gathered” and that they ” did not seem to see that evidence begins with their actions” (p13).
I, like others on the forum, was surprised at the possible roles of the teacher librarian set out by Herring (2007) and the de-emphasis on books put forward by some writers (Lee, 2010, Johnson, 2010, Polanka, 2012). (see Forum posts – Topic two – the role of the TL).
The role had certainly expanded since my six months as teacher-librarian in Milingimbi in 1989, but fits more with my views of teaching and learning. The use of technology has forced schools to accept new ways of teaching to fit with new ways of constructing knowledge and to engage students to improve learning.
Regarding information literacy, I experienced a huge feeling of disillusionment when I borrowed Information skills in the school published by New South Wales Department of Education. I requested the book through the library and was surprised at how old it looked when it arrived, as I usually don’t borrow resources later than about 2000. This support document to the Libraries in NSW government schools policy statement 1987 was published in 1989. It spoke of many concepts still being discussed today, “lifelong learning, creative and critical thinking in the information process, recognising that information is needed for personal, cultural, recreational and vocational purposes” (p4). However, after looking at the revised edition, I was happy to see the same things are in there, so NSW Ed Dept. do still value the same educational ideals. Why there are so few examples of best practise in schools is unclear.
References are on the bottom of submitted assignment.

school of the future?

May 2, 2012 by · No Comments · ETL401

Each classroom in the school has a Teaching Assistant (TA). They have known the students since birth. They plan their term and daily classes collaboratively with the teachers and team teach in the classroom. The school has a ‘consultative group’ made up of parents who meet independently of the teachers and principal, to discuss issues and plan for the future. A part of the school day was given over to community teachers/leaders so teachers and students could learn about the local environment and culture together. When an important event happens in the community, the school closes for the day and the whole community becomes involved in the event. Is this a school of the future you may be asking?
Actually, it is from the past. I’m not sure how the school currently functions, but this is how it was in 1989, in Arnhem Land, NT. I’d like to be able to say that student’s learning increased from these methods, but unfortunately, I cannot. Other factors were at work, very complex and difficult to address, such as English being the 2nd or 3rd language spoken in the community, the impact of religion, the cultural gulfs in the world views, the isolation, etc. The ideas were innovative though and there is no reason they can’t be applied to public schools.
More parental involvement is crucial to improve student outcomes. A friend at work says she only gets 5 minutes for parent teacher interviews and she’s talking about a private school!

“too cool for school”

April 22, 2012 by · No Comments · ETL401

The headline on an editorial, advertising a youth event with “no parents, no teachers – its just teens and art”. The article goes on to say that the organiser “hopes teenagers will find their voice within the museum, rather than having Art imposed on them” Best Weekend, Daily Telegraph, April 21 2012.
Is this the image school and teachers have in the community or is it just an advertising ploy?
Learning cannot be imposed, but I suppose education can be imposed in the form of indoctrination.
If we don’t give students more say on how they learn and what they learn, they will look to environments outside school to do their learning.

the front line!

March 19, 2012 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

Hi there, I’ve been reading an amazing book called “from Fear to Facebook – one school’s journey” by Matt levinson. the school is in the middle of silicon valley with many students’ parents working at Apple, Google, Oracle, etc., so you can imagine the level of technology take-up amongst the students. they introduced a 0ne-to-one laptop program and the book outlines and details the problems they expereinced and how they over-came them.
I must share one u-tube link matt provides – its fantastic and scary (especially for teachers). it opens doors I didn’t even know existed!

study anxiety

March 2, 2012 by · No Comments · ETL401

I’ve noticed on the forums that many students are nervous about studying. Its great to walk in our students shoes for a while isn’t it? I reckon it will make us more empathic to our students and hopefully better teachers!

interesting blog by non-teacher

March 1, 2012 by · No Comments · ETL401

There is so much ‘stuff’ on the internet, it gets confusing for adults who been using it for years!   Exploring the idea that we teach from the known to the unknown – how do we know how much our students do understand about the Net?  You have to ask the right questions, right?  but what if you don’t know which ones to ask?

this blog link is very interesting – the general public is talking about ‘the future of education’, are the educationalists?

first post!

February 29, 2012 by · No Comments · ETL401

Hi, so i called my blog word-lover cos that’s what i am!  we really should get past categorising – the world is changing too rapidly to stay in the 1800′s!  Words are words, not just books, journals, magazines, blogs, chat-rooms or anything else which contains words!  When my son was in early secondary college (year 2000), he had a journal which the parent was supposed to write in and say what books he had been reading.  At the time, he was heavily into chat-rooms, having just discovered them.  Unfortunately, his teacher couldn’t accept reading words in a chat-room was the same as reading a book. 

Oh how times have changed!  when I was doing my degree (84-86), we were still hand writing our essays, now we ‘post’ (funny old-fashioned word) them onto the WWW!  Perhaps a virtual school/uni isn’t so far off?

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February 28, 2012 by · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

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