My teacher-librarian (TL) learning journey started with me deliberately and defiantly staying exactly where I was! In starting this course I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of information I was processing from the readings, and trying to cope with running the library at my school for the first time ever, that I concluded that the primary and over arching role of the TL was that of a teacher.
I now know, through a Kuhlthau reading that I was doing what George Kelly called “forming new constructs and reconstructing old ones” (Kuhlthau, 2004, p. 17). Having been a classroom teacher for over twenty years I needed to keep the pattern or frame of reference of what I knew when confronted with new experiences. I felt that teaching students and staff, contributing to student outcomes and making a difference in the way teaches taught and students learnt was the role that a TL was expected to play. Ideas and thoughts firmly rooted in my classroom teacher perspective.
Contributing to the Topic 3 Forum on “TL and the Curriculum” I was beginning to look at a bigger picture view of what the TL offered to the staff and students in a school. From planning with staff across the school and for various stage groups of students, through sharing expertise and knowledge of the curriculum K-6, to what I, as the TL, would add to the planning, I was beginning to see that the TL role encompassed more specialized knowledge and skills particularly in the are of information specialist.
The Kuhlthau reading from Module 4: Information Literacy really grabbed my attention, and impacted on my understanding of the role of the TL as information specialist (Kuhlthau, 2004). I had positioned myself in my “What sort of library?” post as aiming for an active, learner-centered library. This reading walked me through constructivist theory, which gave me confidence and background information about learning.
The exploration of information literacy and the various models, processes and definitions opened my eyes to the ways in which the TL worked with information to develop the skills and competencies in students so that learning could take place. The TL role in providing multiple perspectives, formats and types of information to both students and staff was also made clear and reflected on in my Information Literacy and The Constructive Process posts
Reading the AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner document really tied up all of the aspects of the TL role neatly for me. In the Topic 4 Forum I shared how this document really positioned the learner at the centre of their learning and demonstrated how learners needed to be very proactive in their own learning.
This document also brought home to me the importance of ethical and moral use of information. Once again it was a case of a reading tying up my ideas neatly, and then enlarging or expanding my thinking and knowledge. The linking of information literacy and technology was made in a Forum 4 posting and I began thinking of how my role of TL was about “enabling [students] to make informed and positive choices in the future, [so that] we are doing what we can to ensure that whatever technologies come our way we and our students have the skills and knowledge to work with them.”
Over the ETL401 course, my knowledge and understandings about the role of the TL have grown and developed along side my knowledge and understandings of the power and pervasiveness of information. Although I am in no way ready to call myself an information specialist, I can see that this is one area that a TL must have deep knowledge and understanding in. In this information age it is necessary to ensure that all students have the skills, strategies and mindsets to be able to critically, competently and confidently navigate with information to make informed decisions. This is one of the most important roles of the TL and the one that has made the most impact on me over the semester.
Kuhlthau, C.C. (2004). Learning as a process, in Seeking meaning: A process approach to library and information services, Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.