TL Ponderings

Critical Synthesis

Posted in Uncategorized by sarahcook3 on May 28, 2010

In rereading my initial ponderings as a TL, I find that what I thought was a busy job is really only a part of it. The standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians have opened my eyes.

After reading the Haycock article on resource based learning (RBL) I wondered at how education, like fashion, often resurfaces years down the track. Our school is changing to open/agile learning spaces (which i believe they tried in the 70’s but reverted back when it didn’t work), the difference i think this time is the training that is being offered to support the teachers in the move. The same can be said about RBL.

With collaboration, not cooperation, the TL can educated the class teacher as to the value of RBL to improve student outcomes by providing intrinsic motivation for the student resulting in higher order thinking and deep knowledge creation (QTF).  I have come to realize that we are teachers first with specialist library based skills. At the beginning of this subject I saw the role more as equal. Not anymore. The library is not about the resources it’s about giving the student the tools and skills needed to become an independent, lifelong learner.

I loved the Herring (2007) article on the role of the TL and felt that it portrayed TL’s as essential to providing ‘learning opportunities’ that are challenging for the student, beyond any other role we have, this subject has made me reprioritise my approach to being a TL – improving student outcomes is what it is all about.  While the Haycock article describing the crisis in Canada introduced the concept of gathering evidence of the impact the TL can have, Todd (2007) reinforced this role to the extent that I have begun surveying several classes on their learning experiences with the view to eventually (when time and priority permit) measuring the impact of information literacy on student learning outcomes.

I have been forced to ask myself have I been promoting information literacy through RBL throughout my school?  In reality, have I been doing my job as a TL as recommended by the standards? Still ringing in my ears is the phrase “the standards are something to aspire to”. The examination of various information literacy models served to improve my overall knowledge within this field. There are posters around the school of the NSW information skills process that I referred to regularly with primary classes to varying degrees of success. I now realize that not one model fits all. I want to introduce the students to various models and have them determine which steps and language suit them, much like we do with graphic organizers. I am still pondering how this will become a reality. Teach the basics and encourage the students to use what suits them. Expert instruction and student evaluation at the end of the project (the final step in most models), the development of an information literate school community, a stronger focus on project based learning using the QTF and RBL will give more opportunities for using information literacy models. Small steps with targeted ‘friends of the library’ class teachers (read teachers I already have a working collaboration with, open to change).

I will continue to gain principal support in implementing a true information literate school community and established reciprocal collaboration with the class teachers by continuing with shared leadership opportunities that focus on implementing change (Crotty, 2010). Along with continuing to promote literacy, increasing the online resources available to the students and maintaining a user centred library space – my days will be kept full.

It has been a tremendous ‘eye-opener’ to read the forums and make more time for the Australian Teacher Librarian Network (OZTL_NET). Using both of these discussion facilitators has helped clarify the role of the TL for me particularly in reference to the Gillard inquiry on OZTL_NET and the discussion surrounding principal support, collaboration and the curriculum of module 3. What I have learnt is that I must promote my work and my role as a TL, I must be proactive and be seen as such. The wealth of experience and sharing of valuable, refereed resources has certainly made my job easier.

Finally I will look to the TL standards at regular intervals in my year and determine to continue striving to be the best TL I can be. Although I knew of the standards prior to starting this course, I saw them as daunting and unrealistic, I don’t anymore.


Australian School Library Association [ASLA] & Australian Library and Information Association [ALIA]. (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Canberra: ASLA.

Crotty, R. (2010) RE: [Module 1 – Sheridan Oborn] Question Roy- colloboration. Message posted to ETL401 Module 1 forum.

Haycock, C.A. (1991). Resource-based learning: A Shift in the roles of teacher, learner. NASSP Bulletin, 75(535), 15-22.

Haycock, K. (2003) The Crisis in Canada’s school libraries: The Case for reform and re-investment. Toronto: Association of Canadian Publishers.

Todd, R.J. (2007) Evidence-based practice and school libraries. In S. Hughes-Hassall & V.H. Harada (Eds.). School reform and the school library media specialist (pp. 57-58). Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited


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