Bec in the library

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges

The ‘polished’ Part C May 22, 2011

As I write this synthesis, I am experiencing one of the most powerful emotional responses in my personal learning journey to date: one of such complete frustration and annoyance that I find it extremely difficult to analyse where I have come from and where I want and need to go from here.

Each week during this semester gave me impetus to try new things, ask questions, shift my centre of understanding and balance further towards a more wholistic and complete view of how I could be a positive, empowering, exciting TL.

However, my learning has been completely recursive; each time I make a leap forward in understanding, an a’ha! moment, it leads me down a path of negativity before pushing through onto the the next exciting discovery and possibility by posting on, or reading the forums or using the blog as a sounding board.

After receiving cognitive coaching (Costa & Garmston, 1999) from a colleague, I am finally able to order my thoughts into coherency, based around my a’ha! moments.

A’ha! moment #1

The concept of libraries for a post literate society kick-started my journey in a way I never expected. The reading came from a different CSU M.ETL subject but served to highlight the educational landscape I was about to enter as a TL.

A’ha! moment #2

The whole of 401 Topic 2! Purcell’s (2010) summary of our role scared, excited and empowered me. Up until this point, my initial impressions, admittedly, were centred around relief and excitement at being part of teaching and learning whilst never having to write another report. These complacent ideas were soon squashed as I began to read and understand the vast nature of the TL role. I began to feel extremely disheartened. My sense of injustice of how a TL was supposed to be everything to everyone was overpowering. I was also completely flabbergasted that teachers didn’t know how to best utilise the knowledge and expertise of our TL. This taught me a very important lesson in advocacy that has burned its place into my professional soul – if a TL wants to support, extend and complement the curriculum, don’t expect anyone else to know that you can do it!

Lamb & Johnson’s (2008) focus on teaching and learning and how it is what separates us from the clerical staff was exciting. However, the depth of knowledge about information and technological literacy needed for this job floored me. This showed my total and utter misunderstanding of what the role of TL actually is. As I explored the notion of information literacy further, I moved from a place of certainty and excitement to frustration.

A’ha! moment #3

Valenza’s (2010) manifesto and vodcast – the passion and the power! Her monologue about the possibilities of quality information literacy instruction, especially that which incorporated web 2.0 tools, was incredibly appealing. Even though I didn’t blog about this point of my learning journey, I felt energised and ready to take our well resourced but decidedly 20th century library steaming into the 21st century. I immediately started several projects utlising Valenza’s ideas and saw positive results from the beginning.

A’ha! moment #4

As someone who always wants to be in the thick of every decision, activity, meeting and experience, being involved in the process of benchmarking IL in our school was pivotal to my learning. I was in turns shocked, thrilled and disappointed in the journey being undertaken. It was such a massive project and one that could so easily get lost and shelved, as it actually did previously. As the process continued, and the roadblocks become more apparent, I realised what an uphill battle TLs face when stressing the importance of IL  – the absolute core of what we do and who we are. I felt distressed and completely deflated.

I saw the desperate need to put into practice the rhetoric but the reality is so far from that I lost hope.

However, through the process of writing this synthesis, I am beginning to look forward with positivity and hope. There are people in my school who care passionately about the pivotal role of the TL and they are in the positions of power to make it a reality. It will just be a slow and steady race, one that would involve all stakeholders, one that will be mandated by the administration.

I never claim to have all the answers or to be the one with the necessary experience or knowledge but what I do have is the passion, the enthusiasm, the time and the willingness to fight for what I believe is important in 21st century education. I am not burnt by repeated “no’s” from the administration, I embrace the challenge of collaboration. I will be responsible for advocacy through informed learning.

 

THIS is why a decision can’t be made… May 16, 2011

Well, today was a mindf**k.

I have found out why someone can’t make a bloody decision (reference to an earlier post): there’s so many people involved, with all their experience and knowledge and opinions, it’s impossible!!

I spent the morning observing the educational technology team (TLs and ICT integrators across the 3 schools) attempt to benchmark information and digital literacy standards vertically across the school.

OH MY F-ING GOD.

The process was sound: only bringing in the immediate stakeholders, having an impartial and skilled mediator who didn’t have particular ownership over any department (curriculum coordinator), clearly defined criteria, models and examples from across the world to draw from so as to not reinvent the wheel, time for small group work/individual reflection and digestion, plenty of water, food and breaks, jigsawing, paraphrasing, brainstorming.

But OH CHRIST ALMIGHTY it took FOREVER! I left after a couple of hours as it was making me even more confused than I already was plus I have the kind of personality that NEEDS to be involved in every discussion and not saying anything after a few hours was killing me 🙂

I didn’t feel comfortable putting forward any of my ideas, thoughts or suggestions as I don’t yet feel confident that these ideas, thoughts and suggestions actually make sense or would drive the discussion anywhere worthwhile.

I certainly learnt a HUGE amount by listening to these incredibly knowledgeable and passionate educators. I saw how much work it takes to make a document that is coherent and worthwhile, something that can be and WILL be useful and USED.

The mediator also happens to be a close friend so she let me ask some great questions about the process and the obstacles she feels the group are facing, and have faced in the past when this was first done a few years back. (Not as part of the whole group of course, just as a side conversation while the others were focused on the task at hand.) This was really important for me as this topic is my Part B for assignment 2: getting a whole school commitment to IL.

Her take on it was that there is a really, really fine line between people’s passion for seeing  IL implemented and their total and unwavering ownership over it which makes other people feel that the teaching of IL isn’t best practice, it’s a personal band wagon so they tune out and give up. She said that the reason the last attempt at IL failed was because the drivers behind it left the school and as it was such a personal ‘mission’, people felt a sense of relief that the people were gone and they didn’t have to teach it/implement it anymore.

OK, call me impatient, naive, arrogant, whatever, but I find that incredibly stupid and ignorant. Why does it matter who drives it and that they make it their personal mission to get it up and running? Doesn’t that mean it gets DONE? If no one makes it happen, it just sits there and all that work was for nothing! (Which is EXACTLY what has happened.)

I need to ask my friend more about this. I’m deeply confused and conflicted.

It does, however, completely explain why the EC3-Grade 5 literacy standards and benchmarks that myself and my language committee wrote over the course of two years were chucked out the door the minute I left the school…

 

 
loving the learning

continuing tales of a teacher librarian

PE to TL - The Journey Begins!

Reflections and thoughts on ETL401.

ETL507 PROFESSIONAL REFLECTIVE PORTFOLIO

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