In terms of school librarianship, the time spent with Ross Todd of CISSL was invaluable. He's an iconoclastic pixie in adult form -- terribly knowledgeable and 'naughty' -- effectively campaigning for guided inquiry and evidence-based practice (proving that you're actually adding to the learning process) rather than the drum-beating and public worship of information literacy as the focus of the Information-Learning Specialist (aka the school librarian):
--- Step out of libraryland! -- Step out of information literacy land! -- It's not about finding stuff anymore! -- Get over it! -- That annual library tour and all that Dewey babble are just a waste of time! -- Get off that information literacy pedestal! -- Get over it!
-- What we want is the discovery of knowledge, not the discovery of resources -- knowledge construction, not product construction
-- I see appalling things going on - with little learning as the outcome
-- Guided inquiry is back-door Information Literacy
-- Guided inquiry is a staged process and mediation is where you come in
-- Intervention is about identifying what the kids need and figuring out how to get them to the next stage
-- Kids are being abandoned (usually in the name of 'independent research') at the most critical stage - when they're ready to interrogate all the 'stuff' they've found
-- Knowledge in - or via - conflict is what's really important
-- We need to confront kids with alternative perspectives and conflicting ideas -- and help them grapple with evidence, arguments and judgements
-- It's about getting the kids to develop personal positions
-- Think outside the information literacy box -- Think about what intellectual scaffolds you can provide
-- Don't make information literacy standards or library skills separate from curriculum standards! Information literacy is a secondary, derived standard -- You need to look at the curriculum standards THROUGH the information literacy lens.
-- Documenting your sources (i.e., teaching bibliographic citation skills) is part of the knowledge experience -- it shouldn't be a library lesson!
-- Highlight your rubrics on your school library webpage - not your library rules!
-- Avoid PFS ("petty fine syndrome") and LHC ("loans harrassment complex")!
-- Keep asking yourself: "Did they learn anything?"
But it was Ross's excitement over doing research that made the biggest impression. I started thinking about mini research projects of my own in my new job come August, e.g., establishing baseline surveys of kids' knowledge and levels of multi-literacies in order to track just what added value a teacher librarian can provide (especially as the school doesn't have one at the moment) and the positive difference created by collaboration...
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