Assessment 3 : The Role of the Teacher Librarian with Regard to Constructivist Learning and the Australian Curriculum

The Teacher Librarian (TL) has an essential role in teaching the Australian Curriculum.There are many opportunities to integrate constructivist learning and to embed information literacy (IL) within the curriculum. There are also a number of challenges, not least of which is that (IL) is not included as a separate subject or learning area (Lupton, 2012). The Australian Curriculum is broad-ranging with the inclusion of Learning Areas, General Capabilities, Cross-Curriculum Priorities, Student Diversity, and for senior secondary students, specific subjects (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2008). The implications for the TL are a great deal of work and many opportunities for collaboration. The fact that the curriculum is to be implemented in stages makes the job of the TL easier.

In the Australian Curriculum the TL has the opportunity to collaborate with teachers and to become involved in programming and assessment. The TL can help ensure programs are based on authentic questions or problems and follow an inquiry based framework. IL skills and knowledge will be taught so students can form new knowledge and connect it to existing knowledge (Todd, 2001). Formative assessment can become an integral part of teaching and learning as the TL and teachers work together to help students learn most effectively (Gordon, 2009). A number of factors need to come together for this to occur. TLs need to be sensitive to the concerns of the classroom teacher and gain trust by demonstrating the value they can add. This may need to be achieved gradually, depending on the school and the level of support offered by the principal.

There are obvious opportunities for TL involvement in the area of General Capabilities. The classroom teacher will be mostly focussed on the content of a particular subject or learning area while the TL can ensure the General Capabilities are covered during project based learning (PBL) (Combes, 2013). Here the TL can take the opportunity to support the students’ development of IL skills so they can locate and use information to construct new knowledge. Likewise student diversity can be addressed through a constructivist approach. As the value the TL can add becomes more evident across the school, models such as Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process (ISP), with its ‘Zones of Intervention’ will ensure students receive support at the point of need (Kuhlthau, 2012). Depending on the school, it may be the TL’s responsibility to  introduce different models and teach these to the teachers. Again, the level of principal support will influence the outcome.

Variance in subject areas with regard to IL has been noted by Mandy Lupton (Lupton, 2012). Lupton looks at science, history and geography, pointing out discrepancies in inclusion and expectations concerning IL. Lupton sees a responsibility for the TL in sequencing and developing consistency among subjects. This does seem to be a valid point and achievable with whole school cooperation. If the TL can establish a cohesive framework for IL learning then students will be better able to develop their skills and construct their own knowledge.

The TL needs to have a working knowledge of Web 2.0 tools to make learning engaging and relevant (Educational Origami, 2013). Bloom’s DigitalTaxonomy can be introduced to staff who are not already familiar with it, as it explains how various tools and technologies can enhance learning ( Educational Origami, 2013). The TL must be prepared to take a leadership role.

References

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2008). The Australian curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au

Combes, B. (2013, October 21). Transcript of online discussion. ETL 501 Assignment 2. Retrieved from interact.csu.edu.au

Educational Origami. (2013). Blooms digital taxonomyRetrieved from edorigami.wikispaces.com

Educational Origami. (2013). WEB 2.0 tools. Retrieved from edorigami.wikispaces.com

Gordon, C.A. (2009). An emerging theory for evidence-based information literacy instruction in school libraries, Part 2: Building a culture of inquiry. Evidence based library and information practice, 4 (3), 19-45. Retrieved from http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/6449

Kuhlthau, C. (2012). Guided inquiry design: a framework for inquiry in your school. The research behind the design, pp 17-36. Retrieved from primo.unlinc.edu.au

Lupton, M. (2012). Inquiry skills in the Australian Curriculum. Access, 26(2), 12-18. Retrieved from primo.unlinc.edu.au

Todd, R.J. (2012). School libraries and the development of intellectual agency: Evidence from New Jersey. School Library Research, 15, 1-29. Retrieved from primo.unlinc.edu.au

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About cyndiewal

I work part-time as a Teacher Librarian at Freshwater High. I enjoy reading, the beach, learning music and spending time with family and friends.
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