Students as Researchers: Creating Classrooms that Matter (Teachers Library)

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The purpose of this paper is to make administrators, teachers, teacher-librarians and board members aware of the important and changing role of these professionals in the school. Their mission to provide access to materials in all formats remains the same, but there has been a virtual explosion of materials and resources in the past few years. Not only must they be proficient with the wide range of information available but they also must be able to work with teachers to instill information literacy skills and to promote life-long learning in students.

Why would a teacher-librarian be seen as a change agent to meet the goals of Saskatchewan education?

Teaching Library Skills

If teacher librarians are to act effectively as change agents, what are the challenges that face them and what do they need to do? What do they need to keep in mind? And what do they need to know? Finally, how can teacher-librarians manage change in their own schools?


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It is the purpose of this paper to try to answer these questions and to further explore these issues. Changes Facing Teacher-Librarians Today. This is an era of change brought about by the introduction of informational technologies. Some agents of change are closely interrelated such as economic, employment, technological, and instructional trends. Employment and technology trends likewise, have a serious impact on education and instruction. The economic trends that have brought changes to the role of the teacher-librarian include reduced budgets at a time of increased costs for both resources and personnel.

It is predicted that by the year , ninety percent of all jobs will be computer related and that by the year , twenty percent of the working force will be collecting sixty percent of all the wages Bens, Educators must ask themselves what kinds of skills are needed for students to be prepared for these employment trends. These jobs will require critical thinking, higher order thinking and inquiry skills.

Teaching information literacy skills becomes a high priority. There are many technological trends that impact the job of the teacher-librarian. Educational and instructional trends that have changed the role of the teacher-librarian include initiatives from Saskatchewan Education. The use of resource-based learning materials such as the Internet and CD-ROMS are necessary elements to increase the learning achievement of the student Mendrinos, Resource-based learning is adaptable to individuals, groups or cooperative learning situations.

Resource-base learning integrates both cognitive and physical tools of information literacy within the curriculum. Teacher-librarians are at the forefront of helping teachers use resource-based learning in their classrooms. Another component of the Core Curriculum is the Adaptive Dimension. It is defined as a concept of making adjustments in approved educational programs to accommodate diversity in student learning needs. It includes those practices the teacher undertakes to make curriculum, instruction and the learning environment meaningful and appropriate for each student Saskatchewan Education, The teacher-librarian position would be seen as an important factor in achieving the Adaptive Dimension by assisting teachers in planning a variety of instructional strategies to accommodate individual differences in abilities and learning styles.

It can also alter the manner in which students are required to respond to information. Technology can provide a variety of resources for varying cognitive and language abilities, interests and experiences. Technology has brought many changes to education in the past ten years and technological literacy is listed as one of the goals of the Common Essential Learnings , which is a component of the Core Curriculum. The goals of technological literacy are the following:.

These goals relate to the use of the computer as a tool and to developing positive attitudes and values towards technology. The teacher-librarian is important in helping students develop these skills. Teacher-librarians can also help students to acquire other goals listed as Common Essential Learnings. A teacher-librarian can teach the following goals of Critical and Creative Thinking:. Through the use of technology and resource-based learning, a teacher-librarian can teach the goals for the CEL of Communication.

One of the goals of Communication is to enable students to use language for differing purposes and audiences.

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The CEL that can most strongly be supported by a teacher-librarian is Independent Learning, which lists the following goals:. There are also goals which promote life-long learning, understanding and relating to others, career decisions and growing with changes Sask. Library resources have changed from books and audiovisual resources to resources that include new technologies.

Libraries have automated their book collections and have added computers that students can use to search the catalogue, CD-ROM databases, or the Internet, or to work with presentation and word processing software. Support staff such as library technicians greatly assist the teacher-librarian.

What Is Successful Technology Integration?

The library program itself has undergone transformations. The instructional setting has also changed from the library to the classroom or the computer room. Instruction has gone beyond individual teaching by the teacher-librarian. The teacher-librarian now teaches with teachers and technology coordinators. There has been a change from a teacher requesting a theme and the librarian choosing the books. The teacher and the teacher-librarian now choose themes and resources together. The biggest change has been in the area of instruction where previously the teacher-librarian taught primarily library skills.

Today, the teacher-librarian should be teaching information accessing and processing and research skills. Problem solving, creative and critical thinking, speaking, writing, representing, listening, reading, and viewing are other skills they can teach. It has been found that teaching library skills in isolation has not been as successful as when the skills are integrated into the curriculum.

Statement on Classroom Libraries - NCTE

The program has changed so that the library skills are integrated into the curriculum to support classroom goals. Why are Teacher-Librarians Catalysts for Change? The movement away from the use of basal textbooks, the increased concern for learning styles, the explosion of information, advances in instructional and informational technologies, advocacy for cooperative learning and collaborative teaching are factors that increase the complexity in planning for instruction.

Grades PreK—K , 1—2 , 3—5 , 6—8 , 9— Arranging Space The physical layout reflects your teaching style. Desk Placement In many classrooms, the largest amount of space is devoted to the arrangement of individual student desks.

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But no matter how you arrange desks, don't be afraid to make changes. Here are some tips from research and practice: Create both well-lit and dimly-lit areas in the classroom by using bookcases, screens, plants, and other furniture. Some children learn best in bright light, but others do significantly better in low light. Bright light actually makes some students restless and hyperactive.

Try allowing students to sit where they feel most comfortable, or try placing fidgety children in low-light areas and listless children in brighter areas. Provide opportunities for children to move around while visiting learning centers and other special classroom areas.

Most of us have the mistaken impression that children learn best when sitting still, but research now proves that many children need extensive mobility while learning. These children learn significantly more if they move from one area to another as they acquire new information. Establish informal furniture arrangements where students can sit on soft chairs or pillows, or lounge on the carpet.

Another myth is that children learn best when sitting up straight in hard chairs. About 75 percent of the total body weight is supported on only four square inches of bone when humans sit up straight in a hard chair, so it is easy to understand how the resulting stress on the buttock tissues causes fatigue, discomfort, and the need for frequent changes in posture. Research supports the common-sense notion that many students pay better attention and achieve higher grades in more comfortable settings.

Establish listening stations with headsets for children who need sound, and quiet study areas for those who work best in silence. Many children disprove another commonly held conception: that silence helps kids concentrate better. Help students become aware of their own temperature preferences and encourage them to dress accordingly. Temperature preferences vary dramatically, and most children can't concentrate when they are either too cool or too warm.

Designing Classroom Space The sky's the limit when it comes to designing classroom space. About the Book Learning to Teach View not found. Download the PDF from here. Related Subjects. Classroom Management School Facilities and Construction.


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Appears in This Collection. There has been a lot of buzz about the benefits of incorporating simulations and game-based learning activities into classroom instruction. Guest blogger Terrell Heick wrote about the gamification of education , or go straight for the practical resource and read Andrew Miller's "Game-Based Learning Units for the Everyday Teacher". Once widely dismissed as distractions, devices like cell phones, mp3 players, and tablet computers are now being used as learning tools in forward-thinking schools.

Check out our downloadable guide, Mobile Devices in the Classroom. Read a blog by Ben Johnson on using iPads in the classroom or an article about using cell phones for educational purposes. Check out the case study by former Edutopia executive director Milton Chen on using iPods to teach English language learners , or there's a blog by Audrey Watter about texting in the classroom. We also have a blog series that maps k-5 iPad apps to Bloom's taxonomy by Diane Darrow.

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