THE ESSENTIAL TEACHER-LIBRARIAN:
CLARIFYING THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF TEACHER-LIBRARIANS TO THE
DEVELOPMENT OF INFORMATION LITERACY SKILLS IN 21ST CENTURY LEARNERS
The following is the final excerpt from my final capping paper for my MEd at the University of Alberta Teacher-Librarianship by Distance Learning Program. This excerpt consists of a list of implications of my literature review on our specific situation in Manitoba.
This excerpt will appear in the Fall issue of the MSLA Journal.
Implications of the Literature Review
Implications for Teacher-Librarian Scholarship in Manitoba
When collecting literature for the literature review I found:
- There were few scholarly articles on teacher-librarianship or the impacts of teacher-librarians in schools written by Manitoba authors or about Manitoba situations.
- Teacher-librarians in Manitoba would benefit from Manitoba based scholarly study on the impacts of teacher-librarians in schools.
Implications for Curriculum Development in Manitoba
The literature review revealed:
- Information literacy in the 21st century is a fusion of literacies that encompass all other literacies.
- Technology skill doesn’t necessarily translate into being information literate and many 21st century learners need explicit instruction in information literacy.
- Essential 21st century skills can be placed in categories that closely mirror the multiple literacies identified as being a part of information literacy in the 21st century.
- Inquiry based learning is an excellent way to teach information literacy.
- Teacher-librarians in the 21st century are qualified teachers with additional training and classroom experience many of whom have expertise with inquiry-based learning and teaching information literacy to 21st century learners.
- Teachers and students would benefit from a revision the Literacy with ICT Continuum (MECY, 2006b) to specifically and explicitly identify information literacy outcomes and the role of the teacher-librarian.
- Teachers and students would benefit from the creation of a foundation document for information literacy that provides suggestions for infusion, instruction and assessment of information literacy through inquiry.
- Teachers and students would benefit from suggestions for collaboration between teacher-librarians and teachers on inquiry and information literacy instruction in future curriculum development.
- Manitoba Education and Literacy would benefit from the expertise of qualified teacher-librarians when revising or creating any new curriculum documents in Manitoba.
· All stakeholders would benefit from the creation of a position at Manitoba Education and Literacy that specifically relates to information literacy and 21st century literacies with a qualified teacher-librarian in the role.
· All stakeholders would benefit from linking the Literacy with ICT Continuum (MECY, 2006b) to the role of teacher-librarian.
Implications for Teacher-Education Programs in Manitoba
The literature review noted:
- Net Geners are currently between the ages of 11 and 31 indicating that many current teachers and new graduates from Education faculties in Manitoba are 21st century learners.
- Although Net Geners seem technologically savvy, they may not possess information literacy skills.
- Inquiry based learning is as an excellent way to teach information literacy skills to 21st century learners.
- Teacher candidates would benefit from the inclusion of an information literacy course in their program of studies.
- Teacher candidates would benefit from the inclusion of an inquiry-based learning course in their program of studies.
- Teacher candidates would benefit from learning how to work with a teacher-librarian on a collaboratively planned and taught inquiry-based learning experience.
Implications for Manitoba School Divisions
The literature review indicated:
· In many cases qualified teacher-librarians demonstrate expertise in areas such as instructional leadership, knowledge of inquiry-based learning and information literacy and providing professional development to teachers.
· All stakeholders would benefit from having a qualified teacher-librarian in every school.
· All stakeholders would benefit from having a qualified teacher-librarian at the divisional level to address the information literacy needs of the school division as a whole.
Implications for Teacher-Librarians in ManitobaThe literature review established:
· Teacher-librarians are qualified teachers with previous successful classroom experience
· Teacher-librarians need additional qualifications to be effective in their job.
· Qualified teacher-librarians are often instructional leaders who model best practices.
· Qualified teacher-librarians are often professional leaders who provide professional development opportunities for school staff.
· Teacher-librarians would benefit from developing a personal professional development plan that allows them to gain expertise with inquiry-based learning, information literacy skills in the 21st century, and the needs of 21st century learners.
· Teacher-librarians would benefit from staying abreast of current literature. See Appendix F: Selected Professional Resources for Teacher-Librarians.
· Teacher-librarians who may not already have a certificate, diploma or Master’s degree in teacher-librarianship would benefit from seeking out higher learning opportunities related to their teacher-librarian role.
Implications for the Manitoba School Library Association
The literature review showed:
· A qualified teacher-librarian has additional training in school-librarianship and information literacy as well as successful classroom experience.
· Teacher-librarians in Manitoba would benefit from a definition of “qualified” within the contexts of the situation in Manitoba which was then shared with Manitoba Education and Literacy and senior school division staff.
· Teacher-librarians in Manitoba would benefit from a Teacher-Librarian Certificate program that would allow them to obtain the qualifications for their job through targeted professional development combined with university course work, similar to the Level 1 Administrator’s Certificate.
The two most important things I learned from this inquiry are that the role of the teacher-librarian in the education system of the 21st century is an essential one and that a strong case can be made for having teacher-librarians in every school in Manitoba.