ETL503 Assignment #2: Reflection

As a teacher, I thought I had a good handle on resourcing the curriculum, for my age group at least (JP).  However, the amount of content that is covered, and the vast amount of challenges and issues to be considered was overwhelming.  There are so many aspects to creating a well balanced and well resourced library collection that meets the needs of both students and teachers.

As a teacher in a remote school, I have a good grasp on the need for a balanced collection. Both print and digital resources have their place, both are key components to successfully implementing a teaching program, and a balance between the two provides all students with equitable access to resources (Uern, 2014a). Five weeks without my own home internet during this course also highlighted the issues students without adequate access to technology faced in a 21st century learning environment. If we were to rely solely on digital resources, how would these students keep up with their peers? Further exploring the readings and literature regarding balanced collections showed not just a  need for balance between print and digital, but fiction and non-fiction, types of non-fiction, text types and formats, and teaching objects and resources, such as concrete materials.

The vast range of selection aids and curation tools will need to be further explored to see what meets the needs of our particular school community. In the past, I have trusted suggestions from colleagues, as to which resources they have used that are most effective, and of course, the TL. Selecting resources through specialised sites and library communities gives us even more resources to choose from. They have actually been fun to explore! Pinterest boards I have begun following include Teacher Librarian boards, book communities, education boards and educational book communities.

The process of creating a proposal helped me to put all these topics and issues into perspective, and directly relate it to my school situation. It also highlighted the importance of policy to ensure there is a documented and agreed upon policy, to clarify the roles, responsibilities and processes of the school library.

Two recurring topics that have popped up throughout my studies is the importance of collaboration and principal support in the teacher librarians role. Collaboration was once again highlighted as an essential part of a TLs role, and a key component in ensuring quality resources were selected (Montiel-Overall, 2008). Without discussions with teachers, the TL would be reliant on curriculum documents and their own understandings of student needs, unable to resource directly to the needs of the students. A principals support is also essential when resourcing a school library, particularly when the TL is faced with issues, such as challenges to the collection, and collection evaluation and weeding.  A principal with a good understanding of the TLs role and responsibilities, and one that has had input in the creation of the school library policies is in a better position to support the TL when challenges arise (Hartzell, 2002).

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Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) (2009) Policies, standards and guidelines. Retrieved from https://www.alia.org.au/about-alia/policies-standards-and-guidelines

Hartzell, G (2002). The Principal’s Perceptions of School Libraries and Teacher-Librarians. School Libraries Worldwide 8(1), pp 92-110. Retrieved from www.iasl-online.org/files/jan02-hartzell.pdf

Montiel-Overall, P (2008). Teacher and librarian collaboration: A qualitative study. Library and information science research, 30(2), pp 145-155

Uern, S (2014). ETL503 Module #1 – Print or digital? [Blog entry]. Retrieved from http://sachajess.edublogs.org/2014/04/16/etl503-module-1-print-or-digital/