Go rogue! Information literacy’s role in decolonising the curriculum.

“The key message was to ‘go rogue’, to grow and adapt while recognising the history, but not being constrained by it. There was a real sense that we need to make the familiar strange, and the strange familiar”
Angela Feekery.

I love the “go rogue” picture forming in my mind! As Michael Moore said “I really didn’t realize the librarians were, you know, such a dangerous group.
They are subversive. You think they’re just sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They’re like plotting the revolution, man. I wouldn’t mess with them. You know, they’ve had their budgets cut. They’re paid nothing. Books are falling apart. The libraries are just like the ass end of everything, right?”, librarians have always been open to seeing things differently, doing things differently, teaming up differently.

As I reflect on 2018 (more to come on that) and redefine what 2019 might look like, “go rogue” may just become my new catch-phrase!

Information Literacy Spaces

I was fortunate to attend a communication conference in the US is November, and attended the pre-conference focused on ‘Decolonising the Curriculum’ within the Communication discipline. The session was led by a diverse group of people, most of whom have experienced discrimination in their lives. They recognise the dominant white worldviews perpetuated in curriculum material (the communication of white people) they are teaching their students, many of whom are not white.

Part of the discussion centered on reflecting on our own positionalities within the dominant perspectives, connected not only to race and ethnicity, but the struggle against all components of dominant power (white supremacy and privilege, masculinity and hetero perspectives).

The conversation explored white privilege and white fragility openly in a space where we were all made to feel safe regardless of our identity. The idea of ‘name it, but don’t shame’ it prevailed. The focus was on empowering all…

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Call me an optimist but I think the worm is turning

Information Literacy Spaces

As the 2018 school year ends, two reports – one about the durability of NCEA and the other about school management and governance – were released for public submissions. Their analyses identify the weaknesses inherent in a pervasively outcomes-based system, a market modeled competitive educational culture, and a singular focus on measurement to assess school effectiveness. The processes of quality learning and teaching – the craft of the job – have taken a back seat to highly regulated workplaces, the pressure for continuous improvement, intensified workloads, and poor conditions for highly skilled work few it seems to see any future in. This has cumulatively generated the very ‘outcomes’ reforms since 1990 aimed to challenge:  plateauing achievement, growing educational inequalities, teacher shortages, and ineffective national and local school management structures.  In these two latest reports, I detect a discernible shift away from manufactured achievement, towards the promotion of learning as a…

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Better researchers make better coaches; introducing information literacy skills to a PE class.

An excellent account of strategies for PE teachers to work with their librarians and make IL skills more visible in their student’s learning.

Information Literacy Spaces

coach-ed-2015-16--2

With Physical Education (PE) having written components at all levels, especially levels
two and three, it has become increasingly important for students to be able to
reflect on the research process they have been working on, in the context of their PE
learning. It comes down to students being able to support their experience and reflection with evidence, tackling the theoretical component of their work by drawing on our subject’s academic literature. The unit I will focus on relates to students planning either a coaching experience or an activity involving themselves and/or their group.

Being part of the Information Literacy Spaces project has helped me unpack the research process, starting from an initial research question right through to students submitting work underpinned by a strong literature base. Each part of the process needs to be overtly taught and, so far, I have observed a considerable difference to the overall quality of…

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“Fake News”, social media and critical thinking

BBC_i-reporter

BBC iReporter

This is a fantastic online resource created by the BBC which puts players in the heart of the newsroom to explore sources and make journalistic decisions and attempt to discover what is real and what is fake news.

You are a new reporter for the BBC social media team, and you have to meet your bulletin deadlines through the course of a day.

I tested this out this morning and was impressed by the very slick format full of interactive technology and immediate results.  Players gain points for accuracy, impact, and speed – all of which are crucial in any real news setting.

Links to the New Zealand Curriculum:

This activity meets all elements of the key competencies – the capabilities for living and lifelong learning (which is what we’re all about in the school library business!)

  • Thinking – critically, creatively, and metacognitively thinking while making sense of information, experiences, and ideas to become active seekers, users, and creators of knowledge
  • Using language, symbols, and texts – understanding visual, oral, aural and written language cues to make swift decisions
  • Managing self – being resourceful and resilient while employing strategies to meet challenges under time constraints
  • Relating to others – interacting effectively online while coming up with new ways of thinking and becoming informed decision makers
  • Participating and contributing – in a digital, global environment while understanding the balance between rights, roles, and responsibilities to contributing to online communities

It also contributes to digital citizenship, information and digital literacy skills programmes, and is particularly relevant to Social Studies, English and Media studies teachers

BBC i-reporter

A big thank you to UK teacher and editor of UKEd Magazine, Martin Burrett for posting about this excellent, interactive tool, with potential to have high student engagement.

How does your garden grow? Watering seeds! Why every interaction matters

Cottage Garden

I had a chance encounter with an ex-student at the Southland Nethui two weeks ago.

Our paths had crossed briefly 5 years ago when he was in his final year and I was in my first year at SBHS.  He professed to “not being much of a reader” at school.  He’s a fisherman, a regular “Kiwi bloke” who wanted to talk to me about books.  He reads!  He talks to the guys on the fishing boat about what he’s reading. He even sometimes, when he’s not at sea, attends the monthly public library book club.  And he wanted to share his reading journey with me!

He asked for a couple of book recommendations, which I gladly gave him, and I also gave him my card saying he was welcome to keep in touch.  Well, I received an email from him earlier this week.  He wanted to thank me for my recommendation (Fahrenheit 451) – he loved it – and did I have any other suggestions.  I quickly replied with my next recommendation, and he, in turn, replied he’ll let me know what he thinks – this time it’s The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.  I think I have found a new kindred spirit!

Why am I sharing this story? As an encouragement for all my librarian and teaching colleagues. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to receive unexpected affirmative gifts like this, but more often than not, we never know our reach or influence.  Be very sure that these incidents are not just one-off anomalies, rather they’re just the tip of the iceberg. For every one student who seeks you out or you have a chance conversation with, there will be many others that you don’t cross paths with.

So, celebrate your awesomeness, continue to be approachable, kind and caring for ALL your students.

I shared my story with a teaching colleague, (he asked to be remembered to her cos she was his favourite teacher) and she was reminded of this whakatauki, which she felt encompasses the story’s essence.

Whakatauki #1.png
or, “even though it is not big, the important thing is the value “

I’m going to put this poster up in my library where I can see it to remind me, EVERY interaction sows seeds, and HOW we respond to that interaction will water those seeds.

Go be gardeners and waterers of seeds!