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

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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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Sharing the effort to get the reward: the librarian, my students, and I

Another fantastic example of teachers and librarians working together, and playing to their strengths.

Information Literacy Spaces

When I first started teaching research skills I noticed that students, who were supposedly digital natives, did not know how to find information, and when they did find any they did not know how to tell if it was any good. It was as if they had no reference point to tell the good from the bad. So I took it upon myself to teach them; after all, I am a teacher.

UnfortuImage result for building independent learners quotesnately, for them and me, I do not come from a research background. Like them, my knowledge of where to find information started and ended with a Google search; unsurprising really considering I come from a generation that used Encyclopedia Britannica when I wanted accurate information. I would spend lessons talking to students, Googling their topics and suggesting websites where they could find information; basically I was doing their research for them. This approach got minimal results…

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To Infinity and Beyond!

As the result of the work in our Information Literacy Spaces schools grows, here is a library flockmate’s view of collaborative practice in her school

Information Literacy Spaces

Image result for to infinity and beyond buzz lightyearTo Infinity and Beyond was not the first title I thought of when contemplating what to name this blog post. As someone who manages to always find a quote, song or movie title for most occasions, I had three possible titles swirling around in my head that reflect my journey so far this year.

The first heading I contemplated was Back to the Future (awesome Michael J. Fox). At the beginning of this year I began a new job back in Taranaki returning to a school library and its librarianship, something I had not done for the previous 4 ½ years. So you see I was coming back to my library roots, but with a whole new focus on the future.

It was a couple of weeks into my new position when a discussion with our Deputy Principal of Learning introduced me to what we affectionately refer to as the…

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Why science teachers need both information literacy skills and content-specific knowledge

Loving the science teachers who have been willing to share their thoughts and experiences through the Information Literacy Skills research project. We’ve had an English teacher also share her observations, and I just know there’s more to come. This is such an exciting project to be part of!

Information Literacy Spaces

kid smart lightbulb brainI was marking Year 12 Biology NCEA reports on the extreme environment of the deep ocean and reading about the goblin shark and the adaptations they have to survive in this dark inhospitable place when it struck me that I was correcting the grammar and punctuation in my head! I had always considered myself a teacher of biological information, but I realised I was emerging as a facilitator of students learning biological concepts for themselves and writing like scientists. I was also a teacher of search techniques, a collaborator with other professionals, namely our school librarian who knows infinitely more about referencing than I, and a facilitator for students to formulate focus questions to keep themselves on track. This came as quite a shock after so many years in the job!

Reflecting on my own path through the education system, I can recall doing very little research or peer review…

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Making the implicit explicit: Reactions to chemistry report writing and collaborative learning

One of the collaborations I’m involved with through the Information Literacy Spaces research project, Jess is one of the teachers in our Science department and is so open to ideas and working with others. I hope to get her to collaborate on another blog post about the working we’re doing with Year 7 Science, alongside Heather, a very experienced Science teacher.

Information Literacy Spaces

Visible Learning Hattie

It’s fair to say that when I left teachers college three years ago I had greatly underestimated how much focus there would be on teaching literacy strategies. As a science specialist, I had been taught some scientific literacy, but mostly it was theory-based or examples given during lectures of other peoples teaching practice. As a learner, I find it a lot easier to implement new techniques into my teaching if I can watch or talk to someone who is already giving it a go. This made it difficult to know where to start when I came to realise just how much support my students needed with literacy.

Before Southland Boys’ High School became involved in the Information Literacy Spaces research, I was already working with our amazing librarian Senga White, as well as English teachers on different literacy strategies for junior science. When Senga approached me about the new project…

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