Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Hero and The Trusted Sidekick: Teachers and School Librarians Working Together

As a school librarian working in an IB school, I have attended a good number of workshops and conferences on school librarianship. And always, I taken away loads of learning and insights that improved my personal life and professional practice. One of my favorite take aways is the concept of teacher librarians and classroom teachers working together to improve students aptitude and uplift their attitude towards life.

Though I have known and recognized the relevance of this partnership between teacher librarian and classroom teacher years before working in an IB school, it is only now that I am working in the Beacon Academy that I actualize it.  This experience is something I wish to share with my colleagues.

So, when Evelyn Nabus, President of the Association of Librarians in Laguna Province (ALLP) invited me to do a workshop for the ALLP on Media and Information Literacy, I said yes.

Inspired by Dianne McKenzie's article on the role of the librarian as a Trusty Sidekick,  I thought of ways to merge this with the topic given to me by ALLP.  This is the result:

The Hero and the Trusted Sidekick:
Teachers and School Librarians Working Together for the
Conduct of a Media and Information Literacy Program for K-12 Learners

Several researches show that when teacher and school librarian collaborate and work together, students learn better and learning becomes more authentic and meaningful. Test scores increase and students gain confidence in doing school work and accomplishing tasks that are challenging and complex. The goal of this training workshop is for teachers and school librarians to revisit their unique roles in the teaching and learning process so that they can establish a partnership that inspire collaboration in the planning and implementation of a Media and Information Literacy Program.

Specifically, the objectives of the training workshop are:

  1. To identify techniques and strategies that lead to collaborative work between teacher and school librarian;
  2. To review current Media and Information Literacy (MIL) standards and programs;
  3. To determine areas of collaborative work when planning and implementing a MIL program;
  4. To draft a MIL matrix of skills that can be used as guide in developing the library collection and resources; in providing readers and reference services; and in conducting user education programs.

The training workshop is for teachers who are teaching MIL in the senior high school as well as teachers in K-10 who are interested in MIL. Librarians servicing K-12 learners will benefit from the training workshop since activities are designed for the improvement and honing of critical and creative thinking skills as applied to library work and program management.

Note on the title of the training workshop: the training workshop’s jump off point is the role and relationship of the hero and his/her sidekick in popular culture. This metaphor will be used to amplify the value of the sidekick to the hero’s journey.

Teachers have always been referred to as modern day heroes. In myth and in literature, heroes thrive and survive through the aid of a trusted sidekick who gives encouragement, cheers them on, picks them up when they fall, sometimes, carries the ring of power for them or casts a spell to open a locked door. This is the symbolic role of the school librarian to teachers. It is a role we haven’t fully talked about or explored, but, it exists like an elephant in the room. It’s about time we see the elephant for what it is and eat it, piece by piece.

Prepared by: Zarah C. Gagatiga 5.17.2017

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