Monday, October 16, 2017

The Lighthouse Diary Entry 5: Library Research and High School Students

A library session on evaluation of sources and note taking.
I have been reflecting on the visits of our grade 10 students to the library.
Nearly half of them have been to the library in the past three weeks. They borrowed books for their Personal Project (PP) as encouraged, and in some cases, required by their PP Supervisors. This is happy news for me and my staff, of course, since we see our books leaving the library and into the hands of readers. Besides, this is the first time this has happened - to have half the cohort of grade 10s use the library! Seriously. 
This experience is beyond statistics and book circulation matters. 

Having students borrow from the library is an opportunity for me to teach them  skills in locating resources and sourcing information with in sources. What we talked about during the library orientation comes into play. This is a different learning experience from the library sessions I conduct in the subject areas. I somehow find this more authentic as students get down to business, using the OPAC, applying search terms derived from their statements of inquiry, locating books through the call no, reading the introduction, scanning the table of contents and the index. Doesn't sound like big thinking skills but fundamental to research skills development. 
It is also a joy to see a few students make their own decisions having found several titles -which is better, more appropriate, nearer to the topic or statement of inquiry. And so far, we have not turned away any of the grade 10s because we have books and resources to provide and recommend! 

I am hoping these skills can further build up and be strengthened across the content areas. Library use and the application of basic and fundamental research skills are ways to establish connections in the varied disciplines. Furthermore, I think that the skills applied in the processing of printed content translate better when used in the digital environment.

What made these visits possible by our high school students are two things: support from the Academic Leadership Team who designed a learning environment allowing them to go to the library, and PP supervisors who know how to do research the brick and mortar style. A school may have a well stocked library, tech gadgets here and there (this always impress us!), innovative programs and competent library staff, but if structures are not set up for classroom-library connection, the library will simply remain a warehouse. If teachers and  the faculty themselves do not value collaborative teaching and learning, the librarian and library staff will remain an unused human resource.
 It is like cooking bibingka or baking bread using a double heated oven.  You want a well cooked, delicious bread or bibiningka? There needs to be heat on top of the batter and below it.

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