I was fortunate to meet School librarians of the Raya School early this month. We had a fascinating and interesting conversation about students, the way they learn and read books, and the work librarians do to help teachers. Here are questions that have kept them awake at night. This is part 1 so come back to the blog for part 2!
1. With the emergence of information technology we have today, I wonder if it is still relevant to teach students how to use the dictionary if they could just google or use an online dictionary instead.
Yes. Print is still relevant because, it promotes and keeps the reading experience alive particularly, long and deep reading. These are the kinds of reading the human brain needs to function well. Ebooks and online sources rob the brain of so many things, and one is the development of a physical memory. Print provides that physical landscape so that the brain’s capacity to remember becomes stronger. Print is good for MEMORY and REMEMBERING.
Second, we need to provide different forms of media to our readers because they learn in varied ways. Their modalities for learning is not one dimensional. Learning through visuals may be strong for one person, but his/her aural skills do not mean it is non-function at all. So, develop whole brain learning by providing an array of learning materials and employing varied and appropriate instructional strategies.
The availability of online references provide ease of access to information. Print sources help in retention and in stretching one’s attention span. Both are cognitive skills needed to navigate and understand different media formats and technology.
2. There was a time where grade 6 students borrowed reference materials in the library so they could practice citing of sources for their AP class. There was also a time where grade 4 students searched for "pabula" in the library for their Filipino class.
I know that one of the library's main roles in the school is provision of books to the students for the enrichment of their learning but what else could I do to help?
Notice that the information needs of your students differ from one grade to another. Why is it that grade 4 students are searching for pabula? Why reference materials for grade 6?
Know the students, the teachers who teach them, the school’s curriculum and pedagogy. From here, you can create a collection development plan. Then, budgeting comes into play. This is long term, progressing and continuous. A three year library development plan identifying targets and strategies need to be in place, as well as a library procedural manual.
Include a library instruction program or an Information Literacy program. This is ideally, integrated in the language arts skills program. So, work with teachers to make this happen.
Part 2 is all about collaborative work with teachers.