Over the past 4 Inquiry Blogs the most important key learning that I took away from the many hours of research, the learnings from my colleague’s blogs, and the discussions with my school’s teacher-librarians is that I have still a lot more to learn!
There were so many wonderful ideas about how to foster reading in school, some of which I have already shared with our present school TLs. I also found that many of them could be applied to the classroom, where I presently reside at a grade 4/5 level, and that children are willing and ready to dive into reading when appropriately encouraged. Just recently, I began an at-home reading program with incentives for meeting reading targets. I know we all want children to be intrinsically motivated to read but this reading is in French for our FI program and, honestly, it’s difficult reach an appreciation for reading in another language if they don’t make the effort; therefore, for now, a few extrinsic motivators are helping us along the way. The kids also really loved that our reading path is based on our digestive systems (something we’re learning in science) and they are pieces of food making their way down the oesophagus, into the stomach, onto the small intestine, then the colon and out the rectum! When we’ve all pooped out at 100 reads, we’re going to have a party! It may be gross but they will never forget the digestive system!
One of my biggest learnings from our inquiries is how many ways there are to stay connected and learn from each other. I, personally, am still not great at tweeting out but, I am on several teacher-librarian twitter feeds now and they have wonderful ideas to share. I also did not realize how great Pinterest could be for accessing curriculum ideas…I guess I have just previously used it to find craft ideas for class whereas now I am exploring pedagogy through images. LM_Net is also an amazing resource but I do not find it user friendly and sometimes have struggles navigating the posts. There is also so much information on it that it is often difficult to weed out the posts that are not relevant to my keyword search.
Digital libraries was a huge ah-ha moment for me. The more I researched about them in the course of learning about world libraries, the more I thought that this is the way libraries are heading. They are so accessible, easily organized and managed, able to store myriad documents/text/journals/books etc. and, they can be replenished with the most up-to-date information all at the tip of our fingers. I like books and still check them out at the library even though I have an iPad and Kindle reader so, for me, the idea of a digital library is a little sad; however, I can see the practicality of one especially for libraries that have lost collections due to war or accidental fires or countries that are trying to build their collections and are able to use digital resources and platforms from other countries.
If I could pick just one topic from our Phase 2 inquiries that resonated with me it would be the many ways I learnt, from research, experiences and my course colleague’s blogs, how to support my school colleagues if/when I become a teacher-librarian. As I have mentioned, I am lucky to have excellent TL role models in my school and I see how they support our staff and keep them consistently informed about new technologies, new books, new inquiry practices and more; nonetheless, I realize that many teachers still do not take advantage of what TLs can offer in so many different aspects of the curriculum. I can see our newer, younger staff approaching our TLs more often and this makes me happy yet, I admit, that it was difficult for me as well to undo the stereotype of the role of an old-school librarian.
I believe that if it weren’t for my personal relationship with our TL, that I many not have been as eager to work with him because of these old preconceptions. That being said, they are changing and I look forward to supporting this change and, in turn, supporting my colleagues as their “future” TL.