Do we need Teacher Librarians?

It has been said by some parents, teachers and school administrators “We don’t need teacher librarians, all the answers are on the internet”, or comments with similar meanings.

I disagree in my opinion “We do need teacher librarians, ALL the answers are on the internet.”

Last week I saw someone share this image on Twitter.

Unbaking a Cake

Unbaking a cake, ALL the answers are on the internet.

Anyone with an understanding of high school science should know that the second answer  is presented as a joke, however helping students to realise that it is not a serious/realistic answer needs to be part of the role of teachers.

The Australian Curriculum General Capabilities of Critical and Creative Thinking outlines four key areas.

The areas of “identifying, exploring and clarifying information”, and “analysing, synthesising and evaluating information” are sometimes combined to be called the “Information Process”.

As part of a degree in Teacher Librarianship focused study on information process models is given. This enable Teacher Librarians to be fluent in the information process and to have methods to help people in their school communities

Teaching degrees in Adelaide do not have subjects that have this information literacy focus, this means that the teachers who complete these courses while generally being information literate themselves have not learnt strategies for teaching the information process. Many of the courses have subjects that look at curriculum, but based on subject descriptions these would not have a major focus on the national curriculum let alone the general capability of Critical and Creative Thinking and how to teach it. (I would love to be proven wrong, if you know of a subject available to university teaching students in South Australia that investigates the information process let me know in the comments).

I am not saying that teachers who graduate from our universities are incapable of teaching the information process or that they do can’t use it (although I have seen teachers who have taken things they read on the internet to be true) what I am saying is that like any area of learning having experts in the school that are able to help less experienced teachers to develop their skills is important for critical thinkings.

Teacher Librarians are also trained in the management of on of a schools most valuable resources (the library books), the promotion of literature and in many current courses Information and Communication Technologies (one of the other general capabilities).

So we do need teacher librarians, to be leaders in critical thinking both online and in our schools.

David Folland

1 Comment

Filed under School

One response to “Do we need Teacher Librarians?

  1. I looked into studying to be a teacher librarian in Adelaide (where I live) but ultimately chose to study distance education because the Charles Sturt University course appeared much more specific and focused on what is necessary. Even so, I am taken aback that there is no specific focus on teaching the information process in South Australia! It is the core of the profession I would have thought.

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