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School Libraries and the VELS: Great Minds at Work Dr Ross J Todd Director of Research Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries School.

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Presentation on theme: "School Libraries and the VELS: Great Minds at Work Dr Ross J Todd Director of Research Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries School."— Presentation transcript:

1 School Libraries and the VELS: Great Minds at Work Dr Ross J Todd Director of Research Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries School of Communication, Information and Library Studies Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey cissl.scils.rutgers.edu rtodd@scils.rutgers.edu

2 The Foundation of Education "Education is not an affair of telling and being told but an active constructive process.” At the heart of great minds at work is constructing knowledge John Dewey

3 Great Minds at Work Learners VELS Teachers Teacher Librarians School Leaders Community VCAA BElief BElong BEhaviour

4 Great Minds at work? Inclusiveness Innovation Creativity Clarity of focus

5 The Essential Question “The Victorian Essential Learning Standards – does your library stack up?” VELS = Constructivist framework Written by and for Teacher-Librarians Not just Communication (Listening, Viewing and Responding, Presenting) Thinking Processes (Reasoning, Processing and Inquiry; Creativity; Reflection, Evaluation and Metacognition Information & Communications Technology (ICT) (ICT for Visualising Thinking; ICT for Creating; ICT for Communicating) Personal Learning (The Individual Learner, Managing Personal Learning) But every VELS is an opportunity for leading of learning through the school library

6 Core Dynamics of VELS Constructivist Learning: learners construct deep knowledge and deep understanding rather than passively receiving it learners are directly involved and engaged in the discovery of new knowledge and development of new skills, attitudes and experiences learners transfer new knowledge and skills to new circumstances learners encounter alternative perspectives and conflicting ideas so that they are able to transform prior knowledge and experience into deep understandings learners take ownership and responsibility for their ongoing learning and mastery of essential content and skills learners contribute to social well being, the growth of democracy, and the development of a knowledgeable society.

7 VELS Evidence of Constructivist Learning English: “understanding”, “interpreting”, “critically analysing”, “reflecting upon”; ‘interpret the main ideas”; “support interpretations with evidence drawn from the text” Civics and Citizenship: “think critically”; “articulate and justify their own opinions”; “apply their knowledge” The Humanities: “direct observation or observation from a variety of media” Mathematics: “mathematical inquiry” Humanities-History: “historical reasoning and interpretation”, “multiple, conflicting and often partial interpretations of events”

8 VELS: Key Implications for School Libraries Constructivist frameworks must underpin the pedagogy, collections and access of school libraries learners construct deep knowledge and deep understanding rather than passively receiving it learners are directly involved and engaged in the discovery of new knowledge and development of new skills, attitudes and experiences learners transfer new knowledge and skills to new circumstances } PEDAGOGY AND INSTRUCTIONAL INTERVENTIONS OF TEACHER LIBRARIANS

9 VELS: Key Implications for School Libraries Constructivist frameworks must underpin the pedagogy, collections and access of school libraries learners encounter alternative perspectives and conflicting ideas so that they are able to transform prior knowledge and experience into deep understandings } READING FOUNDATIONS OF SCHOOL LIBRARIES ------------ NATURE OF COLLECTIONS OF SCHOOL LIBRARIES

10 VELS: Key Implications for School Libraries Constructivist frameworks must underpin the pedagogy, collections and access of school libraries learners take ownership and responsibility for their ongoing learning and mastery of curriculum content and skills learners contribute to social well being, the growth of democracy, and the development of a knowledgeable society. } LEARNING ENVIRONMENT OF SCHOOL LIBRARY ----------- SCHOOL LIBRARY AND LIFELONG LEARNING

11 Pedagogy: Key Priority Through the school library, a pedagogy directed to: Learning for all Pursuit of excellence Engagement and effort Respect for evidence Openness of mind } KEY PRINCIPLES OF THE VELS Reading to Learn Learning to Read

12 The Reading Foundation of the VELS The core assumption of the VELS is reading: Reading the word – textual, visual, oral, tactile Reading the world – self, others, cultures, societies When reading is at risk, it is not just school libraries that are at risk; more critically, it is knowledge that is at risk.

13 View of Reading that underpins the VELS Not merely acquiring sound-print and writing techniques “Complex system of deriving meaning from print”. The transformation, communication and dissemination of text and the development of meaning and understanding. “An attitude of creation and re-creation, a self- transformation producing a stance of intervention in one's context” (Paulo Freire,1973) The school library as a transformational agent in the reading- information-knowledge life cycle begins with reading

14 Reading-Information-Knowledge Life Cycle: Delaware Survey of 154 public school libraries in Delaware (2004-2006) (100% of public school libraries) Typical activities to foster reading through the school library: literature displays, book talks, promoting information resources, reading incentive programs, and to a much lesser extent story telling, book clubs and author visits. Primarily passive activities. Reading activities that foster active student engagement, discussion and creative outputs far less frequently reported. Reading for knowledge construction given little attention in school libraries.

15 Learning Outcomes: Delaware Number of instructional collaborations is low. Information literacy instruction initiatives typically center on knowing about school library, different sources and formats, learning how to use resources, and evaluating information. 48% of school librarians are involved in the provision of professional development on information literacy in their school communities. 39% indicated school library had helped students develop skills in locating, selecting, organizing and evaluating information 37% indicated school library helps improve reading skills; interest & motivation in reading 22% indicated improvement in technology skills 16% indicated development of positive attitude to libraries 4.5% indicated outcomes linked to curriculum standards and goals

16 Consider this…. Think of the most recent time you worked with a teacher and a class in your school library. What did your students really learn? What deep knowledge and understanding of essential learning standards did they develop through their SL experience? What skills and attitudes did they continue to develop? How do you know this? How did they transform information into deep knowledge? How did they use this knowledge in a critical way? How would you explain the learning outcomes to your school community? How did it inform your practice? ACTION RESEARCH

17 New Jersey IMLS Funded Research 2003 - 2005 What knowledge outcomes does the school library enable as students make use of diverse digital and print information sources? How might these knowledge outcomes be identified, measured, and embedded into professional practice? Develop a learning impacts measure for use by school-based teams. (SLIM Toolkit: School Library Impact Measure) KNOWLEDGE CONSTRUCTION THROUGH THE SCHOOL LIBRARY

18 Schools Context & Sample 10 New Jersey public schools Experienced and expert school librarians Diverse public schools 10 school librarians working on curriculum projects with 17 classroom teachers 574 students in Grades 6 – 12; range of disciplines Inquiry Training Institute Feb 24, 2004: overview and critique of units, use of data collection instruments, procedures and ethical guidelines

19 Central Research Questions As they proceed through the stages of a collaborative inquiry project: What changes, if any, are evident in students’ knowledge of a curriculum topic What changes, if any, are shown in the students’ feelings? How does the students’ study / learning approach influence knowledge construction of a curriculum topic? What interactions exist between knowledge construction, feelings, and study approach? How did school librarians and teachers help students with their learning

20 Changes in Knowledge: 5 Approaches to Measurement Substance of knowledge Amount of knowledge Structure of knowledge Personal estimate of knowledge Labeling of knowledge Study / Learning Styles Measure Feelings measure

21 Substance of Knowledge Statement typeDefinitionExample Propertystatements describing characteristics The color of Valentine’s day is red Mannerstatements describing processes, styles, actions People drive aggressively in USA Reasonstatements of explanations of how and why The wall was constructed to block invaders Outcomestatements providing end result(People eat too much) As a result, people got very sick Causalitystatements showing some event causally leads to another Too much alcohol can lead to liver failure Set Membershipstatements about class inclusionMichelangelo created works such as statue of David, Cistine Chapel and the famous Pieta Implicationstatements showing predictive relations, inference, implied meaning He was suspected of poisoning him Value Judgmentstatements presenting personal position or viewpoint That’s not right

22 AIM (Achievement Improvement Monitor) 2006 Year 9 English Test Analysis of Grade 9 English Test based on Graesser & Clark’s typology (34 multiple choice questions) Properties: statements describing characteristics Set Membership: statements about class inclusion Manner: statements describing processes, styles, actions Reason: statements of explanations of how and why Outcome: statements providing end result Causality: statements of some event causally leads to another Implication: statements showing predictive relations Value judgment: statements presenting personal position, viewpoint Reason, Outcome, Consequence, Causality, Implication, Conclusion based on evidence predominate in this test!!!! Limited focus on properties, manner: limited recall of facts; expectation is that students engage with facts in building deep understanding

23 AIM 2006 English Grade 9 Nature of Questions Asked Have depth and breadth of knowledge and understanding Test ability to engage in intellectual exploration Ask students to think deeply about ideas Ask students to deal with conflicting data and information: problematic knowledge Demand higher order, flexible thinking: analysis, synthesis, evaluation, problem solving; able to think creatively and laterally Able to reason with with evidence, particular to the discipline area Relevant, connected knowledge Able to use the complex language of a discipline: Meta-language

24 NJ Study: Changes in Knowledge Two distinctive approaches to knowledge construction: -- Additive -- Integrative

25 Additive Approach to Knowledge Construction Knowledge development characterized by progressive addition of property facts As the students built knowledge, they continued to add property and manner statements, and to a lesser extent, set membership statements Stockpile of facts, even though facts were sorted, organized and grouped to some extent into thematic units by conclusion. Remained on a descriptive level throughout

26 Integrative Approach to Knowledge Construction Initial: superficial sets of properties Moved beyond gathering facts: - building explanations - address discrepancies - organizing facts in more coherent ways Interpret found information to establish personal conclusions and reflect on these. Some students subsumed sets of facts into fewer but more abstract statements at the end

27 NJ Study: Study Styles Deep Learners: Demonstrated knowledge change by synthesized replies. Confident and optimistic throughout the process. Conveyed a specific interest for their topics, and this interest was a key basis for learning more about topic. Strong awareness of information quality. Surface Learners: Knowledge remained on a factual level throughout and showed little increase. Estimates of knowledge showed little change. The easiest aspect of the search process was availability of information. Information seeking seen foremost as a process of collecting facts. Seemed particularly relieved when the projects ended. Low levels of interest and engagement.

28 VELS: “Personal Learning” Understanding of preferred learning styles Understanding strategies that enhance personal learning Learning strengths and weaknesses Feedback on developing content Set and monitor learning improvement goals Understand how different perspectives and attitudes shape learning Learning habits Ethical frameworks Criteria based evaluation

29 Factors contributing to differences across Schools Changes in knowledge (knowledge growth) did not occur evenly in the schools No significant variations across the age, grade, and gender groups Nature of task: imposed task or negotiated task Engagement and ownership Nature of Interventions: Development of skills to construct knowledge rather than finding information

30 Information literacy instruction typically focuses on “finding” information: transport rather than transformation; stockpiling of facts rather than engagement with facts to develop deep knowledge and deep understanding Typically treat information literacy as a separate discipline (teacher teaches content and school librarian teaches information skills) Scope and sequence models of Information Literacy (akin to “fixed schedules”) Students do not go beyond the basic knowledge level of Bloom’s Taxonomy: recalling and recognizing information VELS calls for a constructivist approach to learning through the school library: Inquiry, not Information Literacy VELS: A time to Rethink Information Literacy

31 Multiple Models of Information Literacy The standard “define, locate, select, organize, present, assess, reflect” model of information literacy is inappropriate for the VELS Starting point for the school library is not information literacy, but a critical Zone of Intervention in the VELS, and the nature of disciplinary knowledge and how a discipline / field of study develops knowledge

32 The Burning Question Can you live with multiple models / conceptions of Information Literacy?

33 An Approach to Auditing VELS Identify ZONES OF INTERVENTION where information-to- knowledge processes and knowledge outcomes are embedded and lend themselves to inquiry in the school library = opportunities for developing authentic research Understanding how disciplinary knowledge is constructed Frame information-to-knowledge processes (Information Literacy) in the language of the particular discipline and based on how knowledge is constructed in the discipline Establish learning outcomes as established by the VELS, using language of standards Construct instructional interventions, building in approaches to Evidence-Based Practice

34 An Approach to Auditing VELS Dimension aspect Zone of Intervention Disciplinary Knowledge Construction Instructional Intervention Outcomes Measures (EBP) Outcomes VELS: ………………. Dimension, or part of a dimension, at any level that lends itself to inquiry and authentic research through the school library, and where the pedagogical expertise of the teacher-librarian can contribute to reaching VELS

35 VELS Science: Zones of Intervention Level 4: Analyse a range of science related issues; Contributions of Australian scientists made to improve and / or change science knowledge Level 6:Debating contentious and / or ethically based science-related issues of broad community concern

36 VELS Science: Knowledge Construction Develop curiosity Use scientific understanding and processes Establish existing understanding: describe, classify, explain information Formulate hypotheses / questions Design and pursue investigation related to their question Develop systematic approach to data collection Record observations from sources, environment, testing Generate, validate, analyse, critique and interpret evidence Draw valid conclusions Explain how scientific knowledge is used Construct working models to demonstrate scientific ideas Present results using data appropriate formats

37 VELS Mathematics: Knowledge Construction Especially the “Working Mathematically” dimension: Aims to develop students sense of mathematical inquiry: problem posing, problem solving, modeling and investigation Zone of Intervention: Level 4: “recognize and investigate the use of mathematics in real life” Mathematical Inquiry framework (= IL Framework) CONJECTURE, FORMULATION, SOLUTION, COMMUNICATION Find ideas, examples, counter examples Explore patterns Develop conjectures Test simple conjectures Explain propositions Analyse reasonableness of points of view Develop generalisations by abstracting features Test truth statements and generalisations Develop models

38 VELS Civics & Citizenship: Knowledge Construction Zones of Intervention: Level 3: Identify a local issue and plan possible actions to achieve a desired outcomes Level 4: Present a point of view of a significant current issue IL Model: Establish existing knowledge and develop background knowledge Draw on a range of sources Explore and consider different perspectives Contest different opinions Articulate and justify own opinion using supporting evidence Refine own opinions, values and attitudes Develop an action plan which demonstrates knowledge Apply knowledge and skills in a range of community based activities

39 VELS History: Knowledge Construction IL Model = Historical Reasoning and Interpretation Research and Inquiry Skills Own knowledge and experience Plan investigation Framing questions Gathering evidence from a variety of sources Documenting evidence from sources Make judgments about sources Critically evaluate completeness of evidence Representing values, cultures, literal and symbolic meanings Multiple, conflicting, partial interpretations Communicate understanding of history using conventional forms to report findings and conclusions

40 VELS: Zones of Intervention for Authentic Learning through the School Library The Arts Level 5: Compare, analyse, evaluate and interpret the content, meaning and qualities in arts works created in different social, cultural and historical contexts The Arts Level 6: Analyse, interpret, compare and evaluate the stylistic, technical, expressive and aesthetic features of arts works created by a range of artists Health & PE: Level 4: Describe and analyse the various roles required in competitive sports Health & PE: Level 5: identify the health concerns of young people and the strategies that are designed to improve health

41 Integrating “Thinking Processes” Existing knowledge and experience Explore ideas and perspectives and collect information from a range of sources to build background knowledge Question validity of sources Generate, predict and test ideas / claims Establish points of view Research to develop reasoned arguments with supportive evidence Generate imaginative solutions Document changes in ideas

42 VELS and School Libraries: An Approach to Auditing Standards Dimension aspect Zone of Intervention Disciplinary Knowledge Construction Instructional Intervention Outcomes Measures (EBP) Outcomes VELS: ………………. Teacher Librarians must develop exemplars of pedagogy to demonstrate to teachers how these standards can be developed and measured

43 Building Background Knowledge Framing / Testing / Questioning Ideas Read View Listen Connect     I didn’t know that!Questions I have??? I agree / disagree I wonder ….

44 Dealing With Conflicting Information to Develop Knowledge Central Questions Source 1 eg encycl Source 2 eg Poor quality web site Source 3 eg High quality web site Source 4 eg Newspaper Source 5 High quality print source What I can say? Evidence for my statement? who what when where why how result

45 Pedagogy of CRITICAL THINKING Observations. From a series of observations, we can come to establish: Facts. From a series of facts, or from an absence of fact, we make: Inferences. Testing the validity of our inferences, we can make: Assumptions. From our assumptions, we form our: Opinions. Taking our opinions, we use the principles of logic to develop: Arguments. And when we want to challenge the arguments of others, we employ: Critical Analysis (through which we challenge the observations, facts, inferences, assumptions, and opinions in the arguments that we are analyzing).

46 Argument Analysis Toulmin, Stephen. Uses of Argument. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1958. Claim: statement that you are asking the other person to accept Data: evidence / truth on which the claim is based Warrant: underpinning assumptions Qualifier: limits eg 'most', 'usually', 'always', 'sometimes' Rebuttal: counter- arguments that can be used Backing: additional support to an argument

47 Guided Inquiry Design Principles for Instructional Interventions Initiated though compelling situations and questions Instruction puts emphasis on meaningful, authentic activities; focus on identifying and solving intellectual and/or real-world problems learning activities resemble ways that students will create and use knowledge and skills in the real world Students are more motivated to engage in their inquiry when they are able to exercise some choice over questions and how to present their new understandings

48 Implementing Guided Inquiry: Design Strategies Attempt is made to connect with students’ background knowledge Instructional activities involve transforming prior knowledge, skills, attitudes and values - higher order thinking and critical analysis occurs throughout. Instructional activities enable students to develop deep knowledge, deep understanding Opportunities for sustained dialogue and feedback, opportunities for students to provide their understanding of concepts or ideas during the search process

49 Implementing Guided Inquiry: Key Strategies Choice of products to show their new understandings in formats appropriate to the discipline Students have opportunity to communicate and share their new understandings Inquiry engages students in dealing with conflicting information Students are given opportunity to practice their new skills inquiry learning is responsive to students’ personal, social and cultural worlds, valuing differences and cultivating an inclusive community

50 VELS and Assessment Evidence-based practice is at the heart of implementing and assessing the VELS

51 VELS & School Library Best Practice Best practice is about working to achieve the highest levels of sustainable performance in order to achieve the highest level of outcomes. It is not about reaching some kind of idealistic (often thought of as mythical) standard and staying there. Rather it is both a mindset and action orientation that strives to continuously improve on existing processes as times change, as things evolve, and as research informs. Move beyond just thinking about improvement, and taking action – implementing local strategies and processes that contribute to a cycle of ongoing improvement

52 BElief BElong BEhaviour Taking action means you are living the solution. Not taking action means that you will be living someone else’s dreams and someone else’s solutions. And someone else’s solutions may not be in the best interest of student learning outcomes through the school library. The VELS School Library Challenge


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