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The ABCDE of Teacher-School Librarian Collaboration: Advances Barriers

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1 The ABCDE of Teacher-School Librarian Collaboration: Advances Barriers
Challenges Directions Enablers With thanks to Dr Jannica Heinstrom (Research Associate, CISSL) Paulette Kerr (Doctoral Student, SCILS)

2 Recent Key Sources Patricia Montiel-Overall: Toward a Theory of Collaboration for Teachers and Librarians SLMR (Volume 10, 2007) Barbara Immroth and W. Bernard Lukenbill: Teacher-School Library Media Specialists Collaboration through Social Marketing Strategies: An Information Behavior Study SLMR (Volume 8, 2005) ( Carol Doll: Collaboration and the School Library Media Specialist. Scarecrow Press, 2005)

3 Background Dominant construct in professional rhetoric of school librarianship Advocated as a high priority for school librarians Emergence in 1980s Cooperative Program Planning and Teaching (CPPT) Haycock Important dynamic in student achievement (eg Lance) Little evidence that teachers were consulted in the formulation of the collaboration focus Lack of theoretical grounding: weakly articulated education / social psychology / leadership / networking & teaming underpinnings lack of consensus as to its conceptual boundaries and operational definition; confusion between coordination, cooperation, collaboration Schrage (1990); John-Steiner, Weber, and Minnis (1998): Shared creation built on complementary domains of expertise Callison (1997) coplanning, coimplementation, and coevaluation Montiel-Overall (2007) trusting, working relationship between two or more equal participants involved in shared thinking, shared planning and shared creation of integrated instruction. Goal: to enhance student learning? is it mastery of curriculum standards; is it mastery of information skills and the creation of students who mirror librarians; collaboration itself sometimes appears as key goal Low levels of collaboration are documented (Callison, 2005, Todd 2005)

4 Instruction and Collaborations:
Some Vexing Questions What constitutes effective shared school librarian-teacher collaboration and pedagogy? Do teacher-school librarian collaborations actually work, that is, do they enable students to achieve? Do they enable students to achieve better and/or more than traditional instructional methods such as isolated library lessons not linked to curriculum content? What is the nature of the achievement enabled by teacher-school librarian collaborations? If collaborations do work, why is participation in collaborations by school librarians seemingly low? Is collaboration the most appropriate mode of instructional intervention? Should school librarians focus on the individual and small group help rather than class room collaborations?

5 Purpose of ILILE Study To develop a deeper understanding of classroom teacher-school librarian instructional collaborations: - their dynamics, processes, enablers, barriers - their impact on perceptions of learning and instruction, how (if at all) collaboration has changed the nature of classroom practices - impact on learning outcomes - its role in continuous improvement and school change

6 Approach Qualitative study of the experience of the instructional collaboration Operational definition: Instructional Collaboration is where the classroom teacher and school librarian jointly set goals, design learning experiences, and teach and evaluate a unit of study. 170 partnerships established as part of the IMLS-Kent State University ILILE program over a three year program Experience with the first instructional collaboration undertaken with the school partner as a result of the ILILE program

7 Sample 130 of 340 who participated in the ILILE training program (38% response rate) 85 school librarians (65%) and 45 teachers (35%) 121 (85%) with masters degrees in LIS / education Average work experience: T: 12 years (range 1 – 36 years); L: 13 years (range 1 – 32 years) T & L: 25% had 5 years or less teaching experience

8 Respondents per Role and Grade Level
Teacher % (N) Librarian Total Elementary school 44 (20) 31 (26) 35 (46) Middle school 20 (9) 28 (24) 25 (33) High school 36 (16) 41 (35) 39 (51) Total % (N) 100 (45) 100 (85) 100 (130)

9 The Structure of the Survey
The survey instrument was in 6 parts: Part 1: Background information Part 2: The class details Part 3: Planning your collaboration Part 4: Implementing your collaboration Part 5: The impact and outcomes of your collaboration Part 6: The future of your collaborations

10 Class Details Grade level Number of students Number of lessons
Curriculum area(s) Content standard(s) School Library Guidelines Culminating activity / product that the students completed

11 Curriculum Areas Curriculum area Frequency Language arts 64
Social studies 36 Science 27 Arts 12 Technology 11 Mathematics 5 Foreign language 4 History 3 Chemistry 1

12 Contents Standards Focus
Language Arts: acquisition of vocabulary; comprehension strategies; writing processes and conventions; Science: standards related to nature of matter and properties of pure substances; standards related to chemical reactions (in the context of common household ingredients) Social Science: standards related to Native Americans, Ohio Prehistoric People

13 School Library Standards
Identify directories and search engines. Select a specific database for an assignment and explain why it is the appropriate one to use. Use a variety of technology resources for curriculum and personal information needs. Review strengths and weaknesses of various types of electronic resources for research need Develop open-ended research questions about a defined information need. Create information products to share information using different formats. Take notes, organize information into logical sequence and create product. Evaluate how information was found and assess the quality of the information product. Perform searches for information in specific formats Use technology to conduct research: generate questions to be answered

14 Planning the Collaboration
Motivations for collaboration Strengths brought to the collaboration Gains through this collaboration What was in it for me? Gains for students through this collaboration Initial concerns, why you felt that way, and how you dealt with them. Range of activities that you engaged in to plan the collaboration Communication channels during the collaboration Main strengths of taking the time to plan instructional collaboration Difficulties encountered during the planning of the collaboration and how dealt with

15 Implementing the Instruction (Doing the teaching)
Strengths you perceived about teaching the unit together, and why it was a strength in the collaboration. Difficulties you encountered during the teaching of the unit, and why you thought it was a difficulty in the collaboration. Indicate how you dealt with it. In what way, if any, did the collaboration change how you typically do things in your work? What did the collaboration enable you to do as an educator, if anything, that might have been difficult to do without it?

16 The Impact and Outcomes of The Collaboration
Perceived success of the instructional collaboration. Factors that contributed most to the success or absence of success of the instructional collaboration What did the instructional collaboration do for your students in the class? And how do you know? (identify the evidence that enabled you to know this outcome.) What were, if any, the most important personal learning outcomes for you as a result of this instructional collaboration? In what way(s), if any, did your instructional collaboration change your subsequent professional relationship with your school partner?

17 Collaborating in the future?
Number of instructional collaborations you have undertaken since you participated in the first ILILE program. Factors contributing to undertaking or not undertaking further instructional collaborations? What incentives would encourage more instructional collaborations in your school? What advice, if any, would you give to members of your school community contemplating instructional collaborations sometime in the future? Record any additional ideas about your experience with the ILILE instructional collaboration here.

18 Motivations for Instructional Collaborations
Primary motivation for teachers was to build collegial and collaborative relationships: teaching as a social and collegial experience; socialization and networking. (80% of motivations) Collaboration with librarian was a natural extension of social dynamic of teaching Primary motivation of librarians centered on marketing library services, increasing their status within the school, and spreading library-centered collaboration in the school. (38% of motivations) Librarians also sought to develop their content knowledge or pedagogical skills around which they would cooperate with teachers. The collaborative project was viewed as a means to acquire needed professional development (22% of motivations). Only 6 % (L) and 5% (T) motivations centered improvement of students’ learning outcomes. MUTUALITY OF INTENT? PRINCIPLE OF MUTUAL INTENT?

19 Strengths brought to the collaboration
Teachers and librarians mentioned their particular areas of professional expertise as their major strengths. Librarians took pride in their insights into technology and information skills (60% of strengths identified), while teachers referred to curriculum knowledge, pedagogical skills, collaboration and social skills (63% of strengths identified). Characteristics such as divergent and convergent thinking, creativity, flexibility, openness to experience, organization, planning were regarded as important traits that facilitated the working process by both partners. Some participants also saw value in insight into the partners’ area of expertise, so that teachers were proud of the technological and information insights they had, while librarians regarded their understanding of the curriculum topic being studied as important to enabling the collaboration COMPLEMENTARITY OF EXPERTISE; FLEXIBILITY OF OPERATION

20 What participants hoped to gain through the collaboration
Teachers Improved pedagogy, content knowledge, better understanding of curriculum (55% of gains identified) Resources, technology help or support from librarian to meet teachers’ needs for students (26%) Affective reason, eg friendship, relationship with colleague, have fun (9%) OPPORTUNITY TO DEVELOP TEACHING AND INSTRUCTIONAL SKILLS School Librarians Integrated notion of library as part of the educational milieu, marketing, model best practice for libraries, (44% of gains identified) Improved pedagogy of information literacy (27%) Improved status of librarian, demonstrate importance (13%) Affective reason, eg friendship, relationship with colleague, have fun (10%) OPPORTUNITY TO PROMOTE OWN PROFESSIONALISM, ROLE AND LIBRARY SERVICES

21 What participants hoped the students to gain through the collaboration
Teachers students to learn curriculum content (28 % of student gains identified) increased information literacy (26%) Increased depth, better quality of learning (14%) View of the library as an instructional space, an extension of the classroom (14%) integrated view of learning combining both curriculum areas (7%) School Librarians students to develop information literacy (34 % of gains identified) students to develop a better perception of the library and the librarian (20%). integrated view of learning combining both curriculum areas(14%) students to learn curriculum content (12%) Increased depth, better quality of learning (7%) Mutuality of Intent?

22 Initial Concerns & Solutions
Reason Solution Time & scheduling (concern ranked high and equally shared) Infrastructures, “how things work, and is this workable” flexibility and adjustment, often working outside regular hours, prioritizing; principal awareness & support Project concerns, instructional design (mostly teachers) Lack of knowledge of project specifics, implementing the teaching Building knowledge of library guidelines / standards Professional ability / acceptance by partner (mostly librarians) Lack of experience discussion and communication or by investing in building a good working relationship Interaction with partner previous experience; lack of experience building a good working relationship by committing to the team work and helping each other Doubt of partner/colleague (only librarians) Previous experience with maintenance of commitment trying to organize the work as much as possible, or approaching it with a positive attitude

23 Planning Difficulties and Strengths
Clarity, preparation - goal, process, structure were clear, and prepared (37% of strengths identified) Time, scheduling (59% of difficulties identified) Team approach, felt connected/understanding other’s strengths and weaknesses (21%) Scoping out unit, content/focus, what want to accomplish and how, management, division of task (19%) Successful result/unit, quality of lesson/unit (20%) Infrastructure, resources, lack of computers (8%) Refinement, development, discussion, reflection (13%) Teamwork and interaction, different approaches, perspectives (6%) Reassurance - affective side, enjoyment, confidence (6%) Personal challenges, professional (lack of required skills/knowledge) or motivational (tiredness, feeling overwhelmed, procrastination) (7% - Librarians) Learning of new skills/content (3%)

24 Strengths in teaching together
Team approach, connecting two areas of expertise (dominant) Learning new skills/content from partner, the others’ skills (dominant) Affective side, reassurance, support, enjoyment, confidence, discussion Class management Individualized attention to students, differentiated instruction (mainly SL) Reinforcement, two teachers say the same Simultaneous teaching, two teachers present in classroom but engaged in different tasks Two different teaching styles/viewpoints – learning from each other Deeper, wider learning for students by connecting two areas Deeper interaction with students Better access to/use of relevant resources or easier to match resources to need Promotion of library, librarian

25 Difficulties during Project
Time, scheduling (30% of difficulties identified) Features inherent in the project, e. g. took longer than expected (13%) Students not motivated, not up for it (11%) Misadventures, unexpected situations, something came up (8%) Technology problems (11% L; 3% T) Librarian felt left out (6% L) Disrupted plans, not working in sync Teamwork, collaboration, interaction with partner

26 Changes in the ways they typically work:
Closer relationship to other partners in the school, and a better understanding of their needs and capacities. This understanding makes it easier to adjust to and work with them in the future. (51% T; 12% L) Changes in practical work routines, such as planning more within the project, or working at another location than customary. (24% T 22% L) No change (13% T) The librarians regarded their increased status and appreciation in the school as the biggest change the project brought them. (25% L) When librarians work closely with a trained teacher, they learn valuable instructional techniques, and gain a deeper understanding of the students’ learning process. The librarians grow as teachers (16% L) Confidence of librarians to start to market collaboration more, and reach out more actively to teachers pursuing more collaborative projects. (24%)

27 Factors Behind the Success of the Collaboration
Good team dynamics, chemistry, commitment to developing and maintaining the relationship (24% of factors for both T&L) Preparations, organization, effort (21% T&L) Motivation, dedication, engagement, vision, enthusiasm, commitment, drive (21%T/11%L) Student efforts, feedback, reinforcement (11%) Flexibility, creativity, openness to try on new things, adaptability, ability to enjoy (basic character of people involved) (9%) Knowledge, expertise, skills, strengths of other person or both (8%) ILILE workshop (8%) Community support (2%T 7%L = principal support)

28 Impact of collaboration on students
Impact of collaboration on students (N=number of instances of impact) Teacher % (N) Librarian Improved information literacy 61 (26) 66 (51) Learned technical skills 0 (0) 4 (3) Learned content knowledge 37 (16) 21 (16) Motivated, enjoyed 2 (1) Focused, actively participating, understand why do tasks 6 (5) Total Percentage 100 (43) 100 (78)

29 Evidence of Impact of Collaboration
(N=number of instances of impact) Teacher % (N) Librarian Content of final products 49 (21) 44 (36) Bibliography of final product 16 (7) 22 (18) Library system evidence, circulation, use of resources 7 (3) 5 (4) Informal observation, questions asked, relevant behavior (as observed) 28 (12) 21 (17) Enthusiasm 0 (0) 7 (6)

30 Personal Learning Outcomes
Deeper understanding of collaboration, and a stronger belief in its benefits. Development of professional skills, refinement of practice, and a more profound insight into pedagogical processes Deeper appreciation of the partners’ professionalism. This entailed both admiration for professional skills, as well as an understanding of what the partner wanted to accomplish. For teachers: Richer insights into student learning outcomes Acquire new information literacy skills and a new appreciation of library resources For Librarians Including the librarian in the actual teaching processes brought students closer to the library and its services: a professional reward

31 Subsequent Professional Relationship with Collaboration Partner
Working closely together at the collaborative project had brought the partners together. In almost all cases the subsequent relationship continued as a genuine friendship within and out of school, or as a supportive and highly valued working relationship. 40 % of the participants indicated a deeper understanding and respect for the others’ work, saw the partners’ efforts and professional goals; valuing of partners teaching style. 30 % of participants continued to refine and develop the structure that had developed through the first collaboration, and over time the model of collaboration stabilized. Partners continued to bounce ideas and brainstorm with each other, seek advice, outside of the formal collaborative structure. Ongoing consultative role: Teachers asked librarians for help related to information literacy instructions, while librarians consulted teachers for curriculum advice in order to adapt their information literacy instruction to the current curriculum content the teacher was addressing in class.

32 Positive Factors Contributing to Further Collaborations
Teachers Good outcome of the first collaboration Acquired collaboration skills Understanding of partner’s needs Undertaken on average 2 collaborations since ILILE project Librarians Good outcome of the first collaboration Marketing of library, status, reputation developed / spread in the school More confidence Undertaken on average 3 collaborations since ILILE project

33 Absence of further Collaboration
Teachers Time No opportunity Librarian Time Partner unwillingness

34 Incentives to Encourage More Collaborations
Teachers Time (50% of incentives identified) Tangibles (money, credits) (19%) Support by school / administrator – staff replacement, scheduling, release time (19%) Librarians Time (35% of incentives identified) Support by school / administrator – staff replacement, scheduling, release time (30%) Appreciation / validation by others, value and status recognized (13%)

35 Advice to Members of School Community Contemplating Instructional Collaborations
Do it for the kids: focus on the learning outcomes Just do it; go for it / give it a try “Go for it! Shake up those laminated lesson plans and jump in!” Start with something / someone familiar: build gradually Work to build social relations as a foundation for developing instructional partnerships Prepare and plan, divide responsibilities, and revise as needed; build a team of equals, build commitment “listen to each others expectations” Flexible, open attitude Get training: the profession’s exhortation to collaboration seems to deny the complexity of dynamics and relationships – then ILILE came along

36 Guiding Principles for Effective Instructional Collaborations
Principle of sustained and guided development Principle of transcendent belief in instructional collaboration Principle of mutual intent Principle of socialization Principle of complementarity Principle of integration: sum of parts is greater than the whole Principle of “where there is a will there is a way”

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