Posts Tagged Education

Librarian Education Beyond the Degree

In 6th Thread of the Atlas of New Librarianship, there were so many ideas that stood out to me. The biggest one is that the education of new librarians cannot end with the degree but must continue beyond that with continuing education. One of the things touched on is the need for a program to facilitate the development of librarian practitioners in their professional growth. Workshops, while viewed as beneficial, are not organized or structured enough to meet the needs of the population alone.

While I would agree, based on my reading, that a practical doctorate degree would be useful for those in the field as opposed to the more philosophical research degree for academics, I don’t believe this is necessary for all. Take teaching for example, those who earn a undergrad degree and initial teaching certificate must return in a few years to do a master’s and earn a professional certificate. However, if you have a different undergrad program, you can still earn a master’s in education, receive an initial certificate, and apply for a professional certificate after earning a set number of development hours. Teaching certificates in New York used to be permanent, however, that is no longer true now teachers need to maintain their certificate by taking part in professional development activities such as workshops.

I think the same idea could be applied to librarianship, to maintain your professional status a certain number of workshop/meeting hours would need to be logged and recognized every, let’s say, 5 years. That would give the librarian time to attend different workshops and classes they are interested in. The courses don’t have to be prescribed, the individual can follow their interests. However, perhaps when a set number of credits are earned in a topic of study they would be recognized as a “mentor” in the field (If you think of a better term let me know). This program would facilitate and legitimize the continuing growth of librarians in the professional community while reducing the need for those already holding a masters to pursue a doctoral degree.

 

 

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Creating Lifelong Learners

The idea of creating lifelong learners is certainly not a new one in the field of education. You can commonly see this phrase used in mission statements of schools and teachers, but what does it mean? I was reading for one of my classes at SU and was really caught by a definition of information literacy the ALA wrote in 1989.

“To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information… Ultimately, information literate people are those who have learned how to learn… They are people prepared for life-long learning, because they can always find the information needed for any task or decision at hand.” (p. 227)

While many teachers would no doubt agree with this statement, I know it wasn’t one that I read when I was forming my ideas on how I would reach my students. The some of the key knowledge which was imparted to me on how people learn was in the Constructivist model, which says that people are active learners. Teachers can facilitate a students learning, but they can’t simply impart their knowledge and expect student will learn the information.

Information literate people are better able to work within the world because they have learned how to evaluate the information they are presented with, how to find further information on the topic, and how to utilize that information to achieve their purpose. Furthermore, because of their self-propelled quest for knowledge, information literate learners are also independent learners. They are people who work to improve the community they belong to by sharing the information they have learned. (p. 226)

All that sounds like something to aspire to personally and for students or library members. Therefore, the goal is to reach our students and the community through activities and exercises that allow them to learn and implement the skills of information literacy.

Hinchliffe, L.J. (2011). Instruction. In R.E. Bopp & L.C. Smith (Eds.), Reference and information services (221-260). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, LLC.

 

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Creating Knowledge

I just finished reading the second thread in “The Atlas of New Librarianship,” which is about the importance of conversations in the process of creating knowledge. Now, my first thought on this was, well of course they are. You ask questions to learn and the answers of those questions help you to deepen your understanding of a topic. What I didn’t consider was that sitting here in front of my computer I’m having a conversation with myself while writing this. Yeah, I’m talking to myself. Not to worry though, it’s all happening inside my head (this time). Oh by the way, while reading this so are you… creepy huh?

The main argument in this chapter, in my opinion, is that a book can’t teach you. What it can do however, is help you teach yourself by causing you to ask yourself questions about what you read. Huh? This is something pretty important for educators to consider when working with learners. You can facilitate their learning, assisting them in processing the information (more conversation). You can also encourage them to ask themselves those questions (like for example by keeping a journal). These questions clarify the information and lead the learner to make new connections for themselves.

Everyone has knowledge and that knowledge is not the same as any other persons. Through experiences, your worldview, you interpret facts and information in unique ways. Engaging in conversations with other people enables more questions to be asked, even if one of the participants is an expert on the topic. There are always new ideas that can be incorporated into existing knowledge.

Lastly, I’d like to point out that knowledge is the lowest order in the original Bloom’s Taxonomy (http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html). The real question is what are you going to do with that knowledge?

PS. Are you talking to yourself again?

 

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