Saturday, 18 March 2017

How teacher - librarian collaboration can lead to 'higher order thinking' and 'growth mindset' in students.


                                                
Every day I hear teachers talk about about new teaching theories. The two that I want to talk about today are 'growth mindset' and 'higher order thinking' as they link perfectly with information literacy.
Teachers are constantly dealing with changes in the curriculum and I regularly hear it being said that some of these new ideas are not new they are just packaged under a different name. If teachers have been doing this for year the pressure to produce something amazing is high. However this does not always mean that it needs to be all singing all dancing, sometimes just doing it right and understand the link yourselves can be enough. I thought I would use this blog post to remind teachers how librarians can help with both of these theories through looking at a senario that many teachers come across regularly.

Example: Research topic on the Tudors.

Version 1 - teacher works alone - little potential for 'higher order thinking' or 'growth mindset'

  • Teacher has found some useful books which are shared within the classroom. Most of these are the teachers own resources, some have been taken from the school library. 
  • Teacher spends hours looking for appropriate websites which are shared and given to the students via a file or on j2e (a new platform for getting the 'to the learning quicker')
  • Students are told they are doing a project on Tudors and have to produce a powerpoint, poster or leaflet. They are also expected to present what they find. 
  • Teacher books the laptops for a research lesson.
  • Students research Tudors through the linked file of websites. 
  • Students make notes by copying directly from the books or websites. Although, they are told not to copy and to write in their own words.
  • Students are then allowed to search the internet to find more information. More copying is then done.
Presentation 
  • The powerpoint has all the information on each slide so during the presentation they read every word from each slide.  There is no referencing. 
  • The poster allows a little more presentation skills as it is harder to read from but still every word is read out and again no referencing. 
  • The leaflet is also unreferenced and is put on the classroom wall. 
Learning outcomes

Students find out more about the Tudors through copying from resources provided by teacher. Can cut and paste pictures from Google and can produce a powerpoint, poster or leaflet.

The teacher is unable to check where the information came from due to no referencing. A real problem if a good piece of work is handed in and the teacher now wants to share it on social media. No higher order thinking has been done as all the informant has been given to them. No evaluation of websites has been done as no referencing is needed.

Version 2 teacher collaborates with librarian with higher order thinking and growth mindset. 


  • Teacher and librarian plan topic together. 
  • Librarian makes sure there are good books in the school library and searches for websites to add to the library catalogue saving the teacher time. 
  • Teacher shares the websites that he/she has already found and they too are added to the library catalogue. 
  • Students are told they are doing a project on Tudors and have to produce a powerpoint, poster or leaflet. They are also expected to present what they find. 
  • Librarian and teachers co-teach the importance of keywords and research questions. 
  • Librarian demonstrates how students can find books and websites from the library catalogue.
  • Students use these skills to find books and useful websites. (higher order thinking)
  • Students are expected to read - no note taking is allowed at this stage. 
  • librarian demonstrates other online academic resources available such as Britannica online.
  • Librarian supports a lesson on note taking and referencing. 
  • Librarian and teacher demonstrate how powerpoint is used in a presentations (importance of pictures and information in the notes and not on the slides) including a lesson on presentation skills. 
  • Reminder that referencing is expected.
  • presentations are given peer feedback and references are checked. 
  • students - how can I improve next time? (growth mindset)
  • Here is a case study of such a lesson
Learning outcomes
  • Growth mindset
  • higher order thinking
Students independently find out more about the Tudors. They are able to independently find information which is age appropriate and focused on answering the question rather than a broad topic. All academic resources are used and referenced. All written in the students own words, no copy and pasting.

If a good piece of work has been handed in it can be shared on social media because the correct referencing has been done. A great example of best practice.

The reason this is important

The benefits to working with the librarian is that the students are able to start higher order thinking. They begin to understand that research is not a quick process but if it is done well it can be really interesting and they will learn something. They learn and understand the importance of referencing and giving credit.

Teacher also benefit from this process as they are now skilled in how to use the school library catalogue, academic resources and they too understand how and why referencing is important for future lessons.

If you want to read more I wrote a previous blog on digital literacy that link with this.