Monday, 16 October 2017

In house professional development for teachers. Start with your school library.

We all assume that teachers know and understand the value of school libraries. We would hope that they encourage their students to check out books, use the online resources and credit what they find. Although there are many teachers that do, there are also an equal many that don't. We regularly talk about advocacy in the librarian world, how we should be out there reminding teachers about the support they can get from the school librarian but there is only so much one school librarian can do in a school to encourage use. In many schools this advocacy is through talking to teachers individually which can be very time consuming. 

I recently took part in a twitter chat about teachers Professional Development (PD) and the question was  "What professional development should teachers have to assure we are eliminating the achievement gap? #satchat" and my response was this:- 

All teachers should know and understand how their school library and librarian can support teaching and learning. Do you? #satchat

How can we achieve this? Once a year the school librarian should be asked to provide compulsory PD to all teaching staff to:-

·       Remind and inform teachers, who do use the library, about new resources and lessons available
·       Inform new teachers to the school about what the school library provides and to let them know  about the collaborative teaching available.

If this happens student attainment will increase. How do I know this? There have been several studies about this, this one especially is worth reading.  

Williams, D; Wavell, C; Morrison, K (2013) SCHOOL LIBRARIES on LEARNING. Robert Gordon University Institute for Management, Governance & Society (IMaGeS)

Teachers can't use something they don't know about so it is up to the senior leadership team to ensure that a resource they are paying for gets used to it’s full advantage. Not all teachers feel comfortable with using the school library catalogue or online resources and that is where the school librarian can support them and their students in the classroom.

Collaborative teaching with the school librarian can lead to impressive student learning, we just need to make sure that teachers know how to start the conversation with the school librarian and to open the doors of their classroom to extra resources and support and PD is the perfect starting point.

School's Library Service in Guernsey recently ran a whole inset day on raising accademic attainment through your school library. Read about it here.

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