Updated: Nov 18, 2018
Do you use webinars for PD? If you have not come across edWeb.net you should take a look. You do have to sign up but it is free #PD. They are American based so I never take part real time but if you sign up for a webinar you are then able to listen back at a convenient time. It is always good to listen to what is happening in other countries. My learning network is all over the world which really helps me to push my thinking and understanding which is good for me and the people I work for.
I recently listened to Collaboration Impacts Students' Learning with Michelle Luhtala, Library Department Chair, New Canaan High School, CT and wanted to share my two take aways from this session on collaboration.
1. School Librarians - 'We are in the business of saying yes'
Saying yes to everything a teacher asks can be rather risky but if it opens the door to a conversation then it's job done. Whenever a new person starts in my department I always tell them to say yes to any request. This scares them a lot but I also tell them to say that they will need to come and talk to the team about it too. I know a lot of school librarians don't have the luxury of asking others in this way but saying yes and then thinking about it will give you time to think the request through and decide how you can help.
If a teacher has asked for your support there is always a way to help. It may not always be exactly what they asked for but most teachers are happy with whatever you can offer them. Don't say no say 'let me think about this.'
2. 'Why is this important?' Let's not forget the students.
Talking to teachers about collaboration is an important part of our role but what I learnt from this webinar is that students deserve the right to understand why this is important to them too. I had never really thought about this before and I think that giving the students the message we are trying to share with teachers can help our cause. If I can share the impact with the students they may start asking for support from the school librarian too. I intend to create a slideshow that I can share with students and I will be watching the impact.
When I do collaborate I will remember to add information for the students showing them the impact that the information I am about to teach them will have on their grades. Letting them know that there is a real reason that I am in the lesson.
Hopefully little changes like this will begin to make a difference.
There is a lot of research showing that collaboration between teachers and school librarians makes a difference to student academic attainment. To learn more click here.