Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
by Lisa O
Derek Wenmouth’s Challenges, changes and trends blog posting of 31 January is interesting and covers a lot of ground. It is well worth a read.
He has linked to the Australia New Zealand Horizon report (see our research page to read more about this report), and highlights some possibilities for education in NZ such as a National Education Network and local schools’ networks.
After looking through his slides, I went back to Derek’s initial questions:
I decided to seek some practical answers to these questions. A friend of mine has headed up several very large companies employing very large workforces. So I asked:
“Given that so many of the jobs of today didn’t exist when the people in them were at school, what are the most important skills that we as a society, should be ensuring our students have for a future which is unknowable today?”
His answers without hesitation were:
· Problem Solving
· Confidence - (to try new things)
· The freedom to try new things and to fail
· Open mindedness
· Outward looking
Are we facilitating our students to develop these skills? My friend said Creativity without hesitation. Sir Ken Robinson has been writing and speaking about the role that schools play in creating or stifling creativity. Take a look at his various Ted talks to learn more.
Bloom’s Taxonomy (revised) puts Create at the top of the pyramid. What are we doing to ensure that our students leave school with the skill of Creativity? How about problem solving? Confidence? The Freedom to try new things without fear of failure? Outward looking? Open Minded?
In supporting teaching and learning in schools, the library and the librarian have an important role to play in fostering the development of these skills. There are a variety of ways that school libraries can play a part.
One way is through collaborative teaching using inquiry in the library. This encourages students to be creative and to engage in problem solving.
Pursuing their research to satisfactory conclusions while guided through the inquiry process will build confidence and, will allow the freedom to try different approaches including changing course after failure; learning along the way.
Students who learn through guided inquiry and resource based learning are encouraged to think laterally and to be open-minded.
Another way librarians can contribute to the development of these attributes is through the work we do with literacy. Great school librarians encourage readers. The more children read, the more they love to read. The more children love to read, the more they read. Good readers experience more success at school. Success breeds confidence across the curriculum.
Reading widely across genre and format means students will be exposed to many ideas, familiar and new. This exposure helps to develop open-minded attitudes, encouraging students to think laterally, try new things, and seek creative solutions to problems.
Of course one way that all educators including librarians can encourage these skills is through modelling them; showing our students what open- minded, creative, confident, outward looking, and comfort with failure look like.
There will be many other ways that librarians along with other educators are facilitating the development of these important skills. It would be great to have some responses to this post of things that you are doing out in schools to encourage the development of these important future focussed skills.
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