Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Who are our peers?

Imagine from
http://burnspark.a2schools.org/burnspark.home/home
Isn't that the cutest little school house ever? It reminds me of the really old schools that were built around the time of the Depression (when public schooling really picked up). Old schools have rich histories, but they're old, which means there are some really great things, and some not so great things. The library we visited on Friday was a major change from what we might expect in a "modern" library. For example, there are large windows covering the entire wall, big window panes bring in lots of light (and I'm sure ruin heating and cooling bills, sorry, my family is full of contractors). It's long and narrow, but you can see most of it from the door. There is a back corner that you have to walk around to see, which I'm sure would be more of a concern if this were a middle or high school. The lesson we watched was one of those times when you know they're teaching because they have been assigned to, but they haven't necessarily had the time to collaborate or make a really effective lesson. I spent most of the time helping one student in particular, she was clearly capable of using the laptop, but wouldn't focus unless you were there prodding her along. It was fun to be at an elementary school for a bit, but further engrained in me the value of flexible scheduling.

Our discussion focused on MAME and who comprises our professional network (our peers) in the world of school libraries. For the sake of being on a public blog, I'm just going to say we had a very frank discussion about how we felt. I agree that our peers are those in our class, the newer wave of school librarians who, I think, are riding the tide of education reform and the AASL standards for 21st century learners. People of my generation and just a bit younger are frustrated with the state of the world, and with the state of education. I've had countless conversations with friends from high school who have worried about sending their kids to public schools because educational standards are just not cutting it. My own personal feelings reflect this as well, we are not providing the kind of education our students need! This is why I'm in the field of education though, because we can make it better. What we can't do is jump the gun and expect it all to be fixed overnight.

So, let me be honest, I think conferences as they were are dying, and they should. They should give way to a richer learning experience, with workshops and hands-on. The educational experiences we want for our students should be what we have for ourselves. Yes, MAME this time did incorporate that, but was that only because we (meaning Kristin) made sure that's what we had? I guess the bottom line is (for this argument and for education and the world in general) that the world is changing, we can either acknowledge that and do our best to work through it, or we can be like the man who turned his back on the Tsunami.

4 comments:

  1. Well, we didn't foot the bill for the presenters -- that's always an important factor! Other than that, what happens at BP stays at BP!

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  2. I agree with your idea about conferences as they were becoming a thing of the past. Hands-on is always a good way to get some real learning done! And yes, why should we expect anything less than what we want from learning for our students?

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  3. We shouldn't be turning our backs on any tsunamis! I think that education and librarianship are both changing fields, and we kind of get to enjoy and participate in the process of discovering how both will end up. I'm wondering what these fields will look like when I retire. :)

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  4. I was interested in your comment about flexible scheduling. I have been thinking about that a lot. Yes, Rachel's assignment did not tie into anything that classroom teachers were trying to accomplish- directly. But, it still was a lesson that practiced literacy- a good thing:) How would a flexible schedule fix this problem? It would also take collaboration, cooperation and planning- which is not occurring at the school according to Rachel. I think it would be difficult to incorporate flexible scheduling at an elementary school, though I'd like to see it in action. What are your thoughts?

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Thanks for commenting!