Conferences, Musings

Musings on Ross Todd at SWBOCES

Nothing Dr. Todd said was particularly new to me, but much of it bears repeating…

  • The library should be the heart of the school, and the heart of the library should be innovative learning/innovative teaching
  • Our current culture of testing and teaching to the test leads to superficial knowledge (what do I need to know to pass?) – how do we create excitement over the intellectual life of the mind?
  • Teachers are the single most important thing in student learning: we are teachers, and we need to engage and excite students.
  • We’ve built a culture of fear around technology – yes, there are issues (privacy, access to ‘inappropriate’ content, etc.) but we have to give students the ethical and intellectual skills to use it well
  • The biggest problem of the information age?  We’re finding stuff to death


He then talked about what librarians do, and how we’re always talking about “our” curriculum.  Au contraire – we shouldn’t have a curriculum.  Instead, we help students learn the school’s curriculum.  How?  With collaboration and modeling ethics, innovation and inquiry.


“Liberate – Empower – Motivate – Reponsibility – Integrity”


We need to create a culture of intellectual, academic and social engagement in libraries – students need help moving from merely finding to doing something with what they’ve found.


Now, here are my questions (musings?):

  • what about administrative buy-in?  Many administrators see the library curriculum as “other” and external to the testable stuff (particularly in Lower Schools).
  • What about teacher buy-in?  At Hackley, we have many very qualified teachers – if I started to say, ‘here’s how you do the research and here’s how you’re going to interact with that information’ I suspect many of them would feel that I’m treading into their territory.  That doesn’t preclude collaboration, but some teachers would rather I be there for 5-10 min previewing how to use a database and then leave.  Do I refuse to go to those classes?  Do I insist on “partnership or nothing”?
  • Why are we being charged with this?  Where is the move at NCTE or other organizations to insist on collaboration with the librarian?  The call for change can’t come from us, it has to come from others as well.


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