The teacher librarian is uniquely situated to have a strong influence upon curriculum development. As part of the school leadership team they are able to keep others abreast of developments in technology useful in school education. I think it would be remiss to not collaborate with the TL, both as staff and principal, as their access to resources and use of inquiry based learning has been proven to improve student learning. You can’t ignore the evidence.
Although I’ve come across the Habits of Mind in my teaching I found the HOM paper fascinating and read it all. In schools we are so often squeezed into pockets of time to teach and then governed by assessment and NAPLAN results that the fun stuff – the real learning – gets lost. The ‘why’s’ of our daily business are consumed in the ‘just get it done’ because we have so much to cover. I always find myself fighting against wanting to take my students on that intellectual journey instead of racing off to maths groups (and have done sometimes to my own detriment). Hopefully somewhere amongst this technology can help us make that easier. Using a constructivist approach is the only way but it comes with its challenges.
These are some of the challenges facing TLs that I can see:
• Lack of cooperation from staff who are behaviourist, basic skills of student collaboration not present, keeping teachers up to date with skill set required to use technology – professional development an ongoing focus, restructure of assessment criteria and philosophy.
How do the dimensions of quality teaching relate to inquiry learning and project-based learning approaches?
• The creation of knowledge is where students really learn, therefore the intellectual quality of the lesson/ subject will be increased when project based and inquiry learning styles are employed.
• The quality classroom environment caters for different styles of learning and ways to display intelligence (Habits Of Mind). Inquiry based learning allows students to present their knowledge in relevant ways, increasingly with the use of technology.
• Creating a quality classroom environment shows that teachers recognise that learning is a process, not an end point with a goal. The purpose is to develop skills (inquiry) and use them to formulate new knowledge through thinking, questioning, clarifying, reasoning and researching.
• Significance relates to the connection the student has with the knowledge. The habits of mind required to construct the knowledge are important here in developing inquiry skills. The ability to persist in finding suitable answers through a web search for example, are directly related to the students motivation in finding answers to their questions.