School Librarian and Teacher Candidate Collaboration

School Librarian and Teacher Candidate Collaboration

Barbara Ray (Northeastern State University, USA) and Connie Cassity (Northeastern State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4361-1.ch002
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Change in teacher attitudes toward teacher-librarian collaboration begins in teacher preparation programs (Conderman & Johnston-Rodriguez, 2009). Through the assignment detailed in this chapter, teacher candidates prepared for teaching with a basic understanding that collaboration with school librarians could enhance their lessons. In turn, school librarian candidates engaged in a collaborative exercise, working with these future teachers. The authors describe the process for this collaborative project and present various rubrics, templates, and direction sheets used in the assignment. Qualitative responses and reflections on the collaborative experience are reported for both the teacher and school library candidates.
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Collaboration Defined

There are many perceptions of collaboration. Some believe that if books are brought on a cart to the classroom, the school librarian has collaborated with the teacher. Collaboration is more than coordinating resources, brief encounters for discussing units, or pulling resources for a unit of study. David Loertscher defines collaboration as the teacher and the school librarian bringing together materials, information, and information technology to enhance a learning activity (Peterson, 1999). Collaboration is a process in which the teacher and the school librarian plan together, each with a stake in the outcome. The process of collaboration involves equally sharing the goals and objectives of a unit, deciding what resources will provide information and understanding, sharing the expertise and skills of both teacher and librarian, and determining how to assess for student learning. Collaboration should improve on the construction and delivery of the unit, enhancing the lesson.

Collaboration does not need to be an extensive unit of study comprising several weeks of work in the library. Oftentimes, the best collaboration is a small assignment that allows the teacher and the librarian to get to learn the lesson content and the skills of each party. Collaboration need not be formal. When informal evaluation and feedback occur, there is a less threatening environment, allowing educators to act as impromptu mentors to each other (Marcoux, 2007). Collaboration often starts with a short lesson and then blossoms into collaboration that builds with each year and new assignment.

Collaboration is not a natural activity. It works best when there is a school culture with an encouraging environment that promotes sharing, trust, positive interpersonal relations, and support for collaboration (Williamson, Archibald, & McGregor, 2010). Collaboration fosters student achievement and makes creating and delivering the lesson more enjoyable for both student and teacher (Kaplan, 2010; Roberson, Applin, & Schweinle, 2005; Schwelik & Fredericka, 2011; Small & Snyder, 2010).

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