School Librarians as Significant Other: Using Online Professional Learning Communities for the Development of Pre-Service Teachers

School Librarians as Significant Other: Using Online Professional Learning Communities for the Development of Pre-Service Teachers

Lara M. Luetkehans (Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA) and Rebecca D. Hunt (Northern Illinois University, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4361-1.ch006
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Abstract

This chapter explores three strands of research: professional learning communities, the significant others in the development of pre-service teachers, and teacher-school librarian collaboration to develop a strategy for using Online Professional Learning Communities (OPLC) as a means for fostering career-long, mutually beneficial collaborations among teachers and school librarians. A previous study of such an OPLC comprised of pre-service and in-service teachers, university faculty, and school librarians is described. The role of the school librarian as a member of the OPLC is examined, particularly as a significant other (Karmos & Jacko, 1977) in the professional development of pre-service teachers. Recommendations include the key elements of creating OPLCs that are inclusive and demonstrate the value school librarians bring to this community.
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Introduction

Collaborative relationships are mutually beneficial for teachers and school librarians. Collaboration fosters professional development and networking, advocacy, and improved practice (Kimmel, 2012; Montiel-Overall, 2008; Moreillon, 2008). Practice in developing collaboration skills should begin with initial preparation. Westheimer (2008) recommends that professional learning communities for new teachers include both novice and veteran teachers working together around a common model of “teacher as learner.” In this chapter, we will describe a model for creating an online professional learning community that includes the school librarian as a “significant other” during the student teaching experience (Karmos and Jacko, 1977).

This chapter aims to demonstrate how the use of on an online professional learning community that includes pre-service teachers, cooperating teachers, university faculty, and school librarians provides a solid foundation for the professional development of teachers and their future collaborations with school librarians. The authors will introduce the rationale and theory underpinning teacher-school librarian collaboration, pre-service teacher development, and professional learning communities, a lived example, and findings from previous research. Additionally, this chapter will promote the mutually beneficial outcomes for the school librarians and pre-service teachers who engage in a professional learning community. The chapter concludes with specific strategies for using online professional learning communities to facilitate school librarian-teacher collaboration early in a teacher’s career and possible areas for future research.

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