Just last week a dinner guest asked me to elaborate on my occupation because today, he said with assured confidence, there’s no need for librarians, Google can provide all the answers!
With desperate determination to not let him see my eyes roll in despair, I launched into a defence of our profession explaining why Google wasn’t the panacea for all learning. It’s a topic I blogged about more than five years ago: 10 reasons why Google can’t replace learning
Ho-hum ….. I guess the message just needs to be repeated and repeated and more – much more – needs to be said and done to continue impressing on the public the valuable role performed by those of us working in the field of librarianship.
Then I came across this fabulous post on the State Library of Victoria blog: So you want to be a librarian? For those who have been in education for a while it serves as a lovely trip down memory lane. For those of us who are newer to the field of librarianship however, it provides a chance to look back, contemplate and realize how vastly different the role of librarians are today in the 21st Century.
From my own vantage point, working as a teacher librarian in a senior school library, its comforting to know and see how much our image has changed. I’m left questioning though whether we are doing enough to communicate how much we can teach, assist, mentor, guide and support our library patrons – both students and teachers.
Publicizing all that we can do and give needs to extend to the wider school community as well if we are to achieve that end goal of helping the general public understand why we cannot be replaced by Google!
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It was a long time ago that I shared the message here on NovaNews which was given to me by one of my first professors – Dr Leo Murphy:
Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will grow to be that man.”
Back then, I never dreamed that his words would have such a huge and long lasting impact on my professional and personal approach to education and learning. Both in and out of the classroom, I hold dear to the principal that success breeds more success and that achievement feeds into continued achievement and growth. I have always believed that a positive, warm and non threatening environment in the classroom in which risk taking is encouraged are important ingredients to nurture lifelong learning skills. I also believe that the same holds true to successfully encourage teachers to pursue their own lifelong learning and wrote a series of articles in Educational Technology Solutions in 2015 actively promoting this concept. (See Articles 1-5 ETS listed in the side panel here on NovaNews under the Favourite Posts tab)
Written in my very early days of blogging, I really summed up my own philosophy well when I wrote:
Providing our students with tools to develop as lifelong learners must be paramount in our approach to teaching. Providing our students with opportunities and situations in which they can safely and confidently develop knowledge and skills should be equally paramount in our approach to teaching. As I have eluded to in past blog posts, risk taking in a safe and secure environment is a wonderful way to learn. Establishing a level playing field, in which we recognize that teachers and students are able to learn much from each other is also equally valuable. But establishing expectations that our students can become whoever it is they wish, is really a focus that has dominated my approach to teaching. Instilling confidence in our students that they are able to learn and achieve at a level well beyond their present level is a gift that I strongly believe is of the utmost importance in an approach to teaching.”
Not long after, I encapsulated my philosophy to learning into a graphic:
So coming across a TED video by Carol Dweck, a world-renowned Stanford University psychologist, titled “The power of believing that you can improve!” vindicated my educational philosophy. Reporting on researched based evidence in terms she describes as
the power of yet vs the power of not yet”
Dweck forcefully presents the argument for motivating ways in which to engage, challenge and inspire our students to grow and succeed. Throwing up rhetorical questions for us to ponder, Dweck questions how we are raising our children:
- Are we raising kids who are obsessed with getting A’s?
- Are we raising kids who don’t know how to dream big dreams?
- And are we raising kids who need constant validation of their success?
Dweck talks about building bridges:
- praise kids, not for their talent but for the process they adopt to engage: their effort, their strategies, their focus, their perseverance, their improvement – traits which will develop hardy and resilient kids
Dweck speaks clearly and forcefully. Take 10 minutes to listen to her advice and the research evidence she has in abundance to support that advice!
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There are so many inspirational people in the world. TED and TEDx talks are replete with them.
This TEDx was published less than a month ago. In it we hear Roei Sadan talk about his latest challenge and along the way he shares advice which is not only meaningful but is very moving.
You may have heard of Roei Sadan previously. He received world wide media coverage as he completed his solo journey cycling around the world. It took him five years to complete. In that time he traversed 66,000 kilometers, 42 countries and six continents. An amazing feat.
Six months ago Roei embarked on his next challenge – climbing The Himalayas. But he slipped and fell over 500 meters. Roei was very badly wounded, injured in every body part, including his head.
Roei set himself a goal to present at this February 16, 2016 TEDx to share what he calls ‘The Dreamer Toolbox”. They are four simple tools he used daily when climbing mountains and still uses today.
- The Mountain Always Looks Bigger From A Distance
- Be Grateful For Challenges
- Not Every Dream Needs To Be Fulfilled
- Put Your Ego Aside
Take the time to listen to this man sharing his advice. What he has to share applies to each and everyone of us and provides such valuable lessons for the students in our schools.
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Being free to direct our own learning is a gift.
The days of ‘one size fits all’ type learning programs, so typical of teacher training programs and professional development programs rife in our schools can at last be replaced by online learning programs in which teachers can determine their own learning path.
Writing about the inspirational value of learning online is an opportunity that has been given to me by Education Technology Solutions, an Australian based publication.
This, the fourth in a series of articles I have written for this magazine around the theme of lifelong learning: Be inspired! Learn Online! in which I describe a range of issues relating to online learning programs including the exciting possibility of schools developing their own ‘in house’ online learning programs has just been published in Education Technology Solutions – Issue 68, October/November 2015.
ABSTRACT: Online learning programs are a tangible alternative to traditional professional learning programs and enable participants to learn anything, anytime, anywhere with anybody in their local or global community. Online learning is a powerful way to increase skills, power lifelong learning and rejuvenate how teachers learn. Learning and sharing in cyberspace with educators across the world enables experienced and inexperienced teachers alike to share and exchange ideas, thoughts, and pedagogy.
Also published on the Educational Technology Solutions website, I’m pleased to also be able to share my article here:
October 7, 2015 by
By Bev Novak.
Teachers, like the students in their schools, need to discover the joy of learning and its inherent power.
Whether it is the exploration of new skills, new tools or new pedagogy, the value of pursuing topics of personal interest in an online learning program in which self-directed exploration and discovery feature is a very powerful way to engage and excite the interest of teachers and can be the catalyst that lays the foundation for continued lifelong learning.
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The freedom to learning anything, anytime, anywhere and with absolutely anybody is a gift that today’s online world affords educators. It is a gift which empowers educators to create their own learning opportunities and challenges and enables them to meet up with other like-minded people who have similar interests.
Writing about the process of learning within the safe boundaries of a Personal Learning Network is an opportunity which has been given to me by Education Technology Solutions, an Australian based publication. This, the third in a series of articles I have written for this magazine around the theme of lifelong learning: Develop a Personal Learning Network to inspire lifelong learning in which I describe the nature of PLNs, how to create one and what can be gained from participating in one, has just been published – Issue 67, August/September 2015.
ABSTRACT: Encouraging teachers to become self-starters, who are able to take control of their own learning, design its path and learn based on their own interests and needs should be the aim of all school professional learning programs. Participation in Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) is a resource which can liberate teachers from the confines of traditional learning opportunities such as those offered in staff meetings, curriculum days, workshops and conferences. PLNs in which connections with other learners is a key component is the perfect vehicle to attain this aim. Participation in a PLN is both exhilarating and inspirational and is the essence of lifelong learning!
Also published online on the Educational Technology Solutions website, I’m pleased to also be able to share my article here:
July 23, 2015 by
By Bev Novak.
Encouraging teachers to become lifelong learners should be the aim of each school’s professional learning program. Learning success inspires a sense of achievement, self-satisfaction, increased confidence and motivates continued learning, leaving teachers feeling empowered to set their own agenda and pursue knowledge just for the sake of it.
To motivate this kind of learning, there is perhaps no better resource than that of Personal Learning Networks (PLNs), a resource which can liberate teachers from the confines of traditional learning opportunities such as those offered in staff meetings, curriculum days, workshops and conferences. PLNs, in which connections with other learners is a key component, are both exhilarating and inspirational.
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I’m passionate about the importance of teachers not just modelling lifelong learning, but being active learners themselves.
No matter how busy we are, making time to read, engage, discuss, learn and share is an essential practice. School administrators need to play an active role in not just encouraging this practice, but making it an achievable goal for our teachers. It’s time to consider alternate ways to excite teachers’ interest in their own lifelong learning.
The second in a series of articles I was asked to write for Education Technology Solutions Reinvigorate professional learning programs to inspire lifelong learning! has just been published – Issue 66, June/July 2015.
ABSTRACT: Exciting, stimulating and meaningful learning programs in our schools are vital to entice teachers to become lifelong learners. Alternate program delivery which incorporates creating time for teachers to learn on the job and encourages professional reading, active use of social media and a new look at conference attendance as well as exploring how the skills of both students and teacher librarians can contribute to the professional learning of teachers should be considered as ways to upend traditional professional learning programs.
Also published online on the Educational Technology Solutions website, my article can be read here:
June 5, 2015 by
By Bev Novak.
Exciting, stimulating and meaningful learning programs in schools are vital to entice teachers to become lifelong learners.
Apart from updating basic skills, teachers must constantly master new skills and new pedagogy that continue to evolve at an overwhelming rate in a fast-paced world. Rather than having to sit back and wait for learning opportunities to come to them in the form of staff meetings, curriculum days, workshops or conferences, teachers should be encouraged to embrace those many learning opportunities that constantly present themselves in both formal and informal settings. By developing independent learning skills, teachers will discover a wealth of learning opportunities they never knew existed.
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