Not by Chance Alone

During my Master’s studies this past year, I was greatly inspired by a quote from Dr. Ross J. Todd that continues to inspire me.  Todd states:

School libraries as powerful and engaging places in the lives of students do not happen by chance or force. They are achieved through wise and deliberate decisions and actions and instructional interventions on our part; actions, interventions and productive learning partnerships that enable us to work in transformative ways in our schools. (Todd, 2006)

I’d like to expand on Todd’s words to include an even broader scope.

Classrooms, libraries and schools as powerful and engaging places in the lives of learners (students and adults) do not happen by chance or force. They are achieved through wise and deliberate decisions and actions and instructional interventions on the part of all stakeholders; actions, interventions and productive learning partnerships that enable us to work in transformative ways in our schools.

As a newly assigned teacher-librarian and newly appointed school administrator for the upcoming fall, this new blog aims to get to the heart of schools as powerful and engaging places for all learners by asking “What are the decisions, actions and inteventions that matter? How do we facilitate such productive learning partnerships in our schools where all the learners are committed to work in transformative ways?”

So, without further delay, let’s get down to business.

ACTION #1:  Let’s abandon the notion of expert and become true lifelong learners! 

This morning, Dr. Scott McLeod wrote a thoughtful post entitled Blah Blah Blah Life Long Learning Blah Blah Blah. For a long time, I have read and followed McLeod’s posts and tweets; and his post today clearly shows why you should be, too.  McLeod challenges educators by stating:

We’re supposed to be about learning in schools, right? How many schools have a mission or vision or purpose statement that says “blah blah blah life long learning blah blah blah?” 97%? 99%? 100%? And yet we do a terrible job of modeling this as educators (and parents).

How many of us purposefully and explicitly model the learning process for our children? How many of us stand up in front of kids and say, “This is what I’m learning right now. I’m not any good at the moment but this is the process I’m following and this is what my plan is for achieving success. And I’ll give you an update in a few weeks, and then another few weeks, and so on, about how I’m doing?” How many of us purposefully and explicitly show our students what it means to struggle with learning, overcome obstacles, and emerge on the other side more skilled and more knowledgeable than we were before? You already know the answer: nearly zero. (McLeod, 2011)

I don’t think I need to say more than has already been said by McLeod.  Let’s abandon our “Sage on the Stage” mentality and become a purposeful, deliberate learner who explicitly models the lifelong learning process for the students AND adults in your building.  Share your own professional inquiry question(s), clearly articulate how you are planning to further your learning, highlight the actions, decisions and interventions you are undertaking as a result! Then of course share the results–good, bad or great!  

Todd, R. (2006). From learning to read to reading to learn: School libraries, literacy and guided inquiry. International Association of School Librarianship. Selected Papers from the … Annual Conference. 1-18. Retrieved from Proquest Education Database.