An Exploration of the Benefits of an Indigenous Community Learning Center's Mini-School Library

By Cabanilla, Gianina | School Libraries Worldwide, January 2013 | Go to article overview

An Exploration of the Benefits of an Indigenous Community Learning Center's Mini-School Library


Cabanilla, Gianina, School Libraries Worldwide


The purpose of this study was to discuss the benefits of the "lumad" (self-ascription and collective identity of the indigenous peoples of Mindanao, Philippines) school mini library. Additionally, the results of this study will aid the further research of indigenous people's (IP) perspective at the primary school (first six grades) in achieving higher self-esteem levels and increased literacy through the community learning centers' mini-school library. Classroom teachers and librarians determine how reading is taught and their decisions are influenced both by the policies instituted by local, regional and national agencies and the beliefs senior teachers and librarians hold. One assumption is that teacher and librarian decision making strongly influences the teaching of reading in a learning centre's mini-school library. The processes of teaching reading have been influenced by any number of more classical learning theories over time. Within the last 10 years, no research was located in which experienced teachers' and librarians' decision making about reading instruction in an indigenous community's learning centre or mini-school library was examined. A case study approach was used with an analysis of data from field based observations and semi-structured interviews of 10 classroom teachers and librarian in one community learning center at the Salugpungan Community Learning Center in Sitio Dulyan, Palma Gil Village, North Cotabato province, Southern Mindanao. Artifact analysis from teacher and librarian samples and an analysis of reading instructional practices within the mini-school library were used to expand the analysis of data.

Introduction

In some areas of the Phillipines, teachers remain the first and most personal learning contact with students as they attempt to read and make sense of print. The decisions teachers and librarians make about reading instruction at the school library, or "mini-school library," are critical. If reading instruction is to improve among the lumad (self-ascription and collective identity of the indigenous peoples of Mindanao, Philippines) school children, teachers and librarians must feel responsible for student outcomes. Therefore, the voices of teachers and librarians, and the decisions they make daily in their classrooms and mini-school library, have merit. This study examines decisions teachers and librarians make about reading instruction methods and practices. The mini-school library can also do much to capture and preserve indigenous knowledge and culture since there is a critical need for this, considering that "lumad" youth and children themselves have been evolving and adapting to external realities through the years, and much of the knowledge and traditions of the past are giving way to modern notions.

At the Salugpungan Community Learning Center in in Sitio Dulyan, Palma Gil Village, North Cotabato province, Southern Mindanao, Phillipines, two important facets of teacher and librarian involvement on reading instruction were notably observed. Each participant discussed the support from the school administration (in this case, lay missionaries) concerning the reading instruction discipline at the mini library. In relation to the reading successes of lumad students, each teacher and librarian spoke extensively about the fact they were able to teach without interruption by inappropriate behavior. With the arrival of the mini-school library's reading literacy program, teachers and librarians reported that they spent time during the day engaged with lumad school children in academic pursuit rather than behavioral problems. This aspect of the mini-school library's program is worth mentioning because of the overwhelming response from all the participants. Most teachers and librarians were observed to teach strategies and from interviews, most teachers spoke fluently about the strategies they decided to use and the purpose behind the strategies they chose. Participants in this study focused on this concept in their instruction and in the strategies they taught among lumad school children.

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