Grappling with Teacher's Lack of Research Skills
Riedling, Ann, Teacher Librarian
QUESTION: A Grade 6 teacher asked to schedule some time for his students to conduct research in the school library. As I asked him about the topic, expectations, and so forth, he interrupted me and stated: "I just want my students to use the Internet and cut and paste what they find." I was appalled! These students need to learn how to conduct research efficiently and effectively, but I can't even make some of the teachers understand. What can I do?
AMR: You certainly have a critical situation. Remember, however, that you are not alone. Current research suggests that 68 percent of teacher-librarians experience difficulty with collaboration and teaching information literacy skills. In your situation, students are being encouraged to plagiarize and you appear to have your hands tied with regard to productive collaboration and teaching information literacy skills. I suggest the following:
> Gain the support of your principal/administration Set up a meeting with your principal and be prepared with appropriate literature/information. Be sure to emphasize that academic performance increases with more time spent collaborating and training teachers, providing input into the curriculum, and teaching information literacy skills. Also, explain that although a teacher brings to a partnership knowledge of strengths and weaknesses of students--as well as content--the teacher-librarian brings a thorough understanding of information skills and methods to integrate them, helping a teacher to develop units that broaden the use of resources and promote information literacy. …