Monday, June 22, 2009

i3 report: school libraries studies

I am at the i3 conference that is taking place at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland, for the next few days. This conference focuses on information literacy and information behaviour. Today included a parallel session with two studies concerning schools in Finland: I will blog them in 2 entries.
Eeva Kurttila-Matero talked about Teachers' conceptions of teaching and learning in teh context of a school library project. A follow up study in the City of Oulu, Finland.
She started by explaining that there is no obligation to provide school librraies in Finland. However the Finnish National Board of Education stipulated in 2004 that students should have the means of supporting their independent study. Her project is a follow up to one which aimed to develop a model and learning environment that supported independent study.
Eeva's study (which finishes in 2011) aims to increase understanding of teachers' conceptions of teaching and learning during a school library project. This project was to develop a school library in each school in the project (11 schools). The researcher was part of the small team that visited the schools to encourage the conversation to take place regularly, about the curriculum (in particular incorporating information skills) and how to meet the project goals. The teachers at the schools also visited each other to talk about the project. The schools did not have librarians on their staff.
Eeva's project investigates whether the school teachers' conceptions of teaching change, and in particular whether conceptions related to the pedagogical role of the school library change. She has used activity theory, and phenomenography.
What is most notable so far is that collaboration between teachers within and between schools has became more regular. There is more conversation about the curriculum and more exploitation of each other's expertise, including expertise in information seeking. There are examples of quotations from the teachers and the head teachers which show that their idea of the role of the school library is changing too: she quoted a remark on change from the perception of the school library project from being "a library furniture project" to a" pedagogically established way of working".
Photo by Sheila Webber: Laptop work in the cafe, Thessaloniki, Greece, June 2009 (last week)

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