After reading Herring, Purcell, Lamb and Valenza I am both inspired and reassured.
Herring acknowledges the multi-faceted nature of the role by looking at a range of role statements from other countries. He notes research that shows that effective TL’s can make a difference but stresses the need to be adaptable in pursuing the aspects of the role that best serve the students and teachers in developing their information literacy skills.
Purcell makes particular note of five different aspects of the TL role. As a new TL, I found her article very informative in defining aspects of the role that I was aware of but had not yet adequately pinned down. I liked the way she acknowledged the aliterate group of students and stressed the importance of reaching them. The article was inspiring in the fact that it helped to clarify things without being overwhelming.
Lamb’s use of the PALETTE acronym was helpful. Acknowledging the culture and attitudes as being significant factors in TL effectiveness was reassuring. The concept of identifying priorities and making program changes to ensure the TL role was maximised was also a positive as it acknowledges that not every program needs to be the same and people need to work for their circumstances. This made me feel like it was ok to work in steps rather than massive leaps to improve aspects of my own TL role.
Valenza’s article was partly inspiring and partly overwhelming. I have chosen to regard it as a range of options that could be implemented because I doubt that any TL could achieve all of this. There are lots of positive ideas in her piece but time and money limit some of the ideas.
TL’s need to prioritise the roles they play in the school in consultation with the staff they are supporting. The degree to which each aspect of the TL role is developed will depend on individual situations but there certainly needs to be aspects of the range of roles developed in each scenario – it is only the depth and intensity which may vary.
A role which was acknowledged yet not singled out is the role the TL plays in motivating and encouraging students to read. When I started earlier this year, the head of the Primary School asked if I could promote a range of books off the shelves to each primary class to engage the attention of a range of readers. This is such a small thing but has had significant impact on the borrowing rates each lesson.
Whilst it is good to be forward-thinking and proactive, I think there needs to be some selectivity with regards to time management. It is important to prioritise to suit the particular priorities of your setting and not just get hung up on trying everything new. I reflect on my current TL activities and cannot see how they can reduced or given up without compromising on the quality of the program. However I can also see that adjustments could be made over time as the TL role became more familiar or as routines are set in place.
The contribution of a TL is broad – and I think TL’s are smart enough to recognise the essential aspects of the TL role in their own situation, particularly if they are interested in ‘being their best’.