Why Advocate?

From Skitch-1

Background photo courtesy of Ninjakeg – text added by TCoelho

As we move towards creating our final vision, we’re supposed to “craft a post that illustrates who this vision is for and why”.   This is a difficult task.  I want to advocate for Teacher-Librarians (TLs), so as I write this, I’m struggling with deciding on the target audience for my video.  Who will provide the most support for TLs as they struggle to maintain, and hopefully increase, their positions within school districts?  There are many possibilities, so, in my typical decision making fashion, I am going to make a list and contemplate the importance of targeting each group.

DECISION MAKERS – School, District and Provincial levels

 This group includes all levels of decision makers – Principals, Superintendents, School Trustees, Ministry officials, and the Minister of Education – who determine the future of Teacher Librarians in our education system.  This group is large and varied and the most important because they control the Education budgets.  A review of Dr. Ken Haycock’s study outlining the impact of solid school library programs and increased staffing would be beneficial for this group.

FELLOW TEACHERS

 From discussions with my fellow teachers, many of them are unaware of the changing role of the Teacher-Librarian.  Some believe in the value of having a TL who collaborates with the staff on inquiry units, provides technology assistance when needed, and teaches students about the many ways to find information, but many teachers are unaware of exactly what the Teacher-Librarian’s role is in the school.  Many see a TL who checks out books to the students, teaches them where to find them on the shelves and promotes reading.  I believe many teachers do not truly understand the benefits of a Teacher-Librarian, or their expanding role, so it is important to educate teachers about this role within the school.

PARENTS

Parent involvement is one of the most important indicators of student success at school (CPE, 2011).  They can serve as our partners in promoting literacy among our students – both print and digital.  The benefit of living in a digital world is our ability to let parents have constant access to school libraries.  Technology allows us to provide parents a ‘window into the library’.  Parents can view the amazing work that TLs do with students and staff on a daily basis.  This ‘window’ is crucial in garnering support for increased staffing and library hours.  Parents have an enormous amount of influence with District Superintendents, School Trustees, and provincial governments.  School trustees are very willing to listen to parents, as parents are the individuals who vote for them.  Parents are an important ally and can also be very influential at the school level with the Parent Advisory Council, and at the District Level, with the District Parent Advisory Council.

STUDENTS

Students may not be the target audience for my video, but they are the reason that I believe in advocating for Teacher-Librarians.  Students benefit from having a TL who is available at all times to support them in becoming ‘information’ literate.   Teacher-Librarians support their students, but also collaborate with staff on assessment, inquiry learning, professional development and technology.  Ultimately, the students are the beneficiaries of the support provided by TLs to all members of the school staff.

WHO SHALL I CHOOSE?

 While writing this blog post, I have been reviewing various websites, studies and videos about the changing roles of Teacher-Librarians, the importance of having a full-time Teacher-Librarian and the value of school libraries. As I reflect upon the four audience targets and the information I have reviewed, all of these stakeholders play important roles in our schools.  It is necessary to educate them about the evolving role of Teacher-Librarians in our digital world.  The intention of my final product is to focus on all four targets and showcase the importance of TLs in our education system.

REFERENCES

Centre for Publc Education. (2011). Back to school: How parent involvement affects student achievement (At a glance). Retrieved on November 21, 2015, from http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Public-education/Parent-Involvement

Hartwick, Corbin. (2015). “Celebrate Internet Safety Month with These 6 Online Safety Tips.  Retrieved on November 21, 2015, from https://www.staysafeonline.org/blog/celebrate-internet-safety-month-with-these-6-online-safety-tips

Ninjakeg,  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ocean_park_wiki.jpg

Vancouver Public Schools. (March 8, 2013). The Changing Role of School Librarians. Retrieved on November 21, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dy3xQgsi1o

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3 thoughts on “Why Advocate?

  1. Great post. All of these groups’ support is essential for a thriving TL and LLC space. Especially parents! The more parents are aware and involved, the more work they can do as a PAC to advocate and support on your behalf. All of the other groups look to the Parents for support and approval. They are often over-looked as a potential ally. I’ve presented to the PAC and discussed with them the unique needs of the Library Learning Commons and how they can best support our roles and programs. Overall, a great post that clarifies and focuses your intended audience.

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  2. Yes! Yes! Yes! YES!

    Tracey, I think you are right to organize your thinking around all four groups as targets for your message. Students are at the heart of all our intentions as educators. I think that they along with families, educators and decision makers are all a part of the message that needs to be sent about the importance of the library in cultivating, stimulating and inspiring literacy for all. When I think about communicating to audience in my multiple roles at school, I like to think about it in a few ways. I ask myself the following of whatever I am trying to share. Can my students understand me? Are their families able to support my message at home? Do my colleagues know that this message is important to me and why? Will the decision makers see the value of my intentions? Perhaps these questions or your own version can help you move forward. For me, the most important is that I want my words to reach my students. They are the motivation for all advocacy after all… aren’t they?

    Smiles,
    Andrea

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  3. Pingback: The Visioning Process | A Teacher in Delta

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