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The teacher librarian has knowledge and skills related to information and technology that can be shared with classroom teachers. In the same way, the school library media specialist can learn from peers.

person juggling peopleKnowledge and skills related to information, technology, and communication are just a few of the areas that a library media professional can share with teachers.

Many classroom teachers have experiences with topics such as literature circles, scientific inquiry, and reading strategies that would be useful to the school media specialist.

Who should be conducting professional development?

There are differing perspectives on the types of professional development activities that are most effective with classroom teachers. Some research points to the importance of local people sharing their practical ideas with others. Another perspective focuses on the need for outside alternative approaches and outside influences to promote new ideas and change.

Read both articles below and develop your own conclusion.

eye means readRead Ahlfeld, Kelly (Feb 2010). Hands-On Learning with a Hands-Off Approach for Professional Development (PDF document, Access requires login). School Library Monthly; 26(6), 16-18.
Article offers information on the technology training aimed at helping teachers transform their teaching methods and covers the role of school librarians in providing professional development.

Also read Richardson, Virginia (Jan 2003). The Dilemmas of Professional Development (Access requires login). Phi Delta Kappan; 84(5), 401+.
Why do so few staff development programs incorporate features that research has shown to be effective? Ms. Richardson suggests that the recommended practices may be at odds with America's culture of individualism.

What is involved with professional development?

There are formal and informal ways to share your professional expertise.

Formal. There are many opportunities to share your professional skills with others. Periodic in-service days are a great way to share your experiences. Offer to provide a concurrent session on one of these days. Or, ask the principal for five minutes during a faculty meeting to share a new electronic database, magazine, or series of books.

Try to focus on practical applications of information technology and promote the philosophy of information inquiry.

You might invite teachers for a short 5 minute session before school, after school, or during lunch. These could be fun activities such as learning to use clip art or using the digital camera.

Consider teaming with a teacher for a workshop series. For example, you might team with the middle school reading teachers to share "reading across the content area" ideas.

Informal. Often professional development activities occur informally while working with teachers on projects and activities. It can be as simple as showing a teacher how to insert a photograph into a Microsoft Word document.

It's possible to anticipate many of teacher inquiries. Be ready with simple handouts and other materials that won't take much time.

eye means readRead Harvey II, Carl (Feb 2013). Putting On the Professional Development Hat (PDF document, Access requires login). School Library Monthly29(5), 32-34.
As a result of taking time to share knowledge and skills, as well as make connections for teachers, the school librarian and school library programs can have a larger role in the school.

Also read Anderson, Mary Alice (Aug 2003). Jump-starting Staff Development. School Library Journal; 49(8), 36.
Brief step-by-step guide to promoting professional growth.

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Check Your Understanding

info powerInformation Power: Program Administration - Principle 8.

Ongoing staff development - both to maintain professional knowledge and skills and to provide instruction in information literacy for teachers, administrators, and other members of the learning community - is an essential component of the library media program. (p. 100, 111)

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Make It Real

group of teachersMany teachers feel most comfortable working with children. However a teacher librarian is often involved with adult learning situations.

Compare working with children versus adults.

What could you teach a group of classroom teachers? Create a list of topics you feel that you could teach to teachers.

Design and develop a staff development activity. Create a short piece of instruction you could use with your support staff, student works, or classroom teachers. The instruction may be one-on-one, small group, or large group. It could also be self-instructional. You should identify a very concrete, measurable skill for this project. For example, a lesson in shelving books for fifth grade library workers or a self-paced handout on using an electronic database for teachers. The lesson may be short (5-15 minutes), but make certain that there is a plan for practice and feedback. Remember, the skills acquisition requires active participation. Your learners should answer questions, create something, and actively complete activities. Consider using media as a tool for teaching such as a videotape or PowerPoint presentation. Or, create a worksheet or "job aid" to help them complete the task required.

Idea - develop a PowerPoint presentation and handout for a 15-minute presentation on a specific topic related information, communication, or technology. Consider an area related to a content area interest such as reading.

Idea - develop a 5-10 page booklet teaching a concept that would be helpful to a teacher. Be sure to include visuals and good examples.

Checklist for evaluating your activity:

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Read More About It

Anderson, Mary Alice (Jan / Feb 2002). Compiling a Profile of Staff Technology Skills. Multimedia & Internet @ Schools at Information Today.
How we implemented a follow-up assessment using Profiler, an online collaboration tool.

Anderson, Mary Alice (Feb 2003). Creating Tech-Savvy Teachers (Access requires login). School Library Journal; 49(2), 6.
Advocates grass roots / in-house approaches. What role should a library media specialist play in staff development for teachers? What impact can a professional development program have on technology?

Anderson, Mary Alice (Mar / Apr 2000). Staff Development: From Theory to Practice (Access requires login). Multimedia Schools; 7(2), 24-25.
What does it take to turn theory, research, and enthusiasm into practice? What works? What doesn't? What's easy to do? What's more difficult?

Anderson, Mary Alice (Jan / Feb 2000). Staff Development: Your Most Important Role (Access requires login). Multimedia Schools; 7(1), 24-27.
Continual proactive involvement in staff development is perhaps the most important part of our many-faceted jobs.

Anderson, Mary Alice (Feb 2002). Summer School for Teachers. School Library Journal; 50(2), 36.
Media Specialists who are actively involved in staff development are in unique position to present summer technology workshops to their schools and district staff.

Anderson, Mary Alice (Nov 2002). Value of Staff Development (Access requires login). School Library Journal; 48(11) 34.
By becoming involved with staff development, we increase our opportunities.

Valenza, Joyce (Feb 2003). Getting Faculty on Board (Access requires login). School Library Journal; 49(2), 8.
Provides a few practical examples related to staff development.

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