Thursday’s Inquiry Hearing in Canberra with ASLA

24 06 2010

Draft Notes from a Hubber on the Hearing, 24 June 2010, Canberra

Questions to Karen Bonnano and June Wall of ASLA included exploring some of the evidence from the last hearing with the federal department of education.

• Sharon Bird (SB). What is ASLA’’s view on standards, the teaching institute and how that can support teacher-librarianship? Is the process constructive or are there concerns?

• SB. There is evidence of pressures on TLs to become tech support which impacts on the TL’s capacity to fulfil their job. How widespread a problem might that be? Are there better models elsewhere? Are there ways for TLs being involved in the rollout but not stuck with tech support? i.e. What additional resources are needed to make the rollout effective?

• SB. Is there anything to say about the provision of databases, packaging of them, access and equity?

• SB. People feel the need to bite the bullet with parents and the community about what the modern school library is and about how provision of qualified staff can be addressed. There is no reporting of literacy projects that are library driven. Given that the question is not asked in data collection, what is happening that doesn’’t get reported? MySchool has the potential to report on school libraries, resourcing and staffing. Given it is a complex issue, does ASLA approve of that or not?

• SB. The evidence is evocative of how significant digital literacy and digital citizenship are. What would ASLA add?

• Yvette D’Ath. Interested in resourcing and regional areas; schools that don’t have libraries and/or teacher-librarians; how can that be addressed?

• Dennis Jensen. In the light of ASLA following the hearings so closely, are there any statements they might wish to make?

Standards
ASLA is involved. They believe TLs can meet the four standards. Most TLs fit as highly accomplished and it provides a pathway to lead teacher, with TLs operating at the leadership level. The process needs more consultation between associations.

Resourcing DER rollouts
Difference in staffing between public and private schools. Some schools in both sectors don’’t have the staffing to manage the rollout. Because of the skillset and technical background of TLs it can tend to go here. Very difficult in small schools as it takes an inordinate amount of part-time TL time. There is some evidence in NSW of training programs.

On a positive note, ASLA members nationally have become aware of some changes happening recently e.g. staffing appointments [gp: ??]. One can assume that they may have come from the inquiry although that is not sure, as awareness of the value of the role of TL and importance of resourcing are being highlighted.

Sharon said they are looking for some leadership at a national level. KB applauded that, encourages the committee to be brave enough to make that recommendation e.g. for digital literacy and C21st learning skills. If it were to occur, that would be a world first. [gp: staffing?]

Provision of databases
JW is a member of the board of ERA. Small, rural, remote schools find it very difficult to access, even though there is an attempt to provide lower rates. Total access and equity is the issue.

Libraries and staffing for remote schools
KB noted the need for creative staffing, use of pro-rata formulas plus different models e.g. distance learning accessing a TL no matter where the student is.
Question on notice: ASLA will follow up with more examples.

JW reiterated that this an ideal opportunity at the national level to do some really exciting things. A lot of things have been rolling together in the last few weeks [such as AITSL, Nat Curric, Nat Broadband].

TLs driving literacy programs
KB emphasised that TLs work with the staff, resourcing classroom activities. That is why their work is not so visible. In addition, it would not be appropriate to promote the TL as a standalone, all specialist teachers support the teaching/learning process. SB made the interesting comment that herein lies the problem, it is because of the collaboration that the role is not viewed, not valued. JW noted that no primary school would have a TL not involved in the literacy program. SB said she understands that, but there is still a need for outstanding examples to be promoted to counter the poor understanding of the role.

Digital literacy and digital citizenship, and the national curriculum
JW observed that citizenship / safety is one narrow aspect of the literacies that are embedded in digital literacy. The national curriculum, as it is, has them embedded, but to a point where it is hard to tease them out. e.g. info lit, critical thinking, ICT, collaborative environment, problem solving. That would be a challenge to teachers who are used to seeing their state curriculum state things more explicitly. JW agreed with SB that this would be a danger for CTs applying the national curriculum without the expertise [or the time] to tease that out, looking at it superficially. It took time for a group of TLs focusing specifically on the task very recently. JW made a strong statement about the danger for Australians more broadly [gp:??]

KB recalled the role ASLA took two decades ago with the national curriculum profiles, where they pulled them apart, identified where the info lit was and created a learning matrix and twelve case studies, showing the progressive learning of the student. They have already indicated in their submission that they are willing to do that again, providing a support resource which could have dynamic digital links, in partnership with ACARA and subject associations if they were interested. It would require practitioners.

Question on notice: SB asked if ASLA would do some costings on this.

There was discussion of the need for personal development programs to complement digital citizenship. ASLA concluded with a general statement [see transcript when available].

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