A Collaborative Conversation by ProQuest


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A Collaborative
 Conversation                                                       by Linda Staenberg and Susan Vanneman

C         ollabora-
          tive efforts
school librarians
and classroom
teachers are essen-
tial to implement-
ing the framework
set forth by AASL’s
Standards for
the 21st-Century
Learner. Combining
the collaborative
process with the
framework of the
standards is essen-
tial to meeting the
needs of today’s students.                  The Interview                               books. I had some experience collabo-
                                                                                        rating with other reading teachers, but

    One of the stumbling blocks to col-                                                 my early interactions with the school
laboration is often the perceived loss of            The two of you                     librarian were limited more to coopera-
control and division of power when the               are long-time                      tion and coordination. On the most ba-
classroom teacher enters the domain of                                                  sic level, when the school librarian and
                                            collaborators. What led to the
the school librarian and vice versa. The                                                I cooperated on a project, it usually was
following are written responses based on    partnership?                                a simple matter of providing support,
a dialogue between Susan Vanneman,             SL: Initially, the love of books         “When can I bring in the kids for book
school librarian (SL), and Linda Staen-     brought us together along with a shared     talks?”
berg, classroom teacher (CT), about         sense of humor… and later a required            SL: When working at the level of co-
their perceptions of collaboration and      curriculum that incorporated research       ordination, the level of support is intensi-
how it fits with AASL’s Standards for the   skills.                                     fied. The school librarian and the teacher
21st-Century Learner framework. They           CT: When I was a reading teacher, we     work on the same objective, but with
were responding to questions given to       often worked together with our students     different roles. An example would be the
them to guide their discussion.             to share information and ideas about        family literacy night we planned together

                                                                 School Library Monthly/Volume XXVI, Number 4/December 2009     15
for reading students and parents.                 SL: All of the elements we listed are     own work and peer performances. This
    The true collaborative work devel-         important to collaboration; however,         would not have been possible without
oped over time during the standards-           one of the real strengths is continuous      the collaboration between the school li-
based course that focused on the               reflective evaluation, which is really       brarian and the teacher. Expertise of the
research process. This was the ideal plat-     thinking and talking about practice.         school librarian solved issues involving
form for us to incorporate information         These conversations allowed us to im-        technology, space, and classroom man-
literacy skills in a meaningful way and to     mediately assess each activity, evaluating   agement that were critical to the success
embed the elements of collaboration at a       effectiveness and documenting changes        of the activity.
deeper level.                                  for continual improvement in the realms          SL: For the students who needed a

                                               of both instruction and classroom            re-teaching piece we employed a variety
         What do practitioners                 management. We sometimes modified            of strategies: we used pairs practice,
                                               from class period to class period if we      high-interest Web sites such as athletic
         new to the                            observed something we thought merited        teams or zoos (for Web site evaluation),
collaborative process need to                  change—for example, rearranging the          and exit tickets that functioned as an
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