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 Becoming Indispensable by Doug Johnson in School Library Journal, Feb 2003; 49(2), 3. (Access requires login)

eye means readRead The Dilemmas of Professional Development by Virginia Richardson, Virginia in Phi Delta Kappan, 84(5), Jan 2003. 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 Value of Staff Development by Mary Alice Anderson in School Library Journal, Nov 2002; 48(11), 34. (Access requires login) By becoming involved with staff development, we increase our opportunities to shape the curriculum and be viewed as instructional leaders

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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, measureable 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

Learning Quarterly. Supplement to School Library Journal, Winter 2003.
Devoted to topic of professional development.

Anderson, Mary Alice. Summer School for Teachers. School Library Journal, Feb 2004; 50(2), 36. (Access requires login) . . .
Creating technology workshops is easier than you expect; media specialists who are actively involved in staff development are in a unique position to present summer technology workshops to their schools and district staff.

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

Anderson, Mary Alice. Creating Tech-Savvy Teachers. School Library Journal, Feb 2003; 49(2), 6. (Access requires login) . . .
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. Compiling a Profile of Staff Technology Skills. Multimedia Schools, Jan./Feb. 2002.
How we implemented a follow-up assessment using Profiler, an online collaboration tool.

Anderson, Mary Alice. Staff Development: From Theory to Practice. Multimedia Schools, Mar./Apr. 2000 .
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. Staff Development: Your Most Important Role. Multimedia Schools, Jan./Feb. 2000.
Continual proactive involvement in staff development is perhaps the most important part of our many-faceted jobs.

Anderson, Mary Alice. The Media Center: Assessing Teacher Technology Skills. Multimedia Schools, Nov/Dec 2000.
The technology is well used; staff development is ongoing; most teachers have attended staff development classes. But are teachers skilled? Are they using technology effectively and efficiently? Is technology used in meaningful ways? Why would we want to know? How can we assess how well staff are using technology?

Anderson, Mary Alice. Value of Staff Development. School Library Journal, Nov 2002; 48(11), 34. , , , (Login required) or
By becoming involved with staff development, we increase our opportunities to shape the curriculum and be viewed as instructional leaders.

Anderson, Mary Alice. The Media Center: All Set for Summer? Summer Technology Academies for Staff. Multimedia Schools, Mar 2001.
It's March and time plan our district's annual summer technology academy. How do we do it? Take a look at our timelines and tips for success.

Anderson, Mary Alice. Ongoing Staff Development: Sideways, Bubbly, and Chaotic! Multimedia Schools,Jan./Feb. 1998 .
With more than 10 years of experience in staff development in our middle school, it's fun to reflect on the who and how of learning

Anderson, Mary Alice. Don't Forget the Teachers: Teaching Teachers to Search Electronically. Book Report, 1997.
This focused article ends with some good practical suggestions for staff development.

Professional Development from Canadian Library Association

Homepage for Mary Alice Anderson, Winona Area Public Schools, WI

By Your Own Design from Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC)
Create and implement an individual professional learning plan.

Richardson,Virginia. The Dilemmas of Professional Development. Phi Delta Kappan, 84(5), Jan 2003.
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.

Professional Development from Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC)
These materials from the ENC at Ohio State University emphasize staff development programs for math and science educators and federal grant programs and resources.

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

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