Three Heads are Better Than One: Librarians, Reading Specialist and Classroom Teachers in the Learning Commons

Westcoat, Megan
PARROTT, D. J., & KEITH, K. J. (2015). Three Heads Are Better Than One.Teacher Librarian, 42(5).
  This article, written as part of “The Year of the Learning Commons” series was co-authored by two professors of educational programs at East Tennessee University.  The first few paragraphs offer the definition and function of the learning commons.  They continue by laying out the roles of teacher, teacher librarian and reading specialist in a collaborative effort and who brings what skill-sets to the party.  At the mid point they have laid out the various ways a learning commons can accommodate differentiation (on an interest, readiness or learning profile level).  Finally they conclude with a detailed explanation of how literacy stations might work in a learning commons; laying out five different stations and what students could possibly doing at each one of them to support their, “. . .critical thinking, problem solving, research skills, and collaborative abilities”  (Parrott & Keith, 2015, p. 16).

   A few paragraphs in I was not sure this article could offer anything new, as at this point in the course most of us are understanding the definition and benefits of a learning commons.  Where I found this article to be worthy of posting here, however, was the section on ways to implement concept into a school library.  They stress that librarians need not necessarily make grand changes to their space or acquire specialized materials.  Then they layout five possible stations including computer, STEM, listening, writing, and visual arts, all surrounding the topic the teacher and/or teacher librarian has selected.  They give concrete examples of the type of learning activities that students could participate in at each station.  Additionally they encourage those starting down this path for the first time to take baby steps, perhaps by beginning with only three stations until they start to feel more comfortable.   Many formalized articles spend a lot of page space dedicated to telling us why to implement learning commons but not necessarily how it is actually playing out in real-life libraries.  Their suggestions felt attainable, adjustable and something we can aspire towards. 

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