Rawson. C. H., Anderson. J., & Hughes-Hassell, S. (2015). Preparing pre-service school librarians for science-focused collaboration with pre-service elementary teachers: The design and impact of a cross-class assignment. School Library Research, 18.
(accessible via SJSU King Library)
This article was very helpful for me as a new-to-librarianship student. The authors studied a program in which pre-service school librarians (PSLs) and pre-service teachers (PSTs) were matched up and instructed to collaborate on a science unit. The authors wanted to see if having librarians and teachers collaborate before they are actually librarians and teachers would help pave the way for more collaboration down the road, and this study also gave the authors a chance to see some of the issues that can arise in such collaborations.
The article also began with Patricia Montiel-Overall’s definition of Teacher-Librarian Collaboration (TLC):
“A trusting, working relationship between two or more equal participants involved in shared thinking, shared planning, and shared creation of innovative integrated instruction. Through a shared vision and shared objectives ,student learning opportunities are created that integrate subject content and information literacy by co-planning, co-implementing, and co-evaluating students’ progress throughout the instructional process in order to improve student learning in all areas of the curriculum. (2005a, 32, emphasis in original)” (as cited in Rawson, Anderson, & Hassell-Hughes, 2015, p. 3).
- Integrated Instruction
- Integrated Curriculum (Rawson, Anderson, & Hassell-Hughes, 2015, p. 6)
In the study, the researchers found that PSTs and their mentors did not have a clear view of what it is school librarians actually do, leading to assumptions about what was or was not possible. In one example, a mentor actually “vetoed” one of the collaborations’ activities because an item on the PSL’s agenda was something that the mentor did not think libraries did. Instead, they limited what the librarian was going to do, even when their mentees tried to explain what the PSL was planning.
Communication was also an issue between the collaborators, and it was a good view into how important communication is to make collaboration a success.
While this study did contain a lot of personal responses from the PSLs (and so should be taken with a grain of salt rather than as purely objective conclusions), I found this to be a good look at some of the issues school librarians can face in approaching teachers about collaboration. Many of my readings are finding that librarians really need to be able to self-advocate and say, “Yes we do help with [this topic]” and highlight that “teacher” role. The article was helpful to me as a “newbie,” but it might be old news to someone with more experience. Overall, though, I do recommend this if you are looking at more information about collaboration.