Monday, November 12, 2007

Lots Happening, Part II: Class at Dominican U.

This actually happened Tuesday of last week so it's a little out of order with the previous post.

Martha Allen, a former English teacher-extraordinaire at Redwood, has invited me for a few years to come a talk to her secondary curriculum class at Dominican University. This was the third time I've visited and been able to share my insights with would-be teachers.

There were about 15-20 students present for the class which is a good number for sharing and discussion. I was with the class for just about an hour. About half of the time was taken by my explaining just what a library media teacher is in California, the sad state of our libraries in general and what a good librarian can do for them in promoting and teaching information literacy and helping their kids learn and hone skills they will need their entire lives.

Many of the students had had experiences with librarians, both good and bad, and as always I stressed that most librarians are eager to help in whatever way they can. I emphasized that they really like to be part of the planning process so that the opportunities and challenges of any assignment can be discussed before the kids begin their projects.

We talked a bit about what kids are reading these days and I reassured them that we have a wide range of materials to support various reading levels and interests. We also discussed the concept of free reading which many teachers put restrictions on. I explained, and Martha concurred, that the best kind of free reading is really free, ala Stephen Krashen. His theory and practice is that whether students (children or adults) are reading comic books, magazines or the most ancient classics, it's the act of reading which is essential, not the content.

I really like the opportunity to share with folks who may not be very comfortable around librarians the chance to interact in a free-flowing sort of way, bring up challenges they have faced and see what kinds of solutions we can reach. It's too bad we don't have the time to do something similar at our school sites often enough.

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