Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Developing reading with..........teachers!

This post has been created as a result of a post back in April 2012 where I compiled a list of books with the help of Twitter which would benefit teachers in our school (click here).  The reason I did this came from our amazing librarian Helen Smith.  Anyone who has worked in schools for a long time will tell you there are certain people you need to get to know as they are a valuable resource in your school (caretaker, receptionists, admin staff.....).  Helen, our library resource centre manager is one of them.  We are very lucky at Brookfield to have one of the best libraries that I have seen in a school.  We have over 18,500 resources in our Library Resource Centre for staff and students to borrow.  The LRC is used by approximately 10,000 staff and students each month.  Students are encouraged to be independent users of the LRC and to return and borrow books as they wish, similar to a public library.  Classes are also booked in to conduct research using the integrated ICT facilities (PC's & iPads).  Helen changes the displays on a regular basis in line with a current topic in the news or being studied in school or on a fiction theme. 

Excellent resources to conduct research or simply read!

At the moment she is promoting a selection of books the School Library Services has recommended.  We have also been lucky enough budget wise to be able to purchase stock that the students are interested in, especially boys.  We purchase lots of books which students can ‘dip’ into, especially with our short breaks.  Dr.Who, Star Wars, Guinness Book of Records, Ripley’s, Top Ten, Where’s Wally etc.  Students also know that if the next book in a series, or a new book, is due out, they can ask us and we will purchase it.  They can read it first and then it goes on the shelves for general borrowing, but usually they have told their friends about it and there is a queue!  This gives students and staff a sense of ownership.  We also buy several copies of popular books i.e. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Twilight, Skulduggery Pleasant etc.

One part of our Staff Library

But there is one area in the library which is purely dedicated to staff and professional development.  The staff library section is well displayed and and a well resourced part of the LRC.  It currently boasts 252 books which cover a variety of educational topics such as behaviour management, subject specific resources, books for governors, texts on leadership, starters, plenaries, evidence based research.....  In fact the list is endless.  We all know, as a profession, keeping up to date on new ideas, pedagogy, research and initiatives is vital.  There are an abundance of inspirational and exciting books out there which in many teachers experiences have transformed their practise for the better.  Helen has done a fantastic job in resourcing the library and is now looking to entice staff into using this section more frequently.

Now as a member of the Learning & Teaching group involved in driving new practise in our school, I have been working with Helen to update our staff library books and refresh them with some of the books being highly recommended at the moment.  Many of these new books have come off of the 'Must reads for teachers' blog post that so many teachers helped contribute to.  My aim is to encourage more staff to undertake professional reading.  We are a good school very close to being outstanding.  We have a vast amount of inspiring teachers and having these excellent resources at our disposal can only help enhance the work we are doing.  Many of them have exceptional ideas and share a wealth of knowledge.  As part of Helen's aim, the use of the library is important and developing a culture of staff using the specific 'staff library' section is also key.  Although year on year teachers consistently use the staff library (see graph above), it isn't as high as it should be in comparison to our overall number of teachers/support staff we have.  As a result, Helen has come up with the following strategies which she is launching with staff after our INSET day this term.  She aims to roll out each of the ideas and hopefully introduce this magnificent resource to many of the teachers who didn't know it existed or who have rarely used it.  In summary, she will:
  • 'Weed out' the staff library and begin removing out of date books and replacing them with current resources/pedagogy.  Latest titles have included 'An Ethic of Excellence' and 'Full on Learning' to name a few.
  • Email staff for request/suggestions for new books
  • Establish a culture of staff being able to ask for a book and being the first to borrow them
  • Make Flyer's advertising the books, especially new ones. These can be sent by email, given out during Inset, displayed in staff room, notice boards within school
Our 'Recommended Staff reading' flyer which will be given out in our Oct INSET

  • Create an information leaflet to be given to new staff on how to use the LRC and what is available to them
  • Demonstrate SearchStar (library programme) to individuals or during an Inset to show how they can look to see if a book is available
  • Encourage personal fiction reading as this brings staff into the LRC by purchasing ‘mature’ reads
  • Encourage table use in the LRC by staff as this familiarises them with the space and the books
  • Have an Open Day for staff with coffee and tea. They can view stock and the staff library.
Hopefully these simple and manageable strategies will encourage staff to begin a journey along continued professional reading.  Hopefully it will encourage a ethos with staff to keep up to date on current ideas, pedagogy and practise.  Hopefully, it will help create a professional dialouge with teachers and begin the many wonderful learning conversations that I am lucky enough to have with teachers on Twitter, but this time within our school.  Hopefully it will inspire many new and existing staff to get involed with teaching and learning in our school (as blogged about here).  And probably, and most importantly, it will help staff refine their current practise so that it ultimately has a positive and beneficial impact on the learners, and learning, that takes place in their classroom.  I would urge you, if you don't have a facility like this set up, work with your librarian and see if you can develop one.  Use my list of must read books to get you started if you need to.  It is worth the time and could be such an amazing tool for a school to have up their sleeve, and one that if promoted with staff like we are, could benefit us all.

1 comment:

  1. We've also recently brought books on T&L more to the fore by creating a mini-library in the staffroom. The idea is that staff can borrow books in the usual way, or perhaps pick up a chapter during a break over a cuppa.

    What your post prompted me to consider David was that reading is invariably a solitary exercise. Perhaps we could attempt to foster dialogue by asking colleagues to comment on what they've read? Amazon-stylee reviews if you will. They could be done through a private discussion group, or opened to a wider audience using tools like http://www.librarything.com/ for example. Anything which encourages people to think a little more deeply about what they're reading in fact ... and surely nothing does that like airing your views for scrutiny in 'public,' does it?