Friday, January 17, 2014

Shifting from Helplessness to the Principles of the Possible

Have you read Dr. Ross J. Todd's article in the December 2013 issue of Teacher Librarian? 

In this research summary, Todd recognizes that many of us have fallen into the trap of learned helplessness when talking about our programs. We often point out what we can't do, rather than how we could make something happen. Todd believes that if our programs are left in the hands of these "impossibilists," our programs will remain in the realm of the past; but, if we shift our mindsets, our libraries can be recognized as the strong and vital programs we know them to be.

Through Todd's studies of successful programs in the hands of those he calls "possibilists," he developed 7 core ideas he calls the "Principles of the Possible." Each of the strong school library programs in the study had these principles in common.

Principle 1: The primary function of a school library is pedagogical, with access to quality information as the foundation of meaningful pedagogy.

Principle 2: The role of the school librarian is primarily that of teacher, coteaching with classroom teachers to develop curriculum standards.

Principle 3: An inquiry-centered pedagogy defines the instructional role of the school librarian.

Principle 4: The focus on curriculum content and knowledge development enables the integration of inquiry capabilities in a meaningful way.

Principle 5: The collaborative nature of teaching is the core dynamic for integrating the school library into the culture of the school.

Principle 6: School libraries constitute and advance social justice.

Principle 7: School libraries connect community and the world through digital citizenship and learning for life capabilities.

So how can we re-frame our thinking, our self-talk, and our practice to better reflect the mindset of a "possibilist"? How can we move our programs into the future, and stop thinking "can't"?  

Read the whole article in the December 2013 issue of Teacher Librarian, via Ebsco.