At the risk of being facetious I’d like to compare my current state of knowledge to the old jaw about being “as old as your tongue and a little older than your teeth”. It is so hard to define where one is in terms of knowledge and understanding in just about any field, particularly this one. Throughout my journey in the MIS (Master of Information Studies) I’ve attempted to grasp at every opportunity to not only be exposed to the digital concepts and practices of information studies and education, but also to integrate them into my own professional, educational and private life. Yet I don’t know what I don’t know. I’ve written before about the anosognosic’s dilemma, and each course refer back to the excellent article by Morris (2010).
The context of my learning professionally is working part-time as an “apprentice” in the secondary library of a K-12 international school in Singapore while I complete my Masters in Education. My “master” is well entrenched in the digital world and steps bravely where many shy away. We spoke recently about the teachers who employ the old tactics of the formerly illiterate, the phrases “I’ve forgotten my glasses, / it’s too dark / too small can you just read that for me?” have been replaced by “I don’t have time / you’re so much quicker at doing that / do you mind quickly finding …” or more defensive negations of the entire digital realm.
A school has a number of constituencies; one that I like to try and focus time and energy on as a librarian are the parents. I’ve also spent quite a few years discovering where the intersection of my interests, passions and profession lies. As a person who grew up bilingual and has spent the last 23 years living in different places around the world, each time learning new languages, the idea of language, mother tongue maintenance and sustainability preoccupies me. I also believe it is an area where we (as teacher librarians) can make a significant difference by leveraging our knowledge of personal learning networks / environments and communities of practice even if we are not bi or multi-lingual ourselves. I recently held a parents’ forum at school with our self-taught language coordinator that was very well received. I have fallen into this area by dint of interest and co-incidence, however with the benefit of hindsight I make some guesses at why this would be a good area to commence evangelizing about the benefits of digital learning. There is a need / deficit in the current models, specialization is globally dispersed, and the current practices and lack of emphasis make it a low stakes area for experimentation. Given global mobility through choice or circumstance it is also an area that will need considerable attention in the future.
In my opinion the central theme in all these discussions is that of ownership and control. And the battling for or relinquishing of control and ownership over learning is at the heart of conflicts over curriculum, teaching and learning philosophy – how threatening guided inquiry, collaboration and formative assessment can be! Following through on the concepts, practice and promise of what we are learning may prove to be very unsettling for the status quo and vested interests. Which side are we on personally in our own learning and professionally as gatekeepers or conduits of the learning of others?
Morris, E. (2010, June 20). The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is (Part 1). Retrieved February 4, 2014, from http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/the-anosognosics-dilemma-1/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=1