Socrative Style of Questions

By General, Librarian's Role, Readaloud 3 Comments

Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel —Socrates.

Much research has shown the benefits of reading, and despite the rich evidence, librarians are struggling to support reading habits. However, reading habits are not the sole responsibility of the librarian but the entire education system and the parents. When students see adults reading, thinking, and questioning, students will imitate and follow along. Reading breeds Reading.

One of the critical aspects of building a reading habit is developing curiosity and interest – this will then lead to the joy of reading.

How to read aloud?

I’ve noticed that when librarians or teachers read aloud picture books to children, the questions that they ask are simplistic and obvious, thus not challenging children to think and question. Children need to begin thinking and asking questions right from an early age. As librarians, when we read aloud, we can change the way we ask questions and pave the way for discussions.

For example, before we read aloud stories or after we have read a story we often ask –

  • Who is the author?
  • What is the title of the story?
  • What did you learn from the story?
  • What is the plot?
  • What is the setting or where is the story taking place?

Instead, we should learn the art of Socrative type of questioning or simply as we know it as Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) on the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

What is Socrative style or type of questioning?

Socrates was a Greek philosopher, and he said – Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel. If we have to kindle the flame then it is essential to create a library space where there is a dialogue between the students and librarians. There is little or no space for lectures and therefore, no rote learning.

The teacher-librarian can be the one who initiates the questioning process – helps the students to think/ponder and brings out their values and beliefs in the process of discussion. Therefore, building a safe intellectual space for their independent thoughts and opinions.

Types of Socratic Questions?

There are several types of Socrative style of questions, here are three.

1. Clarification Questions

Questions in this Socrative style sound like this:

  • What do you mean by…?
  • The author has said it this way…. how would you explain it another way?
  • What is the main problem here – Can you explain it with another example?
  • Why is this important?
  • Is this easy or hard?
  • Why do you think so?

For example, when you read the book called No Smiles Today by Cheryl Rao illustrated by Saurab Pandey (Story Weaver – Pratham Books) (A story about a little child who is sad and her friends try to guess why she is sad and eventually finding her lost pet which makes her happy again.)
Socrative questions to ask when reading this book would be-

  • What is sadness?
  • Why do people feel sad?
  • The author talks about the child losing her pet and feeling sad – What are other reasons for sadness?
  • How do you overcome sadness?
  • Is it easy to overcome sadness? Why?

2. Questions about an Issue?

When one reads aloud a picture book with a global issue or problems in society, questions in Socrative-style may sound like this:

  • Why is this an important topic to discuss?
  • Is it easy or difficult to solve this issue? Why?
  • What assumptions can you make about the issue or subject?
  • Does this topic/problem lead to other problems and questions?

Use the above questions for this picture book when reading a book like Riddle of the Riddleys  (A story about thousands of olive ridley sea turtles on the beach of Orissa, who die each year due to the callousness of fishermen and people.) or any other book related to issues

Another example, if you are reading a picture book like The Why-Why Girl by Mahasweta Devi illustrated by Kanyika Kini (a story about Moyna who can’t go to school because she is a girl and because of her socio-economic conditions). When reading this book, you may ask questions like –

  • What is the issue in the story, and why is it essential to discuss this topic about gender discrimination?
  • Why is education opportunities not available for all?
  • What are the conditions that lead to inequality of education for all?
  • Is it easy to solve this problem? Why? Why not?
  • What might be different ways to address this issue?
  • What can we do at different levels to address this problem?

Similar questions can be asked of a novel. For example, Rippler by Cidney Swanson free on Bookbub is a fantasy novel dealing with a genetic disorder and inhuman experiments during the Nazi rule. Questions about scientific experiments, human body and genetic disorders can be explored, some questions may include:

  • What are the different conditions maintained in the laboratory for scientists in India when conducting experiments on animals?
  • How human or inhuman is testing on animals? Why? What do you think?
  • What other topics are related to genetic engineering?
  • If we assume genetic engineering is ok for plants, how can we justify genetic engineering in animals and humans? What are your reasons?
  • Can genetic engineering lead to other problems and issues? Can you explain it?
  • Questions like the above can open children’s minds and promote thinking, creating interest, curiosity, and reading?

3. Viewpoint Questions

Socrates style of questioning includes learning about different perspectives and opinions. When you learn about other perspectives it builds humility, kindness and empathy. Understanding viewpoints is not to argue and to prove a point, but understanding that others have a viewpoint and it must be equally respected. Each individual has the freedom to think and be responsible. Keeping this concept in mind, different viewpoint discussions can be held during the library class. Before discussions, the librarians must ensure that each individual’s point must be heard, is important and is respectfully conveyed.

Questions to consider are:

  • How would other people in other sections of the community feel/think about this? Why?
  • Why do you object to this consideration? What facts have you gathered to prove this viewpoint?
  • What is an alternative to bring further acceptance or rejection?

Another example to try is this book called, Father’s Inheritance by Elizabeth Laird (Storyweaver – Pratham Books- level 3)

Socrative style or approach of questioning helps students and adults become thinkers. We learn to conduct meaningful conversations. This disciplined approach teaches us to examine ideas and processes with logic and create a practical exploration of content leading to knowledge.

Students and adults may not have answers to any of the questions but it can lead to enquiry, curiosity, interest and reading to investigate their questions and sharing of new knowledge. Asking questions in the right spirit of curiosity and learning leads to success. If you google – Socrative-style of questions you will find lots of resources or check this out.

Warren Berger, a journalist in his book, The Book of Beautiful Questions, say, “You don’t learn unless you question.”

Present-day Profile of a Librarian – Attitude and Skills

By General, Librarian's Role, Lockdown - Covid-19 3 Comments

What is the need of a school library?

For every accreditation of the school, the Library is an essential part of school systems. Libraries are built and given importance to support multi-literacies, nurture life-long readers and learners. Thus, placing the librarian to perform a teacher’s role, an information specialist, and the library program administrator. Therefore, the librarian is a necessary aspect of the school system. They are responsible for acquiring resources like books and online databases, organizing and maintaining the resources to meet the school community’s learning needs.

What are the Librarians doing during the pandemic of 2019?

This year of the pandemic has shown that when the librarian has been a risktaker, independent & collaborative in learning, committed, and adaptive, they have been successful in this given situation.

Many librarians have had a reduced number of classes. Some have not had lessons but instead collaborated with classroom teachers, librarians have provided digital resources to support teaching & learning. Some librarians have been co-teaching, teaching other subjects, taking after school activities for reading sessions or engaging in debates, competitions, and school events. Librarians have taken on different roles (not traditional bookkeepers of the Library) which must not be mistaken to believe that the librarian’s position is unimportant, but recognize librarians as adaptive, flexible, and versatile.

Many local private schools administrations requested the librarians to take a sabbatical from work during the pandemic. After ten months, the administration is now offering them to return to work by providing them with the professional training to bring them up to speed with technology and teaching pedagogy. Had the administration, used this opportunity to train all educators and librarians simultaneously, it would have helped them financially and, including the librarians, would have helped raise the librarians’ standards and the Library’s role in the school.

The librarian role, like other educators, is evolving each year. Having the right attitudes are essential for success. Besides the required academic qualifications, librarians need to be adaptive learners and experimental in their approach.

What skills must Librarians have to meet the needs of schools?

  • One of the most crucial skill is finding ways to serve the community of learners, from students to teachers and even parents. So, when students do not have access to printed books, they can find other ways to introduce new eBooks based on students’ interests and needs, as seen during this pandemic situation. Sometimes, teachers need books to teach, but with no physical books available, the librarian needs to identify eBooks and resources to serve the teachers’ needs. Besides, teachers and students, librarians can reach out to parents. For example, during – the pandemic, librarians can provide well-research articles to parents to develop a balanced understanding of print and digital life.
  • Librarians need to be adaptive to revise systems and develop new ways. For example, librarians have started creating websites to provide a one-stop-shop for all users during the pandemic. They have altered the procedures for book checkouts. Some librarians in rural India started sending PNG’s instead of Jpegs because of its small size file through WhatsApp messages to direct students to websites.
  • Librarians need to take new initiatives. This pandemic has shown the librarians and the administration that eReources are essential for learning. Keeping this mind, the librarians should take the initiative by requesting changes in the budgets to support subscription of electronic resources in the form of databases to support differentiation and personalized learning paths.  All free resources may not meet all learners’ needs; therefore, structured eResources for building language literacy and other subjects will need to subscribe. Librarians can take the initiative to learn about the school curriculum, learn about the new databases, request for database trials, and recommend appropriate electronic databases or programs that will support teachers and students. Librarians must restructure and relocate funds for these new resources, make practical suggestions, and allocate a judicious amount spent on books and eResources.
  • Librarians must become familiar with many technology tools, and use it purposefully. Using fancy tools and making glamorous presentations without merit and learning value must be kept in mind and avoided.
  • Most importantly, learning to use technology is not as crucial as knowing and reading children’s literature for primary and secondary schools.
  • Learning, using and helping others use information and media ethically and respecting the copyright works of authors who put in the effort to share their craft and knowledge. And, most importantly, to credit and learn to use information and media lawfully.

What other skills and expectations should Librarians develop?

librarianship as a profession, one must always remember to keep the light of learning alive and relevant to meet new school programs and initiatives that continue to evolve to meet each child’s needs. Librarians must, therefore continue to fine-tune the following skills.
– Learning to prepare reports in written and oral form.
– Learning to interpret the school curriculum and find ways to add meaning and value to the library program.
– Build healthy, safe, and effective relationships with all community members, including students, teachers, parents, supervisors, vendors,       and volunteers.
– Creatively adapt and use best practices to meet the needs of the school community.

Steve Maraboli, a Behavioral Scientist, specializing in motivational psychology, leadership dynamics, and peak performance mindset, says, “Look around you. Everything changes. Everything on this earth is in a continuous state of evolving, refining, improving, adapting, enhancing, and changing. You were not put on this earth to remain stagnant.”

So, I say to myself, what I learn today is good for now, but the wisdom I have gained in the process will support what I will need to know tomorrow. Learning never stops.

Professional Growth and Learning

By Librarian's Role, Professional Development, Professional Learning One Comment

What is Professional Growth?

Growth and learning are essential facets of professional life. As I begin, reflecting on my personal, professional experience, I realize the only thing constant thing in my professional life is the desire to learn and grow so that I can continue to support the school community. I am grateful to the many people in my professional life, the professional development opportunities I have received to grow, learn and give back to the educational community.

Professional development is not collecting all the certificates to show and prove your growth. Yes, credentials are essential at initial points of your career. Certificates of courses are an incentive and motivation to continue to learn. Certificates do prove a point. As you begin to think and practise your craft of teaching, you understand that learning is an intrinsic part of professional life, where pursuing current practices, updated pedagogical approaches are the only essential aspect of growth.

CC-BY-SA-4.0 Redaksjonelt: Åse Elin Langeland

What do Librarians Learn?

As an elementary and secondary school librarian, I aimed to learn all about new literature that is available, for all children and literature for teenagers. Understanding their interests is important and giving them voice and choice, instead of downing students with what I thought was suitable for children.

Soon, I realized, librarians not only need to know about literature but understand how technology and technology were impacting the learning. Teachers and librarians are learning about information and media literacy, learning how to evaluate sources and teach students how to evaluate news and media. To stay relevant, learning and evolving is a process, and one cannot hold on to the laurels of the past.

Learning can be anything of your interest. I have dabbled in learning new tech tools to deliver and support teaching and learning. Tech tools should merely be the bells and whistles instead should be used to add meaning and value to the teaching, as taught by my teacher, Bernajean Porter.

Recently, I took a course on best practices for online teaching and learning; next, I learned how to create an online newspaper with my students. I took a course on writing blog posts while learning new strategies and techniques in writing. I read philosophy. I took short courses in teaching EAL (English as another language), and now I am taking a short study-course in understanding how one can support the high abilities students.

Are these related to my Library? Is this going to help me in the Library and Information Sciences? Working in a school as a librarian, I believe, it is essential to learn about the strategies and tools that teachers are using in their classes so that librarians can continue to be relevant in the changing needs of the educational landscape. Follow the Liferarian Blog to learn more

Where can Librarians Learn?

Liferarian Association is hosting a Virtual Conference with presenters who are practising librarians in various International Schools, being abreast with new technologies and pedagogies of teaching and learning, they too are active learners. Teaching and sharing is another facet of professional development when individuals hone their skills, deepen their understanding as they share with others.

Join the tribe and learn from this virtual conference on the 21st of November 2020. it is free, hosted by the Liferarian Association. This conference will include more than 20 presentations, author presentations and meet with some book distributors. Registrations will open on the 7th of November, 2020

I love what Gandhi said, ” Live as if you were to die tomorrow, Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Impact of NEP 2020 on Teacher Librarian (India)

By General, Librarian's Role, Teacher Librarian No Comments

According to the NEP 2020 Policy – “Education is fundamental for achieving full human potential, developing an equitable and just society, and promoting national development. Providing universal access to quality education is the key to India’s continued ascent and leadership on the global stage in terms of economic growth, social justice and equality, scientific advancement, national integration, and cultural preservation”.

This new education policy is to build Indian’s talent and resources and help develop universal society, country while positively impacting all. The Government endeavors to provide high-quality educational opportunities to grow holistically for oneself and society.

The SDG goals emphasis on Education is reflected in the 2030 plan of Sustainable development of Education in India, ensuring that Education is inclusive and equitable to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all – including children, adults, and professionals in the field of Education. In fact, 50 hours of Professional Development is required to ensure that educators have the necessary skills and pedagogical understanding and practices for executing the new education policy.

All practices included in the Library and schools must be inclusive and equitable. Being inclusive, it must consist of all groups of individuals to receive the services of a library and include all individuals from different tribes, rural, socially economically disadvantaged groups (SEDGs) children with special needs (CWSNs) and minorities.

NEP 2020 from a Librarian’s Point of View

Looking at the NEP 2020 from a teacher librarian’s point of view, here are some of the takeaways:

To provide best practices to support the fundamental principles of Education, the teacher-librarian to collaborate with Teachers that can promote fundamental principles laid down in the NEP. And, this can be done by pursuing – Curiosity & Passion Projects through cluster groups.

The NEP emphasizes the teachers and faculty, including the Librarian, to have an attitude of service. Keeping that in mind- the Library becomes the education service center of resources in print, digital, and personnel.

Passion Projects with the Librarian to map Fundamental Principles

A collaborative project of creating project work that is driven by students interests, strengths, and choices will enable students to reach its potential as recommended by the NEP that has mapped out the fundamental principles mentioned below:

  1. To help recognize, identify and foster each individual’s strengths and talents while promoting each student’s holistic development in both academic and non-academic sphere
  2. The flexibility of choice of learning
  3. Multidisciplinarity and a comprehensive education across the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, and sports when learning about India and the world.
  4. Emphasis is on conceptual understanding rather than rote learning
  5. Critical thinking to encourage logical decision-making, problem-solving & innovation
  6. To provide opportunities to express themselves creatively using a variety of technology tools or drama or writing or service
  7. Social, ethical, and emotional capacities & dispositions.

Library Place and Dispositions are exemplified in the NEP.

To build an education for an individual, schools, and libraries must provide a safe, welcoming place, where he/she is intellectually stimulated and where the Library becomes a Learning Hub.

A Library – Learning Hub, where the learning environment exists and can engage and provide a variety of learning experiences to the students. Where the focus is on the 21st-century skills with the dispositions that form the core of the individual’s character & personality

Librarians instructional practices and curriculum, therefore, must include a variety of dispositions in an informal setting to help students develop the dispositions cited in the NEP are:

  • Values like empathy, respect for others, cleanliness, courtesy, democratic spirit, the spirit of service, responsibility, pluralism, equality, and justice.
  • Life skills, such as communication, cooperation, teamwork, and resilience to be included.
  • Scientific temper and evidence-based thinking, creativity, and innovativeness; a sense of aesthetics and art
  • Oral and written communication; collaboration and teamwork; problem-solving and logical reasoning; vocational exposure and skills;
  • Digital literacy, coding, and computational thinking;
  • Ethical and moral reasoning; knowledge and practice of human and constitutional values; gender sensitivity.
  • Promoting multilingualism and the power of language in teaching and learning.

A collaboration where teachers and Librarians learning process with continuous professional development, positive working environments, and service conditions

Emphasis on the Library in the NEP emphasizes the following, and they are:

  • Enjoyable and inspirational books for students at all levels are developed, including through high-quality translation (technology-assisted as needed)
  • Public and school libraries to build a culture of reading across the country.
  • Digital libraries to be established and serve the community during non-school hours and book clubs may meet in public/school libraries to further facilitate extensive reading.
  • A National Book Promotion Policy will take extensive initiatives to ensure the availability, accessibility, quality, and readership of books across geographies, languages, levels, and genres.

According to the NEP – Curriculum and Pedagogy in Schools: Learning Should be Holistic, Integrated, Enjoyable, and Engaging. Library classes and lessons, therefore, must be

  • Inquiry-based, discovery-based, discussion-based, and analysis based learning.
  • The curriculum will focus on key concepts, ideas, applications, and problem-solving.
  • Teaching and learning to be interactive, questioning to be encouraged, and sessions will include engagement from the student side.
  • Art and sports integration
  • Multi-lingual learning

Collection of the Library, as recommended by the NEP, must be inclusive and include the following:

  • Digital
  • Multi-lingual
  • Multi-leveled books
  • Bi-lingual books
  • Indian literature with global literature
  • Blend of modern and classical literature in all languages
  • Books based on inquiry, critical thinking and problem solving
  • In addition to high-quality offerings in Indian languages and international languages, language learning is encouraged to help students learn about the cultures of the world and enrich their global knowledge.
  • Folklore and stories from different states
  • Resources to include pride in India, and it’s diverse, ancient and modern culture and knowledge systems and traditions
  • And resources to lead to Global awareness( we cannot live in isolation)

Librarians Lesson plans to include the following skills when planning

  • Scientific temper and evidence-based thinking
  • Creativity and innovativeness, problem-solving and logical reasoning
  • Sense of aesthetics and art
  • Oral and written communication
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Digital literacy and information literacy
  • Ethical and moral reasoning

According to the NEP, the content to include the following:

– Knowledge of India: ancient and modern
– Environmental awareness including water and resource conservation, sanitation and hygiene
– Current affairs and understanding of critical issues facing local communities
– The specialties of each state, countries and the world around
– Tribal and indigenous knowledge
– All forms of literature Indian and International
– A multi-disciplinary approach to all subjects

If a librarian nurtures the profession to become a teacher-librarian, they can also request continuous Professional Development of 50 hours a year as prescribed by the NEP 2020.

For schools to execute new practices offered by the NEP 2020, they will be introducing a wave of Professional development opportunities that will be provided to all faculty members. Here is a chance for Librarians to learn with the others in the schools transforming your role from a bookkeeper to a Teacher Librarian.

What is PLC?

By Professional Learning One Comment

Professional Learning Community/Cluster is a group of people who meet regularly to share their experiences, learning, expertise and work collaboratively to improve their teaching craft and inturn impact student learning. This is a form of professional development in Education.

According to Edusource, professional development is like a one single shot workshop/s based on the expertise of one individual delivering in the session. It is often target-based and means to address or share one concept/idea or philosophy to a broad audience.

While in Professional Learning Community/Clusters, the group gets together with a purpose to learn from each other, share ideas, have follow-up sessions and implement coaching strategies. It is said, when you teach someone something or explain someone how to do it, you embed your learning deep within you. According to Kruse, Louis, and Bryk (1995) Formulation of the Professional Community must include several characteristics for it to be successful.

Characteristics of the professional community are:

  1. Reflective focus: A specific goal, intention or purpose
  2. Collective focus on student learning: The target objective is to provide enhanced learning opportunities for students.
  3. Collaboration: No ONE person is perfect, knowing this and keeping an open mind, viewing ideas from different perspectives can be enriching.
  4. Shared values and norms: Individuals come from different backgrounds and value systems; creating a shared model, helps keep the focus on the task and objective. (NOT about self and egos)
  5. Structured time to meet and discuss:  Fixed time brings commitment and dedication to achieve the goals on time.
  6. Interdependence: Knowing that many hands make light work, and many minds make work simple helps in bringing out a product that is rich and with depth.
  7. Educator empowerment: PLC brings about a change in the educator’s mindset leading to natural professional growth for the individual.

Most importantly, the professional learning community must include the following:

  1. Trust and respect
  2. Supportive leadership
  3. Openness to self- improvement (Growth Mindset)

Steps to a PLC 

  • Create a team
  • Start a collaborative culture of trust and respect by creating essential norms and agreements so that everyone is contributing to the task
  • Start with defining the task or objective
  • Decide and explain how things will be executed
  • Set SMART goals – Specific goals, Measureable goals, Assignable, Relevant and Time-bound goals
  • Consider including outsiders to comment, reflect with the team to add perspective.

All this takes time, patience and courage to sustain this process. 

For us, Librarians, it is very crucial to keep in touch with the changing roles in Education. Most schools have only one Librarian. Therefore it becomes very essential for the Librarian to create a professional learning network, where he/she can build on their skills, knowledge and craftsmanship.

Advantages of a Professional Learning Community

According to Dr. Jennifer Serviss, in her article with ISTE shares the benefits of PLCs.

  1. PLCs make educators better teachers
  2. PLCs build authentic relationships between each member of the team
  3. PLCs help educators stay current with new trends in research, pedagogy and tools
  4. PLCs help educators become thinkers by reflective ideas and conversations

If you are interested in starting or participating in a professional learning community, reach out to me, and we can work together and learn together.

Librarians Role in Virtual Learning – An Analysis of Survey Responses

By Survey No Comments

Undeterred by a lack of access to physical books and a dedicated library space in the wake of school closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic, school librarians have found a multitude of ways to contribute effectively to the knowledge ecosystem.

In a survey put forth by Ms Heeru Bhojwani inquiring into Librarians’ role during Virtual Learning, 78 librarians have responded with their thoughts. These are mainly individuals from International, CBSE, and ICSE schools as well as from a school run by the Maharashtra State Board along with an NGO. 

Most respondents felt that their role is most useful while finding, collating, and compiling resources that would be useful for students and teachers. Here is a link to the responses.

Resource Curation:

In the words of a survey participant, “as librarians are custodians” of a co-curricular sphere, this period of virtual learning presents an opportunity to “collect and curate excellent samples” of reading material.

These are a few ways in which librarians have put down their contributions on finding and distributing relevant resources:

  • Providing study materials through related websites (including modules from Coursera; online MOOCs; and NPTEL) and worksheets to help students complete their homework and research work successfully
  • Finding copyright-free e-books, audiobooks, or readings of books that may be shared through email, learning platforms such as Google Classroom, or Whatsapp for students to read, listen to, or watch; keeping track of new releases by renowned authors; as well as finding news articles that may be useful for students to read
  • Helping academic teams evaluate e-learning and content databases 
  • Provide resources to help teachers in IB schools with their unit planning
  • Arrange for one-on-one meetings with DP students to help them with their Extended Essay
  • Prepare an inventory of all online sites and tools used for future use

Student Engagement:

Librarians across the board have dabbled in a variety of ways to engage with students, “motivating them to be readers and lifelong learners” as one respondent has expressed. Here are a few highlights from all the librarians’ journeys:

– Pick a topic for a week to conduct book talks (including genre and author discussions) and quizzes through on-screen group discussions; host virtual book club meetings; create online storytelling sessions supplemented by presentations or through shared audio recordings of stories that librarians have produced; promote games that exercise students’ research skills; float ideas for reading projects based on UoI or Learner Profile attributes

– Draft lesson plans from the perspective of transliteracy, looking to introduce students to concepts of information, digital, and media literacy 

– Provide mini-lessons on academic honesty and other aspects that can support the curriculum

– Encourage students to share their reviews of books using creative graphic organizers, and a chance to  showcase the best work on a common platform

– Research destinations that are off the beaten track, as well as rare books, manuscripts, and personalities who may be little known but may have done impactful work in particular areas

– Direct interested students to help create their comic book strips if they wish to do so

– Introduce students to new books that align with their topics of study/skills/concept in focus

– Prompt students to go deeper into a story; understand character motivations, setting, and context if a class is reading the same book at the same time

– Create awareness about COVID-19

– Data collection about students’ reading.

Collaboration and Upskilling:

Librarians have also almost unanimously stated that this period of virtual learning had provided an opportunity to collaborate with teachers and support Home Room Teachers (HRTs) in their work. Help design courses together; assist teachers in implementing blended learning for classrooms, and connecting with the network of librarians across the country to update one’s practices.

This brings a neat segue into the next point that the survey results point to, of upskilling. 

A lot of librarians have used the time to learn new tools such as Google Classroom and explored ways to create or engage with a virtual library platform to make collections digital to reach maximum users. 

Librarians have proposed researching and using new Ed Tech tools, to subsequently train the teaching community if they are unaware of the same. In addition to attending relevant webinars and reading articles about library practices, librarians have continued to “sharpen the saw by enhancing and learning about online teaching as well as more collaborative tools,” as one respondent states.

Everybody―especially librarians―have found myriad ways to make the best use of their time during this period of virtual learning, to help communities engage in more reading, reflection, and enriched exploration.  

Guest Post By Karthika Gopalakrishnan; Head of Reading; Neev Academy, Bengaluru

Understanding Copyright and Fair Use

By Copyright, Fair Use 2 Comments

License: CC0 Public Domain

Let’s Understand Copyright and Fair Use

Last week, I attended an online session by Advocate Anirudh Hariani to understand Copyright and its implications for a librarian in an education world.  

What is copyright?

Here is the Copyright Handbook (India) which should not be replaced for the copyright rules and law. According to the copyright handbook of India,  “Copyright is a right given by the law to creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings. In fact, it is a bundle of rights including, inter alia, rights of reproduction, communication to the public, adaptation and translation of the work. There could be slight variations in the composition of the rights depending on the work.”

In short, the creator of any creative original works is the copyright owner of the works and he/she has certain rights over their creation.

What do creative original works mean? 

In short, creative works include:

  • Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works;
  • Cinematograph films; and
  • Sound recordings.
  • Painting, a sculpture, a drawing (including a diagram, map, chart or plan), an engraving or a photograph, whether or not any such work possesses artistic quality;
  • Work of architecture; and artistic craftsmanship.

How does information and knowledge in our society grow?

Society’s knowledge and growth take place on the creative works of others.  What one scientist does, or an author writes, becomes an inspiration for others to create and help take the society forward. 

Therefore, ideas need to be acknowledged, appreciated so that society can flourish. Therefore, creators like writers, artists and software programmers and others are acknowledged, appreciated and this is done by giving them the protection and ownership of his/her works through copyright.

What are the exclusive rights given to the creator of the original work?

What can the copyright owner do with the rights? The copyright laws give exclusive rights to the creator:

  •  To reproduce the work
  • To issue copies of the work to the public
  • To perform the work in public
  • To communicate the work to the public.
  • To make cinematograph film or sound recording in respect of the work
  • To make any translation of the work
  • To make any adaptation of the work.

And he/she has copyright rights for approximately his life span + 65 years (time span differs depending on the creative works). It protects the creator of the artistic work.

Strict application protecting the copyright may hamper economic and social development. So, therefore, the government has provided necessary exceptions and limitations to ensure a balance for the creators and growth of the community. 

What are the exemptions?

Can we use works of authors without the permission of the owner of the copyright, and, if so, what are they? And How?

  • We can use the copyright works 
  • For the purpose of research or private study
  • For criticism or review
  • For reporting current events 
  • In connection with a judicial proceeding 
  • Performance by an amateur club or society if the performance is given to a non-paying audience, and 
  • The making of sound recordings of literary, dramatic or musical works under certain conditions.

What about Education and Copyright?

Educators and schools use purchased copyrighted materials like textbooks and teacher resources to teach students. Points to know:

  1. India often refers to TRIPS – Article 13 and Berne Convention whereby people can use the creative works of others but must not unreasonably prejudice the interests of the copyright holder (author/creator)
  2. Fair Dealing must balance the rights of “Pool of Ideas” to create a robust and vibrant domain and not be an impediment to social growth.
  3. ‘‘Substantial’ Materials can be photocopied to support independent research and learning of school (however, we must be careful not to infringe on the interests of the copyright holder as far as possible.)
  4. The copied work must be transformative in nature.

For more information, check out this 1 hr explanation of the Vidhya Mitra Or the Recording of Copyright discussion with Advocate Anirudh Hariani

So, the question arises – what does ‘substantial’ amount mean? What does it mean by ‘unreasonable prejudice’? This varies on a case by case. For example, a jingle is a short phrase, if you use a substantial part? Will it be an infringement of the creator’s copyright or can we use a part of it under Fair Use?   Therefore, it is necessary to understand infringement based on various criteria mentioned below.

What is Fair Use?

Fair Use is a part of copyright law that enables people to make legal  use of copyrighted materials without payment or permission under some circumstances, especially for uses related to broad and important social goals to the development of innovation and spread of knowledge including teaching and learning, news reporting, scholarship, criticism and commentary

4 factors that determine  or tell you that you are using the copyright materials under Fair Use Guideline

  1. Check – Purpose of the use
  2. Check – Nature of the copyrighted work
  3. Check – The amount and substantiality of the portion 
  4. Check – Whether it affects the market for the original?

What about educators/librarians in the Education Space?

Technology has made is very easy for us to copy & paste from the Internet and so what is my job as an educator and/or librarian

What is my responsibility as an educator? As an educator, I need to:

  1. Learn the facts about copyright
  2. When in doubt, get permission
  3. Demonstrate respect for copyright material 
  4. Learn about Fair Use
  5. Demonstrate use of Fair Use by evaluating and thinking critically
  6.  Understand the Creative Common Licenses 

Individuals/educators have 4 choices when using copyrighted material (texts and images)

  1.  Pay a license fee (Ask permission)
  2.  Claim fair use ( Just use it – analyse it under the 4 criteria)
  3.  Select public domain or royalty-free or creative commons licensed content
  4.  Don’t use it

Please know that everything is written or online is copyrighted. attached to all work. Even if the sign does not exist – it is still copyrighted.

What does it mean to our Students:

  • Students will learn and need to respect the work of others by paraphrasing and not copy & paste
  • Students will acknowledge the works of others and  learn to cite their sources using  citation tools like easybib.com or citation machine 
  • Young students in the primary section could at least cite the title and author of the book, magazine and/or websites and develop the habit of making references

You may use this Common Sense Media – Copyright and Fair Use video to teach students about Copyright & Fair Use. 

There are many Open Education Projects that support open education. They are: 

Understanding Fair Use and Infringement may be unclear. Using for educational purposes does not necessarily make a use fair. Nor does using a portion of a copyrighted work for commercial purposes make it unfair.

Therefore THINK and  ASK? –  Is it TRANSFORMATIVE?

Frequently asked questions about Copyright & Fair Use?

Q1. Can I take information and ideas from the internet to create my lesson plans and do I need to cite it all the time?

Answer: Yes, you can take ideas and information to create lesson plans. You do not have to cite it all the time. You are creating the lesson plans under the fair use guidelines for education, and not for personal gain, and the purpose is to educate students, you can use them as lesson plans. 

Q2. Can I take information and ideas from the internet and create my own book and sell?

Answer: Yes, you can take information but you will need to cite your sources. Your new work must be transformative in nature and can exist without impediment to the sale of your source. It needs to be different. However, you can add hyperlinks to other known sites and information to your work.

Q3. Can I circulate pdfs of books like Magic Tree House, Two States,  Meluha, Tinkle magazines, Amar Chitra Katha, books by Enid Blyton etc for educational purposes?

Answer: No, you cannot circulate these books which are copyrighted, even if it’s for educational purposes because it directly affects the sale and market of the creator. You may circulate books that are in the public domain and available directly by the publishers or authors?

Q4. How do I know that the information is free to use on the Internet?

Answer: You will need to look at the licenses of the author/illustrator/photographers provided by them. You will need to learn about Creative Common Licenses.

Q5. When can I teach students about fair use and copyright?

Ans: You can teach students about fair use and copyright,  right from Kindergarten choosing appropriate examples and opportunities especially when they are doing projects. For example, KG and Std 1 students can show and tell where they got the information from – whether it is a book, from people or from the internet. As they move into the upper primary section, they can write the title of the book, write the website name and finally move them into citing their sources appropriately. And, most important is that students will need to paraphrase and share their views and opinions based on her/his research.

Q6. Can I use an image from the internet under the Educational Fair Use Guidelines?

Answer: 1. As an ethical user of information, it is necessary for you and the students to use images from stock photos, Google images  — after you have used the filter for copyright-free images, Pic4Learning Creative Commons Search

2. Playing ignorant and using copyright images under fair use guidelines, is not being ethical.

Q7. I want to use a copyrighted image or text – Could I still use it?

Answer: Yes, you can use it however, you will need to justify the use under these guidelines: 

  1. Am I using it for educational purposes?
  2. Ask what license is the present work that you are taking
  3. How much are you taking – all or some?
  4. Does it have an impact on the market value of the original?
  5. Have I repurposed the work?

The concept of copyright in Education is a moral and ethical matter.  As an ethical educator, it is necessary, especially when the educator is showcasing, or running a professional discussion, or sharing learning and teaching in the public space outside the classroom it is a good practice to cite the references, thus adding credibility to your work while acknowledging the work of others

Works Cited: 

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education. Media Education Lab, Center for Social Media, 2008.

“A Handbook of Copyright Law.” Hand Book of Copyright Law, Government of India Department For Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade Ministry of Commerce and Industry, copyright.gov.in/Documents/handbook.html.

Hobbs, Renee, and Donna E. Alvermann. Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Supports Digital Learning. Corwin, 2010.

 

Virtual Class for Librarians

By Librarian's Role, Literacy, Virtual Learning One Comment

Tina Franklin libros y ebooks, Flickr

During the lockdown and virtual classes, librarians are looking out for ways to connect with students, teachers and the community. 

So, what can librarians do during this time of virtual learning with students?

Virtual Learning eBooks

During this time, librarians can capitalize on all the beautiful eBooks available for students. An opportunity to use the interactive eBooks where the books are either animated and read aloud rather than the pdf versions.  Many Pdf’s are floating around, but as ethical users of information, we must ensure that our students are using the eBooks ethically. Fair use guidelines may not always be used, especially when eBooks are available for purchase or shared by the vendors at discounted rates or free. 

Let’s capitalize on the eBooks that are offered for free by the companies.

Library Classes – Virtual

During the library online classes, we can capitalize this moment to create a love for reading and writing. Instead of using activities like – making your bookmark, asking questions like who is the character? what is the moral of the story? Let us use this opportunity to ask open-ended questions? Questions that help students think and help students develop the 21st-century skills of thinking analytically, critically or even having their own opinions and perspectives of stories that they read.

Examples of Virtual Learning eBooks

Vooks is offering a 1-month free trial. A kid-safe, ad-free streaming library of read-aloud animated storybooks. A curated list of eBooks that help builds vocabulary, love of reading, immersion, and fluency. 

For example, Title fo the book: The Easter Unicorn is a story about an Easter Bunny who is away on vacation, when a magical unicorn comes to the rescue, saving Easter Day!

Here is a list of activities that might go with the story:

Activity 1: Students can read the picture and retell the story and record the story using the Flipgrid app (video response)

Activity 2: Students can research and draw three magical creatures that do not exist.

Activity 3: Students can write a paragraph, describing a unicorn to someone who hasn’t seen one. 

Activity 4: Students can research and describe why rabbits are related to easter?

Activity 5: Students can explain why easter celebration is in April?

Virtual Learning Activity

RazPlus is offering a 2-month free trial. A guided reading program, with lesson plans and discussion cards. Try this out. For example: Title of the book: Gorillas by Keera Freed.

Gorillas are the largest primates in the world. Gorillas is an informative text that highlights how gorillas survive in the forests of Africa. The book can also be used to teach students how to identify main idea and details as well as to summarize to better understand the text. If you want to teach using the skills, get this trial and learn new teaching strategies and apply them to your students. (Available on Discussion Cards of the story)

  • How are gorillas similar and different than human beings (Skill of compare and contrast)
  • Why do you think humans teach gorillas sign language. How does this help man and animals? (Analysis)
  • Why might gorilla babies ride on their mother back (Make inferences & draw conclusions)
  • Why are gorillas endangered? (Cause and Effect)
  • How can people help gorillas? (Evaluate)

VooksA streaming service for kids, where storybooks come to life!

Finally, a better screen time option. Title of the book: Inventors, who changed the World.

Activities related to the story:

  • What qualities or characteristics should a person have to become an inventor? What are some traits you may have?
  • Select on the inventions you learned about and explain how it has impacted the world.
  • Research on the internet and find out three inventions in the 21st century that have positively impacted the world and explain.
  • What would happen if inventors did not share their failed research ideas and successful ideas with the world? 
  • Why is it important to share ideas with others? How is it beneficial to the community?
  • What is the author’s purpose in writing the story? How do you know it?

StoryWeaver is another free eBook resources that students can use to inquire, think critically and use the eBooks to create stories.

Title of the book: More or Less? Need to Guess! ,Written by Gayathri Tirthapura, Illustrated by Sahitya Rani – So many mithai boxes to count, so little time! Can Ranjita and Vikram do it? Yes, using a cool math trick called ‘Approximately More-or-Less’! Read this fun wedding story to learn the trick yourself. 

Activity 1: What was the problem in the story and how was it solved?

Activity 2: Describe a wedding that you last attended? 

Activity 3: What is the author’s purpose for writing the story? Is it to inform? Entertain or Persuade? How do you know that? Explain

Activity 4: Create a story that will help solve a math problem.

Activity 5: What genre is this story? Explain.

GetEpic:  An online eBook Platform: Title of the Book: The Trojan Horse: The Fall of Troy.

Ancient Greece’s best warriors battled their enemies, the Trojans, in a desperate attempt to win back King 

  • What genre is this story?
  • How is a myth different from historical fiction?
  • Describe the external and internal characteristics of the main character?
  • Who are the supporting characters and how do they bring out the best qualities of the main character?
  • Rewrite the Greek Myth using Indian setting and characters
  • What are some of the Indian myths you have heard? How is it different and similar to the Indian myths

For more eBook Resources – check out the Liferarian Padlet

Nonfiction Genres – What are the different forms?

By General No Comments

Every library has a collection of fiction and nonfiction books for students, teachers, and community.

Nonfiction books are usually a collection of facts based on research, evidence, and formal structure. According to the Oxford dictionary, nonfiction prose writing is informative or factual rather than fictional.

Nonfiction texts are presented in various forms. Some of them are – newspapers, magazines, academic paper, textbooks, manuals, travel guides, biographies, and press releases.

In the past 10 years, I have found the popularity of a variety o nonfiction writing styles to appeal to readers making the information far more interactive and meaningful.

Here is a gentle reminder to us to teach the different nonfiction genres to our students. You can use a couple of lessons to teach students about the nonfiction genre. You can read different types of nonfiction genres and help them identify, write, and create their very own collection. Research and facts are vital to writing any form of nonfiction books.

In the present-day context, nonfiction can take the form of essays, narrative documentaries, expository writing, persuasive writing, and descriptive explanation. Each of these forms of books entails research by the author.

With Genrefication of the collection becoming popular in many libraries, knowing the different nonfiction genres can help in the collection development. You can build the nonfiction collection by being mindful of the different styles. Libraries have a large percentage of nonfiction texts, therefore understanding the different forms of nonfiction texts can help build the library collection, thus meeting the needs of the various readers.

What are some of the different forms of nonfiction genres?

Narrative Writing

Tells a true story of an event, place, or person. It is sometimes written in the first person, “I.”

Expository Writing

This style of the book includes facts in the way of explanation of a topic. For example: How can the world save water that can positively impact water conservation.

Persuasive Writing

These books the author takes on a perspective on an issue and argues for or against the opposing side. The author uses facts and information to influence his audience. Often these are editorials in a magazine, newspaper of books.

Descriptive Writing or Narrative Nonfiction

Descriptive nonfiction often allows the reader to examine or explore the topic visually. The author uses sensorial language, rich details, and figurative language to appeal to the readers. Often these can be travelogues or explanation of an event, personal essay, memoirs or stories about animals, planets. There are many types of descriptions of Nonfiction Genre. You can use one that suits your students, whether elementary, middle, or high school.

Examples of nonfiction texts for Adults are:

Expository Writing: Nazia Erum’s debut book ‘Mothering a Muslim: The Dark Secret in Our Schools and Playgrounds’
Persuasive Writing: Dr Yusuf’s Merchant’s ‘Happyness: Life Lessons from a Creative Addict’
Narrative nonfiction: ‘Eleven Ways to Love’ by various authors
Descriptive Nonfiction Kama: The Riddle of Desire’ by Gurcharan Das

Examples of nonfiction texts for Middle & High School

Expository Writing: Spreading Your Wings: A Health Infocomic for Girls of All Ages (Age: 9+) by Ariana Abadian-Heifetz, Pia Alizé Hazarika
Narrative nonfiction: Dongri To Dubai: Six Decades of The Mumbai Mafia (Paperback)S. Hussain Zaidi
Persuasive Writing: What Young India Wants by Chetan Bhagat
Descriptive Nonfiction: How I Braved Anu Aunty & Co-Founded A Million Dollar Company by Varun Agarwal

Examples of nonfiction texts for Elementary/Primary School

Expository Writing: What If The Earth Stopped Spinning And 24 Other Mysteries Of Science
Narrative nonfiction: Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi
Persuasive Writing: Riddle of the Ridley by Shekhar Dattatri
Descriptive Nonfiction: Sleepy Little Yoga: A Toddler’s Sleepy Book of Yoga

Please do include your favourite nonfiction title in the comment box

What should I be Reading to Children in January 2020

By Indian Literature, Librarian's Role, Literacy, Readaloud, Reading Program One Comment

Reading Stories & Information

How can you build a growth mindset with Reading? How can you help build knowledge, perspective and develop the habit of good reading for children? it is when adults model and read the right text, at the right time through open discussions. So what do we do?

India is blessed with a variety of religion, culture and language. It is a celebration all year round. You and I can take this opportunity to invite our students to learn about the festivals and purpose behind the holidays.

 Most importantly look for a common thread, a theme that overlaps one another.  A common theme will bring unity, understanding and respect that we owe to all human beings. It will lift us from a basic description of festivals to thinking about the cause, impact and importance of the festival.

What should I read to my students/children in January or the Winter months in India?  What can librarians and teachers read to students?

Reading For Young Children:

  1. New Year Celebrations is often recognized by students as the beginning year with promises and resolutions. This book The Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Leg by Pratham will help invite students to think about kindness, care and make decisions to begin a year with empathy. Children can either discuss, share or write on index cards -about their resolution and stick it on the resolution tree on the bulletin board.
  2. This Book Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi, Sindhi & Other F…by VyanstGurivi G shares why and how different festivals are celebrated. And this one can be used to think of the similarities, and the differences among the festivals Lohri, Pongal and Makar Sankranti – each of them related to harvest time. The compare and contrast reflection sheets help in teaching students to evaluate works about similar topics offer positions of differences within the subject – while developing a theme.

Reading about Important dates in January 2020

Reading & Question

Time and Date tells us the events in India

Jan 1Wednesday New Year’s Day Restricted Holiday

Jan 2Thursday Guru Govind Singh Jayanti Restricted Holiday

Jan 14Tuesday Lohri Restricted Holiday

Jan 15Wednesday Pongal Restricted Holiday

Jan 15Wednesday Makar Sankranti Restricted Holiday

Jan 25Saturday Chinese New Year Observance

Jan 26Sunday Republic Day Gazetted HolidayJan 29Wednesday 

Jan 29 Wednesday  Vasant Panchami Restricted Holiday

Reading and Discussions with Older Students in January 2020

Reading, Thinking & Analyzing

Republic Day 

Instead of colouring the flag, asking students, what happens on Republic Day, who was the first president, as educators we need to ask open-ended and higher-order thinking questions that can promote thinking and analyses. It is a challenging process for teachers to deal with controversial topics, if we do not do take the responsibility, then who will?

  1. Researching on what it means for India to be a Republic?
  2. How is India’s Republic Status different from other countries Republic Status?
  3. Does it mean the same for all the countries – Explain?
  4. How is the  CAB bill (Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019) an extension of the Republic? Why is it a pressing bill?
  5. How can we ensure that CAB and National Register of Citizens bills are well understood?

Media Literacy with Reading

Teaching when done at the right time, becomes the Aha Moment! that we look for – Relevant and Timely. This is the time to introduce Media Literacy and look into biases and perspectives of different people by asking these questions? 

  • Who wrote or created the video, app, meme?
  • Does the author have credible credentials to back the information?
  • Why was it created?
  • Does the information match with other websites?
  • Are these different points of view?

If the article or media creates a strong emotive (positive or negative) reaction, we must remember to hold off and not jump to conclusions. Unless we read extensively about different perspectives and then draw informed decisions based on personal knowledge. We need to remember to hold off before spreading and passing on the information, especially if it is biased and/or has only one point of view. 

Responsible Digital Citizen & Reading

The internet has allowed everyone to share their voice and opinions. But, that doesn’t mean, everyone who shares on the internet is well informed when making opinions. It is crucial to learn how to be a responsible digital citizen. While discussing controversial topics, it is important for the teacher, to provide newspaper cuttings, articles from different sources to build on information, analyze, think and clarify. 

New Year Reading Topic for Older Students

Older students can also look up the history of ‘New Year Celebrations’ – What it means to different people in different religions and countries. 

  • How can we be respectful and celebratory of all religions? The Bahaii, Islam, Hindu, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians all have different days for their New Year.

    Read & Discuss with a Heart!

  • What can we do as a nation to build solidarity, empathy and dignity of all? 

What is a Discussion?

A good rule for analysis or discussion needs to be based on hard facts and a soft voice. A discussion should be an attempt to explore and understand the subject from all points of view and not a clash of who is right or wrong.

Discussion is not a debate – no one is right or wrong. It is an attempt to emphatically listen to each other. The teachers’ job here is that of a facilitator, not taking sides, recognize and encourage fact-based discussion with an emphasis on the origin of the information.  (Where did the information come from and what makes you stand by that information – is it based on facts or opinions) Ensure that we build a community of learners with a heart.

Teachers as Reading Facilitators

Open discussions and respect of varied opinions are a part of a matured mind and elevated intellect. 

Having robust discussions about politics, religion are challenging but not impossible. An excellent reminder to the teachers and students would be to remember, we all are humans, we all have rights and responsibility, and it is necessary to adopt and include all members of the human society while each one performing their responsibilities.