Drilling down to what I believe my role as a TL should be is becoming more complex than I first thought – it’s like peeling the layers of an onion.
Firstly, I thought I would find the answer by identifying my beliefs and philosophies about education, which I did in An Unexpected Party but I found that wasn’t sufficient. It certainly helped me clarify my thinking but it didn’t go far enough.
Then, in The Shape of the Head I thought that the role of the TL could be determined by the role of the school library which had to be determined by the school community, yet that still wasn’t enough.
And so I found myself delving even deeper, down to the core of the purpose of the school – the education of the students. I asked
- What is it that students have a right to within the school that is sacred regardless of who is at the helm?
- What should they expect to experience as the absolute intellectual, social, emotional, physical, cultural, ethical, pedagogical and environmental basics of their school experience?
- Should there be a Bill of Rights for Students?
If we believe education should be truly student-centred, then surely a formal statement that sets out students’ rights is appropriate.
Because each school is unique because its clientele is unique such a statement would have to be developed within each learning community, but there are some seminal documents which would need to be considered…
- The UN Rights of the Child
- The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians
- Any overarching policy set out by the school’s educational authority
- The school’s mission statement
Even though I am no longer in a school, I can’t challenge you to do something that I’m not prepared to try so I’ve developed a draft statement which might serve as an inspiration for you to start the conversation with your learning community. I have to stress that it has been created without input from anyone but me, which is its first fault, but I’m a great believer in not being able to edit a blank page so offer it in that spirit. You can find it as a separate page of this blog.
Perhaps now I’m in a position to consider just what it is the TL can contribute to the teaching and learning of the students in our care…