Teacher-School Library Media Specialist Collaboration through Social Marketing Strategies: An Information Behavior Study
Barbara Immroth is Professor, University of Texas School of Information
W. Bernard Lukenbill is Professor, University of Texas School of Information
This research was supported in part though an IMLS Kent State University Grant supporting Information Literacy.
Based on the importance of teacher-school library media specialist collaboration , this study seeks to advance knowledge involving the dynamics of this special relationship. The subjects were a group of student librarians--themselves experienced teachers--as they attempted to foster collaborative information literacy activities with selected teachers in their host schools.(Note: The term "student librarian" is the official term applied within the institutional setting in which the research occurred.) The investigators instructed these student librarians to base their approaches on social marketing theory and practice. In addition, the investigators acquired data about collaboration processes from two focus groups made up of experienced teachers, who responded to a set of questions designed to measure teacher predictability to engage in collaboration. Findings indicated that collaboration is expensive, involving investments of time, resources, and human interactions within complex systems of institutional culture and personal expectations. Although complex, social marketing principles are integrated throughout the collaboration process; they signal that school library media specialists, as marketers of a socially useful service, need to build trust for themselves and promote the collaborative process as a socially and professionally rewarding activity. Toward this end, school library media specialists-as-marketers have the responsibility for developing a social market environment conductive to collaboration between teachers and school library media specialist.
Research Questions, Goals, and Objectives of the Project | Defining Terms | Theoretical Constructs and Literature Review | Method | Findings | Discussion | A School Community Collaboration Model | Conclusion | Appendices and Figures | References
This research project attempted to field-test a strategy for teacher-SLMS collaboration based on social marketing techniques designed to promote collaborative activities between teachers and librarians in the creation of instructional units that would likely promote student achievement through the better use of information literacy skills and information seeking behaviors. It essentially looked at the process of librarian-teacher collaboration as one of human-information seeking behavior and interaction. The strategy was also designed to help teachers understand the importance of information literacy and to help them integrate information literacy skills and information seeking behaviors into classroom instruction. The approach used in this study was influenced and informed by theoretical assumptions contained in social marketing; the sociological of collaboration, and exchange theory. Specifically the research focused on these questions:
- Can social marketing strategies be used effectively to promote collaboration between classroom teachers and building-level librarians (for example, SLMSs) in improving information literacy skills of students?
- What major personal and institutional dynamics within schools are likely to occur between teachers and librarians in the collaboration process that either promote or hinder collaboration? What are major predicative behaviors exhibited by teachers that are likely to indicate favorable collaboration attitudes?
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Social marketing is a concept promoted by Zaltman, Kotler, and Kaufman (1972), in which they reasoned that the same marketing principles used to sell products to consumers could be used to promote socially beneficial ideas, attitudes, and behaviors to target audiences. They believed that social marketing was different from commercial marketing in that it sought to influence social behaviors not to benefit the marketer, but to benefit the target audience and general society. Since the 1970s, social marketing has been widely used to promote a variety of prosocial behaviors including:reducing smoking, reducing drug abuse, preventing heart disease, promoting contraceptive use, and promoting organ donation. Social marketing seeks to influence behaviors by changing behaviors, beliefs, attitudes, and actions or to reinforce existing positive behaviors. To bring these behavior changes about, social marketing promotes communication with the target audience through well-conceived educational activities, and public information management. Social marketing, similar to commercial marketing follows the Attention Interest Desire Action (AIDA) model directed at a selected, target audience.
A social marketing message must be noticed and it must attract attention (A). It must generate interest (I) in the organization and in the product or services being promoted. The message must show that the product or services will be of benefit to the customer now or in the future; thereby it creates a desire (D) for the product or service, The last element is action (A). The potential client must be motivated to take positive action regarding the service or product. Social marketing does not indoctrinate, but it does educate and inform possible customers about choices and potential for betterment of both the individual and the group.
Social Exchange Theory
Social Exchange Theory suggests that an interaction involves voluntary exchange of resources (including goods, talents, and expertise) between individuals, groups, and organizations. These entities have resources of value that they are willing to exchange for likely benefits. From an economic point of view, benefits must be weighed against the cost of exchange and sharing in terms of what the received benefits will be. Because exchange theory involves social networks, characteristics of relationships, social structures, power configurations, exclusion patterns, negotiation skills, and styles, the prevailing economic influences are important to understand.
Social Collaboration is concerned with social rules and processes that govern, bind, and even separate people. Social collaboration involves individuals, groups, institutions, businesses, governments, and associations as they work together to meet common goals. (General Theory of Collaboration, n.d; Mattessich and Monsey 1992).
School Librarian and Student Librarian
The term school librarian is used in this study to indicate building-level school library media specialists. School librarian is the official title recognized for certification by the State of Texas. The term student librarian is the term applied to graduate-level students who are seeking certification by the State of Texas and are enrolled in an official graduate-level course required by the state for certification as a school librarian.
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Theoretical Constructs and Literature Review
As mentioned earlier, Zaltman, Kotler, and Kaufman (1972) conceived social marketing concepts based on their understanding of commercial marketing theory. Weinreich (1999) furthered those concepts by suggesting practical and useful applications.
School library theorists and practitioners who have addressed various theoretical and practical issues involved in the processes of librarian-teacher collaboration and information seeking behaviors include: Berkowitz (1997), Putnam (1996), Van Deusen (1996), and Wolcott (1996). All address the positive attributes of collaboration with teachers. In recent years Achterman (2005), Becker (2005), Bush (2003, 2003), Buzzeo; (2002, 2002, 2007), Capozzi (2005), Coatney (2005), Doll (2005), Farmer (2006), Fredericks (2007), Haycock (2003), Jacobson and Mackey (2007), Lankford (2006), MacDonell (2005), Milbury (2005), Moreillon (2006), Ravid and Handler (2001), Robinson (2005), Stripling and Hughes-Hassell (2003), Taylor (2005), Tu (2004), Turner and Riedling (2003), Weisman (2002), Wilson and Lyders (2001), and Youssef (2005) have continued this discussion. Dissertation research by Cate (1998), Martinez (2005), Phillipson (1999), Seavers (2002), Slygh (2002), and Thomas (1986) addressed issues and problems from practical and theoretical levels associated with librarian-teacher collaboration and their research offers much in the way of practical application and theory building.
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For the purpose of this study, we assumed that social marketing is not complicated and can fit into most school library media environments. To test this assumption, this study used two approaches based on social marketing techniques and theory. It tested for behavior attributes held by teachers that might serve as predictors of willingness to collaborate with librarians. It also tested for behavior attributes (positive and negative) occurring when teachers and librarians engage in collaboration involving information literacy skills. The research approach used was twofold. Our first test used student librarians enrolled in a graduate-level practicum course to meet requirements for a state-mandated certification for school librarians, offered through a university in spring 2004. This group is labeled test group 1 (T1). T1 required the cooperation of the students' field librarian supervisors (that is, building school librarians) and selected teachers in the host schools.
Our second approach employed two focus groups of teachers invited by the schools' librarians from two schools not involved in the actual collaboration projects. The two focus group cohort as a unit of study is labeled test group 2 (T2). The focus groups consisted of faculty drawn from one elementary school and one high school. The focus groups met only one time after school and responded to a set of questions posed to them by an experienced facilitator (not the investigators) regarding collaboration between teachers and librarians. To help foster discussion, scenarios of problems that librarians might encounter were given to each focus group. Although these scenarios were used to prompt discussion, the discussion was not limited to issues raised in these.
The cohort of student librarians as a group of test subjects was asked to take part in this study as a part of their usual "problem solving" assignment. The principles investigators developed guidelines for the student librarians for the collaboration project that included directions for design of marketing strategies (for example, announcements, leaflets, and conferences), and instructional unit design procedures that involved both subject content and information literacy skills. Included in these instructions were suggestions for services to offer, limitations to set, and time frames to follow. As a part of the marketing incentive, students were permitted to offer $200 toward the purchase of library resources to a teacher who agreed to participate with them in planning and presenting a unit of study to their students emphasizing information literacy skills. Students were instructed on how to engage in a collaborative process and how to keep such observational records as field notes, unobtrusive observations, and informal evidence. A summative evaluation asked both the student librarian and the teacher to reflection on the experience. Analysis was based on available data from five schools (four elementary and one middle school). (Data from the two high school sites were unavailable for analysis).
Responses from both groups were transcribed and analyzed by the two investigators based on a case study approach as suggested by Good (1972, 347-51) as well as a commercial computer-based content analysis program. To ensure objectivity in preparing the case studies the following the procedures were followed based on guidelines suggested by Huberman and Miles (1994). These include:
- Sites and participants were selected in a logical matter.
- Data collection and recoding followed standard instrument construction methods used to develop case histories.
- Careful reading of the participant journals, focus group transcriptions, and answers form the teacher questionnaires were performed.
- Data summaries based on a standard code for analysis reflected in the various data formats was constructed.
- Careful attention as given as to how the study was conceived analytically in terms of problems to be investigated, definitions to be used, and approach and method to follow.
- Presentation of the data was based on a counting and coding procedure of the major categories reflected in the data.
The clinical case report method followed in this study is also based on what is called "the idiographic approach" and endorsed by Schwartz and Jacobs (1979, 68-71). This methods holds that clinical case reports of individuals are representative enough of a specific group that generalizations can be made about the behaviors of individuals belonging to such groups or cohorts.
See appendixes 1-4 for examples on measurement and recording instruments used in the study.
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Test of the Social Marketing AIDA Model
Attention (A)--Gaining Attention and Convincing
To draw attention to their role in collaboration, most, if not all of the student librarians in T1 first developed flyers that, in various ways, were distributed to faculty. This is a standard method of advertising new products and services; we used this technique to see if such an approach was feasible in a school environment. What we found was that the building librarians were very protective of how and where this was distributed. Because the student librarians were basically visitors in the school, they had very little say in this decision.
One building librarian would not allow the distribution, saying that the principal might not approve. Another librarian decided to allow it to go only to a selected group of teachers with whom the librarian had a collaborative relationship. For the most part, simply relying on flyers was not successful as most teachers did not respond to them. In some cases, e-mails sent to the faculty or to selected teachers (targeted markets) did produce responses. Often the building librarian simply had to approach a teacher and ask for participation.
What this appears to suggest is that gaining attention using social marketing within a school environment to promote collaboration is a social-interaction process that must be built over time with good interpersonal skills, along with a develping respect for and trust of the librarian based on his or her skills. In two cases, teachers responded to the public announcement based either on the cash incentive or on a desire to help a student librarian with an assignment. Overall, social marketing strategies must be enough to generate attention through personal needs or a sense of meeting professional service expectations. As the building level librarians were well-established within the school, we wondered whether a straightforward advertising approach, such as distribution of announcements, might work better for new librarians who need to establish their presences as colleagues willing to collaborate with teachers.
Interest (I)--Promoting Interest in Services and/or products
On the whole, the strategies used in the field studies initially generated little interest on the part of the faculty to engage in a collaborative project with student librarians. The demands on teachers' time seemed to be a prohibiting factor, as well as mandatory testing requirements that left little free time for "extra" activities. The role of "visitor" that student librarians were forced to assume also might have been a factor in lessening the overall interest in collaboration projects. Our data suggest that to market their services and products, librarians must create an interest in what they have to offer and to show that their services have immediate and long-lasting value to teachers.
Strategies used by marketers to establish and sustain interest in an organization and its services include crafting an image of the organization as a comfortable and inviting place from which good services and programs are routinely expected and of the effective and approachable people who manage and staff the organization. Responses from the focus groups, although consisting of self-selected teachers who responded to librarians' invitations to join the focus groups, showed more interest in collaboration with librarians than did teachers in the field test and reflected the teachers' attitude that librarians had much to offer them for improving their teaching effectiveness and student achievement.
Desire (D) and Action. (A)-Recognizing Values and Taking Action
Desire leads to action. Responses from the field tests showed that teachers initially did not desire to participate in a collaboration project with the student librarians. Only two teachers responded directly to the advertisement. The cash incentive of $200 seemed to have played only a small role in encouraging teachers to engage in collaboration within the context of this study. Nevertheless, once the field tests were completed, teachers (with one exception) found the experience rewarding. All teacher collaborators indicated that they would be willing to collaborate with their school librarian in the future. The focus groups indicated the same willingness to collaborate with librarians, with the teachers stating that they and their students would benefit from collaboration.
No marketing campaign is successful without action on the part of the potential client. In the field studies most of the action was initiated by the school librarian asking for teacher participation rather than teachers recognizing the value of collaboration opportunities and coming forward based on the advertisement strategies used. Nevertheless, social marketing theory suggests that certain important action processes and themes generally occur in the action segment. These included the following:
- negotiation skills;
- social, professional, and personal benefits incurred through collaboration;
- power to help make decisions;
- social and administrative support for collaboration;
- skill and instructional expertise of librarians;
- teacher authority and control; and
- initiation of contact. (Mattessich and Monsey 1992)
Action Process Themes and Processes
We found that common themes and processes merged from both our tests groups. Teachers indicated that they were efficient in collaboration and that they could negotiate with librarians in a collaboration project. Most teachers in the field test indicated that they were pleased with the results of their student librarian collaboration, noting they benefited personally and that their students benefited from exposure to new resources and various information approaches. Student librarians indicated that they were given some discretion in how they prepared and presented lessons, but in most cases, the student librarians were expected to simply design instruction and resources around what the teacher had already planned or had customarily taught. In other cases, teachers were open to new ideas, approaches, and resources. What seemed to be of the most benefit to teachers in these student librarian collaboration projects were exposure to new resources and the expertise shown on the part of the student librarian to engage their students with information technology and print resources. Having a student librarian assume some of the planning and presentations also gave the teachers more time for other important matters.
The focus groups indicated the value that librarians offered in terms of information expertise, thus affecting their effectiveness as teachers. Learning about resources, having help from the librarians to make them better teachers, and seeing how students benefited by new information literacy experiences were the social and personal rewards incurred from collaboration and noted by teachers in T1 and members of the focus groups in T2.
Teachers in both groups felt that their administration would expect and support collaboration with librarians. Teachers also felt that their school librarians were very capable of collaboration on their projects. Student librarians noted the limited time frame in which teachers worked, and they felt that this lack of time often interfered with their effective collaboration. Because of time constraints, student librarians often found it difficult to maintain contact with their teacher-collaborators. For the most part, student librarians found their teacher-collaborators to be flexible, open to negotiation, and accepting of ideas from them.
The student librarians also learned more about teacher needs and how to meet them. It is necessary to note that student librarians were still in a subservient role due to their stature as student librarians; this undoubtedly influenced their effectiveness as collaborators. Problems did arise in one field test situation where there was an obvious personality conflict. The student librarian perceived the teacher to be noncommunicative, disinterested, and unresponsive to requests for information about the planned unit. On the other hand, the teacher felt that the student librarian was incompetent, did not make herself available, did not manage her time well, and that she did a poor job of presenting the lesson to the class. The student librarian perceived the teacher to be disengaged and inattentive during the lesson presentation. Nevertheless, this teacher agreed, based on prior experiences with librarians, that collaboration with a school librarian was beneficial.
One aspect of collaboration that the data from these two groups did not completely reveal was that of territoriality. Just how much authority are teachers willing to allot to the librarian in collaboration? Data from T1 indicated that teacher style often determined this.
Teachers who were more open and relaxed in their approach to teaching seemed more willing to release some authority than teachers who were more structured. T2 indicated that giving up some authority and territory rested with the perceived competency of the librarian. In terms of initiation of collaboration, T2 noted that the openness of the librarian and an invitation to collaborate from the librarian were helpful in fostering collaboration. Some teachers would be willing to initiate collaboration, but they seemed to need some sign of assurance that the librarian would be open to such collaboration. This indicates that the school librarian has the prime responsibility to open collaboration dialogues. Both groups indicated that time was a factor in collaboration. Both teachers and librarians have limitations on their time, and they both must understand the work and time demands placed on each other.
Data also indicated that collaboration can be enhanced by librarians bringing ideas, conceptsc and directions to teachers. Requirements of state-mandated exams also played a role in teacher-librarian collaboration. If used correctly, these exams can foster collaboration between teacher and librarian in skill development. One teacher in T2 indicated that collaboration with the school librarian caused her students' scores to increase significantly.
The data indicated that predictive behavior of teachers toward collaboration is tied to their available time and the responsibilities that they have as teachers. If they clearly see benefits to them and their students they will likely enter into collaboration if an avenue is available to them. They ask: Will collaboration promote learning for both them and their students? Will it save them time? Will it help students perform better on mandated exams? Teachers are more likely to enter into collaboration if they have confidence in the librarians and if they have had good experiences with librarians in the past. Although not completely evident from this data, it appears that teachers are not really accustomed to collaboration in the complete sense, of seeing it as a process between equals. For example, in this study, student librarians were not always given authority to structure or present lessons. It appears that in such cases, the assumption made by teachers was that the student librarian was an auxiliary support person. In one case, this was reinforced by the field school librarian insisting that the student librarian follow a prescribed program of information literacy instruction and that the student integrate that process into work with the teacher. The student librarian felt that this limited her role as an equal collaborator with the teacher.
T2 findings indicated that collaboration is enhanced when the school librarian is a full member of the teaching staff and recognized as such and is included in curriculum planning. T2 participants felt that knowledge of students and how they learn is essential for a librarian attempting to collaborate with teachers.
In addition, further analysis based on student report data showed that the student librarians in T1 experienced some levels of anxiety and feelings of inferiority in their interaction with their teacher-collaborators. This most likely can be explained by the subordinated student-teacher role that they played in this collaboration experiment.
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Collaboration research in recent years enforces much of what we found in this study. For example, Mattessich and Monsey (1992) reviewed 133 studies of research literature relating to collaboration from many areas including health, social science, education and public affairs. Their summary, along with more specific librarian-teacher collaboration studies are presented below in relation to our study.
Environment and Collaborative History
Collectively, the collaborative environment includes a history of collaboration, the group or unit engaged in collaboration is seen by others as leaders in collaboration, and a climate that is politically and socially favorable to collaboration is developed and maintained. In our study, the most successful projects occurred when a history of librarian-teacher collaboration was established and ongoing. Data from both the field tests (T1) and the focus group cohorts (T2) indicated that a history of collaborating with the librarians played an important role in teachers' willingness to engage and continue a collaborative relationship with librarians. These data also suggested the importance of the school librarian's leadership in helping to establish a politically and socially supportive environment for collaboration. Slygn (2004) found that a positive sense of professional community--as suggested by factors found in the School Library Project--voiced by teachers, librarians, and school principals reinforced librarian-teacher collaboration.
Studies by Cate (1998), Martinez (2005), Phillipson (1999), and Thomas (1986) highlighted the importance of environment in successful librarian-teacher collaboration. Cate found that a healthy environment promoted collaboration, in that personal growth occurred, social relationships developed, and collaborators leaned new skills and gained new understandings. We likewise found indications of this in both our field tests and in comments from the field tests and focus groups.
On the other hand, Phillipson, in her study of how the school librarian might collaborate as an outreach agent to the local community, found that an environment that promotes competition as a measure of success can complicate collaborations, but this can be lessened if the role of the school library is negotiated and measured as a bridge between school and the larger community. Martinez also noted in her study of school library outreach programs for at-risk youth that collaboration promoted the development of useful social networks as well as increased librarians' knowledge of skills and intervention theories.
Memberships Characteristics (including Process and Structure)
Collaboration membership includes:
- mutual respect and understanding;
- self-interests and a shared stake;
- ability to compromise;
- adaptability; and
- clear roles and policy guidelines.
Mattessich and Monsey found that mutual respect and understanding is necessary for collaboration. Mutual respect and understanding factors were likewise found in our study in data from the focus groups as well as the field projects.
Mattessich and Monsey also noted that collaboration is reinforced by self-interest and a shared stake in the outcomes of collaboration. This is a fundamental finding in our study, as teachers noted that collaboration was beneficial to both themselves and to their students, especially as it related to student achievements. By the very nature of the assignment, student librarians showed a very high interest that their collaborations succeed based on their own need for accomplishment. Multimembership indicators from our study were inferred by the close oversight given by the field librarians to the projects, knowledge of their teachers, their understanding of policy, and the personal preferences and management styles of their building-level principals.
Data from the focus groups showed an awareness of the effects of policy, procedures, and communication in fostering collaboration. The focus groups suggested the need for compromise and flexibility. These factors varied in the field test situations. In some situations, the teachers showed flexibility and willingly made needed compromises. In other case,s they did not because of personal preferences. In these cases, with a few exceptions, the needs of the teachers prevailed.
Mattessich and Monsey found process and structure requires both frequent and open communication and informal and formal communication links for collaboration success. We found this in our study as well. Both teachers and student librarians in T1 complained of the difficulty in meeting and getting messages to each other. In our study, communication generally consisted of regularly scheduled conferences and e-mails. Informal contacts proved problematic because of the scheduling of the student librarians at the schoo; as such, the student librarians were not often available for informal meetings with their collaborating teachers. The more successful projects occurred when both teachers and student librarians were willing to make adjustments so necessary meetings could occur. Problems occurred when either the teacher or the student librarian could not make these adjustments.
Shared Goals, Mission, and Purpose
A shared vision of goals and mission is necessary for success, according to the Mattessich and Monsey literature review. The field tests demonstrated this in several ways. Teachers were willing to participate in collaboration because they perceived it as helpful in improving student performance. They also appeared willing to collaborate to help both the building librarian and the student librarian in training, as a professional responsibility.
Data from the focus groups indicate that teachers clearly understood the goals and purposes of librarian-teacher collaboration and that they held a shared vision. Although Mattessich and Monsey noted that successful collaborations are fostered by a sense of unique purpose, we did not test for this predictor. Nevertheless, enthusiasm from the focus groups for collaboration suggested a feeling of uniqueness.
Resources and Convener
According to Mattessich and Monsey , a financial base is required for successful collaboration. In our study, we did not calculate a monetary cost from collaboration. Nonetheless, if staff time required for collaboration and staff needs are considered resources, then resource support becomes paramount. The data from our study indicated that both time factors and staffing are crucial to successful, ongoing collaboration--and that both are not readily available. Seavers (2002) noted the importance that staff time availability played in the success of collaboration. She, along with Martines (2005) and Mattessich and Monsey, recognized staff resources as necessary for successful collaboration.
Collaboration requires someone to convene and manage the group. Mattessich and Monsey noted that a skilled convener must have interpersonal and organization skills. Field test data clearly indicated the importance of the convener role that building-level librarians played in our study. Librarians in the test schools (T1) developed the trust and respect of participating teachers to the extent that the latter were willing to enter into collaborative experiences with student librarians. Focus groups also indicated teachers' respect for their librarians as conveners and initiators of collaboration. Thomas (1986) found this leadership and convener factor in her study of librarian-teacher collaboration related to the planning and delivery of a unit on poetry for sixth-grade students.
Social exchange theory and community psychology theory are two theoretical concepts that influenced the development and interpretation of data from this investigation Social exchange theory involves the sharing of resources and talents with others in exchange for benefits. Expenses such as staffing, time requirements, and financial and materials resources involved in the exchange must be carefully weighed in terms of overall cost.
Social exchange also plays a role in social marketing strategies, in that the cost and benefits are very much a part of the dynamics of social marketing interchange and must be considered. Our study was designed to test social marketing strategies as a means of promoting collaboration. In some sense, our data indicated some success. Nonetheless, the cost factors were great in terms of staff time. Elements of social exchange theory is found imbedded through our study as well as previously discussed librarian-teacher collaboration by Cate, Martinez, Phillipson, Seavers, Slygh, and Thomas.
Over the years, community psychology has evolved to where it now places emphasis on helping communities improve through informed, professional intervention. The theoretical aspect of community psychology in our study is implied from the fact that collaboration is an intervention process designed to improve a school community. These community intervention concepts are developed further in studies by Martinez (2005) and Phillipson (1999).
In summary, based on data in this study, teachers in both test groups were supportive regarding collaboration with librarians. For the most part, these teachers previously had positive experiences with librariansand seemed willing to collaborate. This eagerness was reflected in the perceived value that collaboration would bring to them as teachers as well as to their students. They may not have been aware of AASL's and AECT's definition of collaboration, but they certainly saw the librarian-teacher collaboration as a valuable asset to them and their students. The investigators assumed this positive attitude from the teachers regarding collaboration was based on the social and professional competencies of the school librarians in the test schools and librarians in previous schools where the teachers had worked. It likewise appeared that the social and psychological atmosphere in these schools promoted and would support librarian-teacher collaboration.
Nevertheless, the time constraints on both teachers and librarians worked against extensive collaboration. For example, with a large high school having more than two hundred teachers in different subject areas, librarians and their limited staffs cannot hope to collaborate with each on an equal basis. Choices and selection of collaboration projects must to be made based on management needs. Routines and policies for collaboration must be established in concert with the school community and announced to the faculty. T2 teachers, especially those from the high school, recognized and understood this.
In terms of this research project, the bureaucracy of both the university where the research project was based and one school system in the study limited the access to students, librarians, and teachers, due to such requirements as protocols for studying human subjects and legal and privacy constraints. Because of this, and the small numbers in the test groups, our study must be reviewed as exploratory.
As discussed in the method section of this report, the Schwartz and Jacobs idiographic approach followed in this study, suggests that the characteristics found in this investigation are likely representative of schools having effective school librarians who have established social and professional networks necessary for collaboration. Therefore we argue that positive collaboration is possible only where the school librarians have been successful in applying some of the major attributes of the basic theoretical concepts and practices in this study including social exchange and social marketing practices.
We suggest that collaboration takes on different dynamics in schools where librarians have not been successful in their social or professional roles and are not accepted by teachers as equal to the tasks of teaching and collaboration. We further suggest that perhaps in these types of unproductive collaborative situations, a better understanding of exchange theory and social marketing strategies by librarians can improve the collaborative nature of the teacher-librarian interchange. Social exchange and social marketing approaches used in an informed way and in conjunction with community psychology can be effective in bringing about needed change and in creating a culture conducive to teacher-librarian collaboration. Although the commercial marketing techniques used in social marketing are applicable, the data from this study indicate that they must be modified to fit the circumstance of the situation. For example, in terms of gaining attention for collaboration activities, conventional advertising (for example, published and distributed announcements and flyers) may need to give way to more individualized means of contact and promotion.
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A School-Community Collaboration Model
A model serves as a pattern or explanation of events or phenomena. It can be narrative and mathematical, and it can present its interpretation in symbolic or abstract terms. Models can explain scientific relationships, social or organizational conditions, or a communication pattern. Community psychology theories and models in general--and those applied to library environments in particular--suggest that the behavior of a community is influenced by how community workers (in this case, school library media specialists) interpret the role of their organizations in their community of work and how they then model their own behaviors according to that understanding (Penland and Williams 1974; Levine and Perkins 1997). In other words, if school librarians see the organizational role of the library as one that fosters collaboration with teachers, then their behaviors will foster a collaborative atmosphere. Based on community psychology theory and the principles of social marketing theory, we suggest the a model for promoting collaboration in figure 1.
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School librarians have a professional mandate and social expectation to collaboration with teachers. Collaboration promotes better teacher effectiveness and student learning, and it can advance the professional standing of the school librarian in a community of learners. Although there are several approaches that can advance collaboration with teachers, social marketing offers an approach that has been very effective in promoting and improving social good in many areas important to society and culture. Social marketing presents examples worth emulating.
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1. Observational Records:
Please keep a formal diary of your observations about both yourself and your teacher behaviors as you proceed through this project. Divide your manual into the following sections and record your observations for each type of behavior there.
A. Observations of Teachers
Points of agreements
Points of disagreements
Issues that required negotiations
Nature of negotiation resolution
Indications of satisfaction with process and project
Important comments made by teacher (positive/negative). See questions in section C below.
B. Student self assessment (record your own behaviors).
Make a separate section for each category and record your observations there.
Points of agreements
Points of disagreements
Issues that required negotiations
Nature of negotiation resolutions
Indicators of satisfaction with process and product
Indicate your feelings about apply social marketing in promoting better collaboration between teachers and librarians
C. Self Refection of Teachers
(At the end of the consulting stage ask your teacher to answer these questions. For consistency, have your teacher write down the answers.)
Working with the librarian in this collaboration project was helpful? Comments:
Would you be willing to discuss other collaboration opportunities with a librarian should you have the opportunity? Comments
Would you take the initative to begin another collaboration project with a librarian? Comments
Do you believe that a collaboration project with a librarian has or is likely to improve your teaching effectiveness? Comments
Do you believe that this collaboration project with a librarian has or will increase students' achievement levels? Comments
Do you see any personal rewards or gratification for you from having engaged in this collaboration project? Comments
Would you be willing to enter another collaboration project with a librarian on an equal basis (that is sharing ideas and being willing to adjust your ideas based on input from the librarian about effective teaching strategies based on his/her knowledge of resources?) Comments
Do you see any social rewards for your collaboration with the school librarian (recognition from administration, students, other faculty, parents, etc?) Comments
Do you feel that currently you would have support from the administration to continue to engage in collaborative projects with the school librarian? Comments
Do you feel that you would be effective in the future in negotiation with the librarian in a collaboration project, (asking for resources to be purchased, asking for direct assistance in instructional preparation; logistic support from the librarian, etc.). Comments
Generally do you feel that most school librarians have the experience, training, and skills needed to engage in collaboration with you in preparing instruction? Comments
Were the promotion techniques based on social marketing as used in this project to encourage teachers to participate in this project appropriate? Comments appreciated.
D. Final product exhibit
After the project is complete please make sure that you give to Dr. Immroth all materials developed in this project.
E. Required forms of consent .
The University requires that all research participants be advised of their rights and assured of confidentiality. Please advise your teacher of this, and make sure that your teacher signs the attached agreement and consent form.
Appendix 2. Case Report No. 1
Type of School: Elementary collaboration with second grade teacher.
Marketing: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
Flyer produced interest from second grade teachers for this and project by extension the field supervisor as a result of the publicity and interaction of the teachers-librarian and teacher.
Flyer was good in alerting faculty to resources and services available in the library.
Social marketing help connect teachers to the library for collaboration.
Already existing social networked helped and perhaps even made this possible.
Marketing technique can best result from the targeting of one particular teacher?
Librarians must prove that collaboration is a values investment of time on part of the teacher
Librarians need to bring ideas and examples to teachers along with information that others have collaborated.
Student: Collaboration Project Reaction
Pleased with outcome. Students were observed able to execute research skill objectives of the lesson.
Student Interaction with Teacher
Initial phone reaction was somewhat negative. To student teacher seemed hurried. Student was nervous as this teacher was not generally responses to invitation by field librarian. Student was nervous became she was new to faculty and did not know faculty well. During First part of lesson student was nervous.
Teacher and student agreed on information literacy project—teaching WebCat to second graders and its execution. Agreed that this would be a logical fit into previous work.
Time frame for instruction needed to be reduced because of teacher time schedule.
Time frame needed to be negotiated. Compromised was agreed to.
Teacher seemed skeptical at first of the project. Willing to try it for the benefit it allowed for free time.
As students responded successfully to the instruction, teacher's attitude changed and become positive.
Helpful to know where the books were.
Willing to continue other collaborative projects with librarian
Would be willing to initiate collaboration project, librarians are helpful.
Librarian's collaboration and active teaching helps free her for TEKE skills
Collaborative project with librarians will help students by offering wider awareness
Reward came into giving more time for TEKE skills
Would be willing to collaborate on an equal basis
There may be social reward—not sure
Support from administration to continue collaboration projects
Would be effective in future in negotiate with librarians in collaboration.
Feels that librarians have experience and skills to work in coloration projects for instruction.
Promotion techniques for this project were fine.
Appendix 3. Focus Groups Scenarios
Put yourself in the place of a librarian:
An experienced teacher of an advanced language arts class (honors class) has come to you with a request for you to gather up and make available all materials on Texas Native American folklore. He/she plans an assignment in which students will be asked to find an authentic Native American poem from a Texas Native American tribe. The teacher plans to have the students write their own poems based on poems they selected, following the styles and motifs of the poems selected. She has given the student 2 weeks to do this.
You, the librarian see some real problems with this assignment. First of all, you know that this type of materials is not readily available in your library and probably has not been widely published outside of scholarly folklore journals which are not well indexed. You know that your collection cannot accommodate this assignment and that it will require extensive searching in a research library. Secondly, you wonder whether these 7 th graders will be able to master the writing of such a poem within the time frame given by the teacher.
How would you as the librarian suggest a collaborative project with the teacher in which you together design a more productive assignment?
Put yourself in the place of the teacher.
You are an inexperienced art teacher and you have been searching for ways to better interest your average students in art and helping them understanding how art is an integrated part of their culture and society. You have two ideas. One is to have students conduct research folklore characters such as Pecos Bill and to design commutative stamps based on their understanding of the characters and their exploits. The second is to have students identify an historic event in history (especially history of minorities and other groups outside the mainstream of standard history) and, in small groups, to have them develop class murals depicting the selected events. You know very little about folklore and your knowledge of this type of history is limited.
You do not know the librarian well, but you feel that this is a project on which you both might collaborate.
How would you go about suggesting this collaboration to the librarian?
Case no. ________
Type of School:
Nature of Contact and Its Effectiveness
Description and Nature of the Product and its Execution (Successes and/or failures)
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