A Barbarian in the Reading room

Welcome to my blog


Why this title? Well in my last school job I had a reading (as in reading a book) room and this was used on Open Days by the Learning Support Department. At one such event they put up a notice saying Leaning Support and I said "Oh I suppose this is the Reading (as in UK town to the west of London) Room now." They retorted by naming me the Barbarian and it has sort of stuck.


Sadly, this blog does not include much about Reading (as in the UK town to the west of London) or barbarians but will contain my thoughts on issues in the library and information world and also detail some of the events I have attended, places I have visited and courses I have run. Enjoy!

By sjpavey, Sep 12 2014 03:36PM

So the P45 arrived in the post yesterday heralding the final cut off from permanent employment at Box Hill School. It really is the start of a new adventure and reality is beginning to kick in ...but in a good way. Firstly sleep patterns are interesting. At first some consultancy work had me out of bed even earlier than before and I was beginning to wonder if this was such a good idea but things have settled down with not every day being out and about. There has been time for writing and even better time for thinking and reflecting. I can however appreciate how some people lose track of what day of the week it is. Avoiding the challenge not to slob around in night attire for much of the day is also an aspect I hadn't envisaged!

So far I have been moving and sorting the Junior and Infant libraries for the Gordon Schools in Medway and advising their near neighbour school New Horizon's Children's Academy with the help of Jo Thornhill and the ever wonderful Heath Educational Books. It has been quite a physical task and it looks as if this will continue with my latest client Winston Churchill School near Woking.

I'm also engaged on doing some training this month for a couple of schools - one for library staff and one for the 6th form on extended essays. Then there are a couple of courses for Creative Education in London and Manchester too.

In between all this I am writing the SLA online course on Academic Honesty and looking at the updating of The Innovative School Librarian for the planned revised edition.

My work with Independent Thinking Ltd is really getting interesting. I am now delivering a keynote speech at their Big Day Out Down South which I've called "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants". It will look at how Academic Honesty is vital in this age of digital information and the implications for research and future legacy if we do not get students today to appreciate the need for these skills. I've also been invited to speak at another of their conferences in June next year.

One of the pieces of information which Ian Gilbert recently shared is an amazing film called Schooling the World - The White Man's Last Burden. It's been a while since I watched something so thought provoking as this. Basically it questions whether our imposition of Western Culture on Third World Countries has any long term benefit or whether we are destroying their culture and philosophy to the extent that it simply disappears. Particularly poignant I felt was the part where the German teacher who had raised money to build a school in the Himalayas was proudly explaining her charitable work and this was balanced against the effect it might have on the community. Another interesting part for me was the consideration that anthropologically these commumnities had existed for thousands of years and in comparison the industrial world and the technological world had only been around for a few hundred years and a few decades respectively - so whch society was most successful? It considered that Western Education had only given benefit to a few and the vast majority of young people were left between cultures - unable toget employment in the city and yet unfamiliar with customs and practices at home. It is a beautifully shot film and at another level could so easily be used to demonstrate how the media can manipulate our emotions and feelings. If you havn't seen it, take a look and be inspired.

Finally I was very lucky to take a bid on eBay and pick up an ipad mini for less than half price. OK so its not the latest model but I'm intending to load it up with Apps and arrange according to Bloom's Taxonomy so that I have got something independent for training purposes rather than using my personal device.

So the Barbarian has boldly stepped out alone but is far from lonely .....is this a bold step too far? Only time will tell!

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