A teacher's perceptions of the library media specialist as instructional consultant
Cate, Gwendolyn Landrum
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Library media literature has recommended that library media specialists provide instructional consultation to classroom teachers in public schools. This study investigates the perceptions of a fifth grade teacher concerning instructional consultation as she worked with a library media specialist. The research design and implementation are grounded in the theory of cognitive development and learning developed by Lev Semenovich Vygotsky. The study draws on Vygotsky's theory to inform existing literature on consultation. Three models of consultation as found in library media literature are discussed and applied to the naturalistic site of a public elementary school. The site for the research was an elementary school set in the southwestern United States in an agricultural community. The research spanned an entire school year with a social studies teacher as she worked with three sections of the fifth grade and the library media specialist. Data were collected through participant observation, interviews and documents. The constant comparative method of analysis was utilized to compare participant observations fieldnotes, video recordings of classroom and library media center instruction, and audiotaped interviews. One core category, growth, emerged from the analysis along with three complementary categories: growth of a relationship, growth of an environment and growth of persons. These three categories are discussed as framed by the literature, particularly the library media specialist literature and Vygotsky's learning theory. These findings have both practical and theoretical significance for the library media community. Primarily, they serve as a guide for library media professionals in the field. Also, they provide the library media community with a theoretical framework for instructional consultation. This study has also extended the work of Vygotsky as it adds to the knowledge base on adult learning theory.