Darryl, you have picked up on a couple of terms that do need unpicking a little, but as Elizabeth points out, there is a danger that too much technical jargon muddies the waters a little. The main point here is that – as our respective experiences at Oakham and Guernsey show – FOSIL provides a framework that allows teachers and librarians to collaborate together in their support of pupil inquiry without a shared technical vocabulary.
At the risk of throwing a lot of mud into the pool, here’s my understanding of ‘graduate technician’ and ‘professional knowledge’:
I’m using ‘graduate technician’ in a rather derogatory manner as a contrast to ‘professional’. One way to think about the difference between technician and professional might be to think about another practice that involves both formal and craft knowledge, such as cooking (Oakenshott, 1962). Someone who just follows recipes would be a cooking technician, whereas a chef who is using their knowledge consciously in their own context might be thought of as a cooking professional.
Christopher Winch – who writes extensively on teacher knowledge and its relationship to professionalism – calls the graduate technician model ‘executive technician’, which he defines as ‘the teacher whose role is to put into effect rules for classroom practice, without consultation of the theory that generated the rules in the first place’ (Winch, 2017).
The graduate technician model is popular with policy makers as it is a way for governments to ‘teacher-proof’ the process of school education.
The Professional Knowledge of Teachers and Librarians
I think I would like to widen the idea of a teacher’s pedagogical expertise and use the term ‘teacher knowledge’ instead. Teacher knowledge is a contested term, but it can be thought of as the knowledge of what teaching a particular subject involves (Ben-Peretz, 2011). Shulman (1987) suggests that this body of knowledge includes:
a knowledge of subject matter (subject content knowledge),
knowledge of how subject knowledge might be structured in a curriculum (curriculum knowledge),
ways of making the subject matter comprehensible to others (pedagogical content knowledge),
an understanding of individual learners,
a knowledge of educational ends
a knowledge of the local and wider educational context
For our purposes here, I think the first four points are most relevant.
It might be useful to use Shulman’s ideas about teacher knowledge to develop what we understand by librarian knowledge, in the context of schools. Christine Bruce’s ideas on information literacy will be helpful in our exploration too.