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My Upcoming Paper Topic #12weekarticle #AcWri

Hello, The Entire Internet, my writing partner. How’s your writing going?

Today’s assignment from Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks is to get really clear on my paper topic before writing an abstract about it. Again, I’m supposed to call somebody on the phone or meet with them in person and talk about it. Again, I’m not logistically in a situation where that is an option right now (sleeping baby on the bed next to me!), so I’m blogging instead.

Am I afraid of someone scooping me if I blog about my paper topic? A little. But then, I’ve already shared my poster about it on the open web. Anyway, I’m more interested in open scholarship and sharing my process than I am worried about getting scooped. So here we are. I’m going to give you a preview of the article I’m writing.

I’m writing about special education training for preservice school librarians. School librarians, like other educators, are responsible for serving students with disabilities. School libraries are environments that are different from the classroom, and thus, I would argue, serve special education students in unique ways. I suspected that very few school librarians received training in how to do this in their school library education programs, and that even fewer were required to undergo such training. To find out, I performed a content analysis of the websites of all of the American Association of School Librarians-approved school librarian education programs, looking at their program requirements and course offerings. I looked at both course titles and descriptions, when available. I found that most programs don’t provide coursework that is specific to the school library; they outsource it to education programs. Some do require it for anyone who isn’t a teacher, but they assume that if you already have a teaching certificate, you’ve already received sufficient education in this area. A few school library education programs in New York, where there has been a specific initiative targeted at improving this type of education, both require this type of training and offer coursework specific to educators working in school libraries rather than classrooms. I would suggest that more programs should offer and even require this type of training, and that these programs in New York have the potential to serve as models for future coursework to be developed.

So let me open it up to you, Internet. Did I summarize the work clearly? What questions do you have? Engage with me here and in the comments I’ll try to do this again, but more succinctly. And then after that, I’m going to try to get this down to one sentence.

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  1. So here are my attempts at getting more succinct:

    IN A FEW SENTENCES
    I’m writing about whether school librarian preparation programs require or offer coursework that prepares school librarians to serve students with disabilities successfully. I’m doing this by reviewing program websites to see what their requirements and offerings are and analyzing the course descriptions. I have found that school librarian preparation programs rarely require such coursework or even offer coursework that addresses serving students with disabilities in the school library context as opposed to the classroom. Such coursework is offered primarily in New York, where a federally-funded grant project was implemented to address these students’ needs in school libraries.

    IN ONE SENTENCE
    My article is about how school librarian preparation programs tend not to offer the coursework school librarians need to be prepared to serve students with disabilities, with the exception of programs in New York that are part of a federally-funded project designed to address this issue.

    • Aaaaand Belcher asks me what I learned by doing this exercise.

      Well, I learned (was reminded, I used to be a pro editor for goodness’ sake) that revision is brilliant for improving clarity. I learned that feedback from someone outside my field helps me make my writing more accessible. I learned that I’m capable of revision, which is probably the most valuable lesson in all of this.

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