Pathfinders and rain

For about 150 of my students, it’s time to look at Pathfinders as part of the TL’s role in developing learning resources in the school. Pathfinders are guides which lead students to resources. I’m not sure if I like the title ‘Pathfinder’ as it has connotations of printed lists of books for students. However, it is a recognised term and nowadays, pathfinders are usually in a digital format. Joyce Valenza argues coherently that using a wiki is an excellent vehicle for a pathfinder. My recommendations to students and to TLs is to think of a pathfinder not only as a guide to resources which have been mediated by the TL and by teachers, but also as a scaffold which will help improves tudents’ information literacy skills. Effective pathfinders give students choices, save them time searching and take them to relevant sources from which they can learn.

Now that I am back in Wagga Wagga for a few weeks, the subject of rain comes up. In the UK, we get plenty of rain so no-one talks about it, unless you are in Glasgow and it’s rained for 3 days in a row. In Dunbar, where I live, it rains but not to the extent it does in the West. In rural Australia, there has been a drought of various severity for about 10 years now. So when it rains in Wagga Wagga , people discuss it at length. You overhear conversations – “How much did you get?” “What, 18 mils, we only got 11”. While the fields are green at the moment, with summer approaching, more rain is needed. Rain is also a collection of poems by Don Paterson and you can listen to him talking about different aspects of rain in a Guardian Podcast – excellent listening. Of course, there is Elizabeth Regina (whom Mrs Malaprop might refer to as the Queer Old Dean) who is apparently  good at serving tea. Thus the expression “She never reigns but she pours”.


2 Responses to “Pathfinders and rain”

  1. Penny Says:

    Ha, love the joke about QEII.
    I think ‘pathfinder’ says exactly what it should – it helps the students find their way through the forest of information. I had never heard of it before this semester so perhaps your interpretation comes from what it used to be, pre-digital, your knowledge of its history.

  2. The beginning of the Pathfinder mission « Pen’s TL Blog Says:

    […] How have I never seen these before either in my role as a teacher or as a (fake) teacher librarian? James Herring writes more about pathfinders in his blog this […]

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