Top teacher takes award

PENRITH Public School teacher and librarian Ian McLean won this year's School Library Association of NSW's John H. Lee Memorial Award.

Mr McLean was awarded the sought-after prize for "excellence in leadership and teaching practice" for his work with learning technologies for children.

"It was an amazing feat for me," he said.

"I was nominated by my peers so it's a great honour."

He said his award demonstrated how technology had changed librarians' roles.

"Collaborative planning between the school's class teachers and the teacher-librarian is part of our approach to learning.

"We present work to pupils and encourage them to research and produce information of their own, but we give them support."

Mr McLean said it was known as "guided inquiry".

Last year, pupils at Penrith Public pursued a guided inquiry on endangered animals.

"They looked at videos of endangered animals from around the world and selected their own animal to study," Mr McLean said.

"They created stories presenting the plight of their chosen animals."

He said the pupils then placed their projects on the internet.

"A year later, they're still receiving comments from around the world," he said.

Mr McLean said he had always wanted to be a teacher-librarian and thanked one from his own school days at Arncliffe Public, Janette McKenny — now Mrs Mercer — for inspiring him.

He said winning the award crowned all that he loved about his job. Mrs Mercer was on hand to congratulate him.

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