Information Literacy & Learning How to Teach

I am taking an e-course from Library Juice Academy, called New Directions in Information Literacy: Growing our Teaching Practices, taught by Andrea Baer.  I am in week 4, of this 6 week online course, and I am renewed in my excitement for teaching.

An unfortunate turn is that I just don’t teach a traditional class much anymore.  In my 6 years as an information literacy instructor, I have decreased about 80% of my classroom-style sessions.  I now do many one-on-one sessions, as requested by students through an online sign-up portal, and I do have a few class-style sessions but it has really changed so much.

In an effort to “brush up” and just see what others are doing, I signed up for this class…I don’t want to get rusty.  After all, the ACRL now has the new framework, to guide us librarians through the maze of teaching information in an academic setting.  It sets forth a deeper level of involvement in the curriculum of colleges and the role of the librarian within this frame.  The outcomes (erg- I am growing to distain that word!) of the course are as taken from the syllabus:

Course learning outcomes:

  • Become familiar with varying conceptions of information literacy.
  • Recognize various instructional roles librarians play in varying information environments and contexts.
  • Develop a general understanding of instructional design principles (e.g. learning outcomes, backward design, instructional scaffolding, and assessment).
  • Develop a working knowledge of teaching methods and learning theories which can inform your own instruction of information literacy.
  • Apply basic knowledge of instructional design to creating learning activities that target specific learning outcomes and apply scaffold the learning process.
  • Reflect on your emerging or current teaching style and philosophy and its influence on your teaching practice.

I feel like I know much of this already- but that said, I also feel like having to design an activity not by rote, but “by design” in a way that spells out the outcomes, the scaffolds, the assessment is really good practice.  What I normally just gloss over in a written lesson plan, I have had to explain in terms of showing a novice how to do something…sort of like the faculty when they assign a lesson.  Scaffold the scaffolded lesson. Meta.

The assignment design aspect has been really what I needed.  The ideas from others in the course have been great as well as the suggested readings.  I feel like it is keeping me up to date as well as motivated to work through my lessons that I have been using and fine-tune them a bit.  It also is making me want to rework an Information Literacy guide for faculty that I have reworked so many times, that I was ready to give it up.

Professional development is so important.  I cannot stress this enough.  When I am feeling like I am circling without directions, sometimes the push to learn something new in a constructive way is just what I need to get me moving forward.  I am fortunate to get the support- heck, the push- to look for professional development constantly.

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