My philosophy and approach to teaching is always changing as I continue to learn and grow as a librarian. My most current methods, goals, and rationale are reflected below.
Teaching today’s already tech-savvy students is a moving target, but viewing library instruction as part of the life-long process of information literacy instruction helps bring some focus. Using students’ existing skill sets in searching and navigation is crucial to success in teaching new skills; scolding them for use of Wikipedia or Google is not a way to grow confidence in students. Many students already have a defined set of search skills, building their toolkit to include how to evaluate and find reliable resources is essential. Google and Wikipedia are fine places to start researching, so long as research doesn’t end there as well.
Eisenberg’s Big 6 principles for information literacy skills, in conjunction with the ARCS model of instructional design, can be used to teach parameters for quality sources and build student confidence all while teaching new skills and refining their searching habits. There is some truth to the now famous Roy Tennant quote: “Only librarians like to search; everyone else likes to find”, keeping your students’ goals in mind is one of the most vital things to do while teaching. Relevance is key in single-session library instruction, I have to trust that students will synthesize what they’ve been taught and apply their new skills during other assignments. Assessment is a fundamental tool in improving instruction; one of the best methods I have found for gauging information absorption is reviewing works cited lists from papers written post-instruction session. By seeing what resources students use and how they have accessed them, instruction can be adjusted to better meet needs.
Involving as many stakeholders as possible will only improve instruction. Talking with the professor about their goals for the instruction session will serve as a pre-test for my lesson planning, if they are not satisfied with what their students learn then they may be averse to partnering with the library in the future. Learning is the most impactful when students are engaged, so take what the professor tells you and run with it! Engaging multiple intelligences will both reach the maximum number of students and keep them focused on a dynamic presentation.
The biggest potential pitfall of information literacy instruction is how fast technology is evolving. With the new methods and technologies constantly popping up it can be hard to keep up! Keep in mind that these technologies are new to everyone and work on learning them together. Understanding that students may have something to teach me every once in a while is a great way to keep the spirit of life-long learning alive. To embrace continued learning I keep an open mind and aim to learn from every session I teach. Since I am new to the profession I hope to be able to learn from my colleagues and continually grow my skills while providing dynamic instruction that engages multiple intelligences while providing valuable new insights on information literacy.