Wednesday, March 27, 2013

International Students: a collaborative approach to teaching IL skills #lilac13

Here at the LILAC conference #lilac13 in Manchester, UK, I'm afraid I missed the start of International Students: a collaborative approach to teaching IL skills from Amanda Southam and Julie Moody as I was talking to Brian Kelly after his talk. However, when I sneaked in, she was emphasising the importance of developing material that was jargon-free and straightforward.
 At Plymouth University they developed a programme for tutors (to "teach the teachers") that were a key group for reaching the international students. There was a tutor welcome and training day, and support materials were available online so they could be used anytime and incorporated into sessions. The library materials were designed to improve English skills as well as developing information literacy.
This approach used the skills that the international tutors had developed (language and teaching skills). The librarians do not have time to give intensive training to all students, and it freed up more time to develop better training materials. They feel that it has built an effective alliance and has meant that they are more proactive in their approach.
The feedback from tutors was mostly positive, with comments about students getting more confidence in using the library, liking the library tour etc. They learnt that they needed to have default subtitles on the video, so it was easier to follow and that "less is more" as regards materials, as it could be confusing for the tutors to decide which to use.
Some issues that emerged were: needing to make sure materials are kept up to date, that it is important to get feedback from students and tutors, that working with academic partners has been worthwhile but requires trust, importantly - that internationsl students do need tailored support.
Looking to the future: they hope to work with the tutors will continue, since it is a more sustainable approach. They want better visibility of the IL materials e.g. producing a LibGuide.
The picture is not of this talk, as I was too far from the front to take even my usual mediocre speaker photo - so this is people assembling in the main lecture room on day 1.

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