Thursday, April 05, 2018

#lilac18 what shapes how academic librarians think about their instruction, and why does it matter?

Eveline Houtman from Toronto spoke about research she has conducted into how librarians at her institution think about their teaching.  The ACRL had produced standards for proficiencies for instruction librarians, but this has now been replaced, the point being that how we think and discuss teaching changes over time. Various theories of teaching and learning feed into how we conceive our teaching practice, and librarians have different conceptions of the place of teaching in their roles (see Emily Wheeler’s research for more on this!) some librarians still don’t see that they have a teaching role, or find that their institution doesn’t value their teaching. The substantial education literature covers “teacher beliefs” or assumptions, conceptions, attitudes, perspectives, theories of practice and practical knowledge.

In her research Eveline recruited academic teacher librarians from North America who identified that they used a reflective approach to their teaching, and enjoyed talking about their own teaching.  12 librarians agreed to participate from a range of locations and types of institution. She conducted 2 interviews with each librarian, the first focused on experiences and contexts, and the second on their teaching on a specific class. She has produced an ecological model of teaching librarians, including the broader social context, professional context, higher education context, and immediate context and the self. For example the professional context includes IL models and standards. The immediate context includes factors such as students, colleagues, institutional culture and space. The broader social context includes the information environment, e.g.fake news. The self includes personal identity, teacher identity, prior teaching experience and the self as a student.

Then some participants were shown mapped against the model, and their particular characteristics were discussed. There were sone very interesting differences between librarians and their perceptions of themselves and their teaching. Thanks @evelineLH for a fascinating presentation!

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