Teaching Librarians How to Teach
The American Libraries Magazine published a wonderful article by Char Booth entitled, “Instruction Literacy.” It discusses the role librarians serve as educators, but how very few librarians are formally trained how to teach. This is very true! There is always the opportunity to learn from within the trenches, but how much better of a librarian could I be with formal education training? If I were to take my graduate courses again, I would definitely take at least one class that practically taught me how to be an effective teacher (in fact, this is one of my personal goals).
To the left is Char Booth’s USER method diagram. There are many models that have slight differences, but I like this model because of the layout, is memorable, and is specifically geared toward teaching.
The framework covers the aspects of reflective practice, education theory, teaching technologies, and instructional design. Notice the numeric sequence which also spells USER.
Understand. In the first stage, investigate the learning scenario.
- Start by identifying a problem that instruction can solve by asking, “What is the challenge learners face, and how can I help them meet it?”
- This is followed by analyzing the scenario, which involves considering the conditions and constraints of each element of instruction: learner, content, context, and educator. Listing these specifics provides insight into who your audience is, what they need to know and why, the resources you bring to the table, and how the learning environment can be shaped to facilitate a positive learning experience.
Structure. Next, define what you want learners to accomplish and outline the strategies you will use to present active and learner-focused content.
- Begin by creating targets—goals, objectives, and outcomes—that help you streamline your content and activities and evaluate whether learning has occurred.
- Identify methods to a) involve learners using delivery techniques, technologies, and activities; and b) extend the interaction by supporting students along the continuum of learning.
Engage. Subsequently, create your instructional objects and participate in the learning interaction:
- Develop the materials of instruction, e.g., the syllabus, outline, handout, lesson plan, and/or course guides in a live interaction; or the storyboard, game, website, or tutorial in a web-based interaction. This begins with creating prototypes, gathering feedback, then revising and finalizing your learning objects.
- Deliver instruction by developing an implementation plan, then capturing and sustaining learner attention through engaging delivery.
Reflect. Finally, consider whether learning has occurred and how you might improve your instructional product.
- Assess your impact by determining whether participants have met the desired performance targets.
- Consider how you might revise and reuse your content in the future.
Read the original source: American Libraries Magazine, June/July 2010)