Reflecting on Instruction

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This past Thursday, I had the opportunity to teach my first library session. I attended one of the history courses (African American History, 1877-present) to present on locating primary sources, with a particular focus on 20th century African American history and culture. The class consisted of twenty-two undergraduate students and the session was about twenty minutes long. One of the history faculty members had asked me to come and share with her class, as a result of one of the LibGuides I created last year. Of course, I was excited to be able to do so, both because it directly correlates to my research interests and because teaching is a big part of academic librarianship. It allowed me to add a check mark to one of my professional goals for the year.

I am a perfectionist. As such, I tend to overanalyze everything and upon reflection, gleaned the following takeaways:

  • Having experienced colleagues to give advice and provide mentoring during the planning process is great! Take advantage of it (which I did). Also, the encouragement from library staff before and after is invaluable. Supportive environment = greater growth
  • Pacing the session appropriately ensures better explanation of the research process and allows for better opportunity to engage students
  • Everyone doesn’t know what you know, therefore, take the time to lay foundations and build on what they do know
  • Ask questions. Involve students. Ask what they know and try to find out what they want to know (KWL doesn’t have to end with Elem. Educ.)
  • Ask about technology needs ahead of time (projector, computer, etc.)
  • Get immediate feedback from students (i.e. Was this helpful? Do you have any questions that I did not answer?)

Obviously, since it was my first time, I was somewhat nervous. Otherwise, I think I did okay and hopefully I will get the chance to do it again soon, so that I can work on perfecting my instruction techniques. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in the classroom. On a side note, a couple of students did stop by while I was on the reference desk to follow-up/ask for suggestions in locating a specific collection, which we were able to do. Yay libraries!

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About A. M.

Information professional focusing on academic librarianship through a critical lens. Research interests include education and multiliteracies, critical race theory, gender studies, and African American studies. I am currently employed as an academic librarian. I am also a family genealogist in the process of uncovering the people and places behind my ancestry. I enjoy digging up new facts, reading, and writing in my free time. My opinions and thoughts are my own.

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