Final Thoughts (For Now) on Information Literacy Instruction

In my first blog, I rated my comfort with each of the four components of instructional literacy that Booth (2011) mentions. Thinking about what I’ve learned over the past semester, I decided to break my reflections into these four categories again.

Reflective Practice (initial rating: 2, final rating: 3.5)

One thing that stood out to me as I read through the posts I wrote for class was how I was engaging in reflective practice fairly often. Many times, I tied my reflection to something that had previously gone well or less well in a class. This really enriched my understanding of the ideas as well as built a good foundation for future reflective practice. I also found myself more aware of what I was doing and how I was teaching during the information literacy sessions I taught this semester, which was very useful.

Another idea that I hope to continue working on through reflective practice is defining my own teaching persona and/or teaching philosophy. This is a work-in-progress, and using reflective practice will help me work towards this. I also like the idea of keeping some sort of log or journal to note what worked and didn’t work in a session.

Educational Theory (initial rating: 1, final rating: 2.5)

Education theory is the area where I think I learned the most, solely because I knew so little starting out. Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, Bloom’s Taxonomy, objectives versus outcomes: I learned a lot about the basic idea underlying education. I feel like there is still so much to learn. One particularly idea that I saw click particularly strongly was the way objectives, lesson activities, and assessment are all directly tied together. It seems like common sense in hindsight, but I had never made a connection between the objectives on a slideshow or a syllabus and the ways assessment directly ties to them.

Teaching Technologies (initial rating: 3.5, final rating: 4)

I saw the least amount of growth in this area, if only because it is one I already feel very comfortable with. While I’m by no means an educational technology expert, I feel confident in my ability to identify, assess, and use technology in the classroom in a way that is constructive for student.

Instructional Design (initial rating: 2.5, final rating: 3.5)

I also grew a lot in my understanding of instructional design. Having to use instructional design both in class workshops and for the online tutorial and teaching demo helped me learn these skills by doing. In one blog post, I mentioned I preferred the Understanding by Design process to the USER Method, and I believe that still stands. I really appreciate the concepts in the USER Method, but when it came to actually designing a lesson, UbD seemed more practical.

One thing I alluded to in a blog post was the value of your designing your own lesson design versus working off someone else’s lesson plan. Even in situations when I have a designed curriculum for me, I find it useful to chart it out in my own outline. In this way, I understand the design of the lesson and feel more prepared to teach. This class will prepare me to design more from scratch when I have the opportunity to in the future.

Other Final Thoughts

One last thought I’ve been thinking about all semester is how we as librarian teach higher-level concepts when we’re often limited to one-shot sessions (or whether we can). Looking at the drafts for the new IL framework, I still struggle at times to figure out how to connect those high level concepts to teachable activities, especially since a lot of these seem to rely on intrinsic motivation.

There are two concepts, particularly, that I’m going to keep in mind moving forward. One is the idea that focusing very narrowly on “finding sources” as an end goal doesn’t serve our students well (from “Talking About Information Literacy: The Mediating Role of Discourse in a College Writing Classroom” by Holliday and Rogers (2013)). Instead, I hope to challenge myself to use language about learning more or exploring more about a topic. The other idea I hope to keep in mind is the idea of empowering students as creators of content and scholars, which came through as a clear goal in the new IL framework. I wish I had been exposed to this idea sooner as a undergraduate student. I think finding ways to make this concept click will really enrich a student’s information literacy development.

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