Teaching strategies for librarians

This post is a summary of my notes and ideas from a recent session on “Using innovative methods in training”. 

When planning a teaching session, pace is important.  To maintain momentum, break your session down into segments and have each activity lasting 5, 10 or 15 mins.  Don’t wait until every person has finished before moving on to the next item.

Occupy different spaces in the room according to whether you are presenting, facilitating a discussion, observing group work, taking feedback.  This gives a subtle signal to the group about the role you are playing.

For academic or school librarians: get academics’ support for your session – it will increase its perceived importance among students, and may provide an opportunity for creating links to their curriculum.

For online tutorials for databases, use vendors’ own online tutorials and save your time and expertise for developing generic resources that can be re-used across subjects at your institution.

Getting feedback from groups

  • Anonymising answers: each participant writes their answer on paper, passes it to someone else, who passes it on again.  This last recipient is the one who reads it out to the group
  • Set questions before a break: this gives more time for participants to think, and an opportunity to discuss responses
  • Invite answers to a question via sticky notes on a wall – encourages discussion, and participants can see others’ responses

Using quizzes

  • Put ‘true or false’ statements on slides and let the audience vote using ‘traffic lights’ cards or other voting methods (see the “Interaction using technology” section below)

Traffic lights

  • Use quizzes to show students what they don’t know e.g. IT skills, then direct them to IT courses or other resources to help them improve their skills.
  • Here are some examples of puzzle generators: AnagramsCrosswordsWordsearches.  Many others are available!

Interaction using technology

  • Text message polls e.g. PollEverywhereSMS Poll.  Good for getting group feedback, and replies can be displayed on a screen in real time
  • Interact via Skype, live chat e.g. Google TalkAIMWindows Live Messenger (formerly known as MSN Messenger), Chatterous
  • Get students involved in making videos to promote library services e.g. advice for international students from international students

Plagiarism and referencing

  • If you know a (co-operative) student who got caught, you could ask them to make a short video in which they explain the mistake they made and the impact it had on their education e.g. zero mark for an essay, possible ejection from the university
  • Activity: get students to organise a list of sources in order of academic credibility e.g. newspaper article (specify which newspaper), textbook, journal article (refereed), journal article (not refereed), conference paper, government report, website (specify which one).  Then present them with an answer (not the answer) and get them to argue with you over the order suggested.  You can use this technique with all sorts of lists/ranking activities
  • See also Skills4Study site – study skills section includes info on exams, learning strategies, personal effectiveness, writing, thinking
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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Things I’ve been reading – September 2012 « Libraries, the universe and everything

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