I attended two presentations that modeled different types of collaboration between college campuses and public schools. A tight bond between the college librarian, education professors, and public school educators created a learning space that was beneficial to all. These presentations were presented by Lindy Scripps-Hoekstra, Gayle Schaub, and Susan F. Carson of Grand Valley State University and the other presentation was given by Denise Woetzel of Sargeant Reynolds Community College and Anita B. Tarbox, of Hermitage High School.
I think back through my 21 year career as a teacher and I see my ups and downs. The times when I was becoming frustrated because of the changes in curriculum, changes in the students over the years, and the pressure being placed on teachers to be miracle workers and solve what ails the world. I was talking to Dr. Stephanie Jones and I had an epiphany. At times, it has felt like a ton of bricks was lying on my shoulders and that I had to do it all on my own. But what brought me back to life was doing the one thing I always loved…learning. Attending school and taking college classes always has had that effect on me. My confidence builds, I get new ideas from my peers, and I fall in love again with my chosen passionate career, teaching. Notice, I said peers here. There has always been that divide between the professors and their students, but at this conference this divide seemed to fall away…The Professors are HUMAN.
I was able to work and collaborate with some of the rising shining stars of the education world as a person on equal ground, as a person who wants to implement change, and as a person whose opinion was valued. In a word, it was empowering to see that the professors’ struggles to keep up with changes in technology and in the student population are the same struggles teachers face every day. I feel like my son who in the third grade that was diagnosed with A.D.D. When he first started taking his medication and he was finally able to pay attention in class. A funny thing happened. Here I will quote what said in a conversation between Julian and his teacher…
“Mrs. B. , my head is about to explode!”
“J what’s wrong do you need to go to the nurse?”
“No, Mrs. B. , my head is about to explode because it is just so full on KNOWLEDGE!”
This is the exact feeling I had after leaving this conference, my head is just so full it is about to explode with knowledge. What knowledge you may ask?
- College professors have expectations for the librarian to be able to teach their students everything they need to know about the library in a “One Shot Lesson.” These one shots may be anywhere from 50 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the day of the week and the set up as semester or quarter system. This is similar to the one shots high school media specialist encounter when English teachers bring students to the media center to do research.
- College librarians face the same struggles that public school teachers face every day, too much content and not enough time to teach it where students have a clear and meaningful learning experience.
- New ideas for involving the class in their learning. The first was having a thoroughly thought out lesson plan. Create a slide show and key with some shape or figure. When the class enters give them all a card that is a) color coded for the topics being covered, b) has the shape that correlates with the slide, and c) a question on it. As you go through the lesson introduce the lesson then call on students with the correct card to ask the question in the card. This keeps them active in their learning and every important question is asked and answered. This is a good way to engage students and make sure you cover all of the topics you needed to teach. I learned this little tool called the Cephalonian Method presented by William R. Epps and Brooke Taxakis, both of Campbell University.
- Another challenge college media specialists are facing is the fact that there is no standardization of the information literacy from institution to institution. This is why it is important for the media specialist at the college level and in public schools to collaborate with academic teachers. This collaboration leads to a more successful learning environment especially when it comes to information literacy. I learned this information listening to Ruth Baker’s, Making a First-Year Experience Course iPad Intensive: A cautionary tale.
- Margaret Fletcher of Clayton State University gave a compelling presentation that discussed the importance of first year college students being able to research meaningful scholarly articles to complete a research paper. She discussed how important it was to teach them how to read these articles and attach meaning to them.
- Dr. Paul Vermette of Niagara University is dynamic! One of the most motivational models of how to keep a class on their toes. The first key element was to demand respect for him and that he give respect to his students. His Constructivist Framework approach of teaching was inspiring. He uses essential questions to guide students through the lesson. If you have never heard of The….Gronk 2.0, (Vermette, 1994) then look it up. A fun icebreaker to get students involved, learn how to teach, and how to listen. He also gave out a copy of his 8 ENGAGNING questions, (Vermette, 2009).
- Dr. Kerry Creelman of the University of Houston presented a learning centered teaching method by modeling it with her presentation. Here strategies were engaging. First she asked the audience what they wanted to learn during the lesson. Then she proceeded to present different methods of involving the learner in their own learning. She discussed the different learning styles people have, and how teachers tend to teach how they learn. She pointed out that as librarians we need to be sure to include all the learning styles, and to make sure our lessons were equally accessible for students with disabilities.
Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy, Coastal Georgia Center, Savannah, GA. September 25-26, 2015. #GACoIL