Final reflections

I (figuratively) walked into this class at the beginning of the semester with no formal teaching experience. Sure, I’ve taught my Girl Scouts over the years, and I’ve given presentations and short tutorials at work, but I’ve never taught an information literacy session. I had never given much thought to putting my sessions together, or what my teaching style is, or if I had a teaching philosophy. And while I’m not walking out of this class with teaching experience, I with an instruction toolkit I can use in the future.  There are 2 broad themes to my learning over the semester: What I think and believe about instruction; how I develop instructional sessions.

Refining my ideas and beliefs about instruction
When I started this semester, I knew I didn’t know much. I believed strongly in the importance of an information literate society and the place of the librarian in educating people in information literacy. But that was about it, just a vague idea that something needed to be done, but really light on the details.
The assignments and especially this reflective journal helped me start on the path to defining who I am as a teacher and what I believe about teaching. Each of these posts has taken me a step further. Definingwhat I think an information literate person was the first step in developing a teaching philosophy. This definition became my teaching objectives. Working through the personality and learning styles tests was fun and informative. While I’m sure they aren’t absolute in defining who I am or how I learn, they did offer suggestions of why and how I learn and see the world. The teaching perspectives inventory was difficult because I don’t have much teaching experience, but this exercise, along with writing my teaching philosophy, did more than everything else to get me seriously thinking about my teaching styles and beliefs. The TPI made me realize that my beliefs, intentions, and actions with regards to teaching are not aligned and that I need to work on better defining each. Writing my teaching philosophy was my attempt at synthesizes all of the above – I’m not sure how successful I was, but it is a good start.

Confidence in developing instructional sessions
I always struggled to put together presentations and classes, never knowing where to start, how to pace it, how to wrap it up. Through this reflective posts and assignments, I feel much more confident in being able to develop effective instructional session both in person and online. Probably the most influential were the evaluations of online and live instruction assignments. By looking at each of these instruction sessions critically, I was able to see what worked and what didn’t (the live instruction was pretty bad.) I kept going back to the online tutorial throughout the semester as I learned new aspects of instructional methods to evaluate it, and determined that, for the most part it was very well done. Putting together the group project instruction session was another influential learning experience. We worked through each step of instructional design that we learned this semester. Putting theory into action helped me see how it all fits together in a real world situation. Some of my post also helped to build my instructional design and development skills, like the active learning exercise, learning assessment exercise, and reviewing the online tutorial for elements of universal design.

I feel that with my experiences and learnings in this class I can develop effective classes, tutorials, and trainings. In fact, I’m putting that to the test when I deliver a brief tutorial at work tomorrow!
Categories: instruction, LIS7880

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