Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Librarians and Teaching Styles

Before entering the MLIS program at UBC, I had never realized how important teaching is in librarianship. Today, I had the chance to see one librarian in action, and it was fascinating to analyze his teaching rather than on his teaching content. On top of the usual core competencies of LIS (bibliographic control, refence, management, collection development, and info technology), I would add teaching as part of the mix.

Because there are numerous teaching styles, there can not be "categories" that cleanly and clearly define such styles. (Although, in Confucius' case, his disciples created several schools of thoughts based on different interpretations of their master's teachings).

Regardless of styles, or different schools of thought, teaching is an integral part of the librarian's work. He must not only present the material in a coherent manner, but also be engaging to his audience at the same time. In fact, teaching for librarians is probably more difficult than "traditional" teachers such as college professors, high school and elementary teachers. Whereas these teachers have a fairly predictable group of students, librarians have to constantly adjust and tailor their teaching styles according to their different audiences. For example, the approach that a librarian takes when teaching a class of undergraduates how to use databases might be completely different than how they teach a group of university professors how to start a weblog account.

A valuable and intriguing website for any information professional interested in improving his or her teaching skills is, which offers great lesson plans.

1 comment:

Dean Giustini said...

Good observations, Allan. If you think about it, the teaching session today was about creating (or even deepening) relationships with my users. Content in a sense was secondary; style (maybe) trumped the content.

My hope, whenever I am asked to speak, that there is enough substance to interest my audience. But, the most important thing today was doing some public relations, raising their interest, and maybe giving the residents some tools for follow-up.

cheers, Dean