I am currently working with an individual who is in the process of completing his MLIS and receiving internship credits to observe, co-teach, and then provide instruction. It has been a very rewarding experience for me – thinking about what I value in my instruction (active learning, reflection, formative assessment, critical pedagogy) and helping him explore these areas – while giving him the freedom to explore and develop into his own kind of teacher. In these final stages I am observing instruction and there are some things that have stood out to me just from the experience of sitting in the back of the room:
- It’s hard to read the board/screen – lighting and size really changes the experience. I would recommend zooming in on searches in databases and lists of retrieved results. I shudder to think how many times I was referring to things on a search screen that were only visible to me, an experienced searcher who already knows where to look and who was standing at the front of the room directly by the screen.
- Students need to be explicitly asked to follow along if you want them to do searches with you. In the past I’ve demonstrated searches and then provided time for students to try searches with their own topic. I now realize that the demonstration time associated with this activity is more lecture oriented, unless I explicitly state that students should follow along. Mimicking my search can be a learning opportunity – even experiencing what happens with a typo is a learning event.
These things may have never occurred to me if I wasn’t observing someone else teach. This experience has definitely helped illuminate my privileges as an instructor, setting the speed for the class and being able to see what is available is a huge benefit of being “in charge” and is something I will be interrogating in the future in the hopes of creating an equitable classroom community.