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Teach me to fish: From instructors to teachers as science and health science librarians

Posted by on July 11th, 2017 Posted in: Communities of Interest, Instructional Design, Trainings
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On June 6th, 2017 the NER hosted an event at the Tower Hill Botanic Gardens in Boylston, MA called Teach me to fish: From instructors to teachers as science and health science librarians as part of the Instructional Design Community of Interest (COI). This day long, interactive work shop was taught by Dianne N. Brown, the Social Science Research & Instruction Librarian at Tisch Library, Tufts University, and Megan Bresnahan, the Life Sciences and Agriculture Librarian at the Dimond Library, University of New Hampshire. Below Dianne offers her reflections on the workshop. This is the first post of two reflecting on this event and teaching for librarians. Look for more from Megan Bresnahan soon.

About the Instructional Design COI

 As the role of many librarians have shifted from being collection focused to being instruction focused, the Instructional Design COI brings together librarians interested in developing and refining their teaching skills.  The Teach Me to Fish workshop was an opportunity for teaching librarians of all levels to further develop their teaching skills. This workshop brought together the elements of well-designed session including creating a lesson plan, developing learning objectives, identifying active learning strategies (that support your learning objectives), and meaningful assessment. While this was just one program that the COI offered, additional programs and webinars will be offered that support the professional development needs of teaching librarians.

About the Teach Me to Fish Workshop

Teaching is an essential part of librarianship, but librarians often feel apprehension when it comes to library instruction. Many library science programs offer no explicit training on how to teach and most professional development offerings only focus on one part of the classroom experience, like assessment. Megan and I wanted to do something different – A workshop that demystified teaching just a little, by breaking down the planning and execution of a lesson to its component parts. By walking step by step through developing teaching philosophies, exploring lesson plans, drafting learning outcomes, selecting active learning techniques, learning classroom management strategies, choosing an appropriate assessment and reflecting on the whole process, we hoped our participants would leave feeling excited and empowered to teach. In reflecting on our workshop, I think we were absolutely successful. In our workshop space within the incredibly gorgeous Tower Hill Botanic Gardens, I witnessed science and health science librarians engaging with the content and most importantly, with one another. Walking around the room, I got snippets of conversations where librarians encouraged one another to try new things, challenging the conventional expectations of what library instruction is and pushing for what it could be. I hope that our participants will continue the conversations they started in our workshop with their colleagues at their own libraries, and start building those local communities of practice that can be so valuable. While developing confidence as a teacher takes time, I think the Teach me to fish workshop provided a solid foundation for our participants to start building or rebuilding their teaching toolkits.

~~Dianne Brown

Dianne Brown leading the Teach me to fish workshop

Dianne Brown leading the Teach me to fish workshop

For more information about this specific workshop, contact Dianne Brown at dianne.brown@tufts.edu or @diannelibrarian on Twitter. Or Megan Bresnahan at megan.bresnahan@unh.edu.

For more information about the NER’s Instructional Design COI, please contact COI Leader Jessica Kilham, the School of Medicine Librarian at Edward and Barbara Netter Library, Quinnipiac University at jessica.kilham@qu.edu. Or Martha Meacham at martha.meacham2@umassmed.edu.


Image of the author ABOUT Martha Meacham
Associate Director of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region

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This has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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