Teaching the second session

I had my first experience with teaching the second session of our library instruction classes last week. Our first sessions are mainly about how to use the library’s resources to find sources, while the second session is more about evaluating sources – how to distinguish between different types of sources, how to determine if a source is credible enough to include in a paper, etc. I taught a fifty-minute session on Monday morning and I thought it went pretty well. The students weren’t extraordinarily enthusiastic, but for a morning class they were relatively involved. I thought I knew the material well, and just having previously taught a few solo sessions helped – the only time I’ve felt that I was legitimately bad was my very first solo session.

I taught back-to-back hour and fifteen-minute sessions on Thursday, and that was a bit more difficult, just in that I had a bit of trouble expanding on the previous fifty-minute session. I finished a bit early both times, although I was able to go over the Opposing Viewpoints database at the end, which went well (those classes are working on papers using popular sources, and each student needs a source that provides a counter to their argument, and Opposing Viewpoints is a really good database for that type of thing). Having a good second session seems to depend a lot on getting the class involved, and I really struggled with that in my first session on Thursday. The second session went a lot better in that sense, and I really didn’t do anything different. I do need to improve in that regard – overall I’ve felt more and more comfortable with each session, and I think I’ve improved in a lot of ways, but I could definitely be better at encouraging student participation. I also just need to add more content for a longer session. That seems fairly obvious, but at this point I don’t have a great sense of how long a session is going to be when I’m preparing for a class. I do a class outline and try to include time limits for each section, but sometimes a certain part will go much quicker than I expected, and vice versa. I also went back and forth on what content I would include for the longer second section. I spent time working on a mind map similar to what Sara uses (I didn’t want to use her Facebook example – it works well but I just felt like I’d be mimicking exactly what she does), and also spent time working on an evaluation worksheet involving group work, but I didn’t feel great about either by Thursday morning so I ditched both. I ended up using Louise’s evaluation quiz/game and then went into the lecture/discussion, and it definitely would have been better if I had had another exercise.

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