Week 3: Observation

This week was my first week observing.*  Since the schedule this semester is awkwardly mapped, I was unable to view a first year writing course.  However, I did get to view Mark teach a Comm 123 course and Brett teach a Compass course, the latter of which I helped out with a bit.

The first class I observed was Mark’s Comm 123 session.  Comm 123 is a public speaking course required of most majors within the communication’s school.  Of all the things worth mentioning about Mark’s class, I think the most interesting was how he began.  Mark opened the class with two articles about texting and driving, one of which was from a scholarly journal and the other from a popular news source.  Mark had the students read the abstracts aloud and voice their opinions as to why each was labeled the way they were.  (For example, the students noted that the scholarly article was written with very technical language, while the popular article was written for an audience with a lower reading level.)  After dissecting the two pieces, Mark then asked the students which one would be a better source for their first speech topic.  Most of the students, as expected, answered with the scholarly journal.  Then Mark explained that, yes, while that does seem like the logical answer, for a public speaking class a scholarly journal is not necessarily appropriate, depending on the audience and topic.  I liked this for several reasons:

  • It broke down resource stereotypes, such as the assumption that all scholarly journals are “good” and all popular publications are “bad.”
  • It helped the students think critically about library resources.
  • It was interactive.  Student’s led the conversation while Mark steered them in right direction.  This is much more preferable to me than lecturing.

The second class I observed last week was Brett’s Compass class.  I feel like Brett was made for these.  He is so personable, and I have a lot to learn from his enthusiasm for the library and the students.  Observing him give a library tour was particularly helpful, as I was tasked with giving a library tour this past week to some SLIS students (more on that to come later).  In addition, his library survivor game is top notch.  The students loved it, and even got mildly competitive with it, which is great if you believe all the “game theory” literature.

Overall, things last week went well.  My first round of real, hardcore co-teaching comes next week, and I feel like observing these librarians helped ease my nerves a bit.  This, much to my chagrin, just might be enjoyable after all. 🙂


*Sorry about being a little late posting this to the blog

One thought on “Week 3: Observation

  1. Pingback: Week 6: Popular vs. Scholarly | Instruction Adventures

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