Teaching styles change from topic to topic, something made necessary because math can not be taught the same as history class. The same goes for library instruction classes. I have been observing multiple EN 102 classes along with the occasional upper level classes in other departments. Something I have noticed and wanted to reflect on is the change in teaching styles required when teaching EN 102 students how to search in Scout and teaching a 400 level history class how to search in Scout.
When demonstrating for EN 102 how to search in Scout the instructors go at a slower pace. They try to be very careful and deliberate in what they show the class. They use search terms from practiced searchers so that they can choose just the right type of information to show the students. However, with the upper level history class the instructors wanted to help the students search for resources using their own topics. For example at the start of the history instruction class each student said what they were planning on writing their paper about. Then as the instructor demonstrated how to search in Scout for books and articles they used the topics the students said in class. This showed the students a less structured lesson, because the instructor did not know what results they would get back. Both of these methods have their place and I believe they are being correctly utilized by the instructors. In the EN 102 classes the students might not have a good solid idea of what they want to write about and the instructor has to get a lot of information into a 50 or 75 minute class period, not easily done. By knowing exactly what they are going to get in search the instructor is able to demonstrate and move on to the next learning objective effectively. Where as the history class had a 2 1/2 hours to do there class allowing the instructors to demonstrate some trial and error searches with the students’ topics. The longer class period of the history class also allowed for a lot more one-on-one attention with the students as they ran into trouble with their searches.
The second point is explaining keywords and search terms to the students. In the EN 102 classes the instructors are very specific in defining keywords and subject terms. Where as the history class most of these students seem to understand the difference and the instructors were able to move on quickly once establishing the difference.
This comparison has helped me understand that not everything has to be completely planned in the lesson plan. Sometimes a loose outline of a lesson plan is what is needed. It is all based on the topic and the type of class being taught.