With co-teaching, I feel like I free dived into the deep end. My first co-teaching experiences were “roving” in the classroom of another instructor providing 1 on 1 instruction to students who needed help. I found this to be comfortable and never felt like I was taking on more than I could manage.
I than was tasked with co-teaching, not with an instructor, but with a fellow GTA. The two of us developed a lesson plan between us and then implemented it in the classroom. It initially seemed scary and daunting , and that it was weird I wasn’t slowly building my co-teaching like some of the others. But I reflected on my teaching history. If I could spend an hour teaching math to fifth graders, and lets be clear here- Im not good at math- I could spend 50 minutes teaching research.
I do not want to say that I went off without a hitch, but I will say that I think it went smoothly. I was never uncomfortable. I feel like I could get up and teach an entire class period with no problem at this point.
Yancy’s “On Reflection” details the process of reflection, the history of studying the writing process especially as it relates to the study of reflection, and Yancy’s own experience using reflection as an instructor. Yancy focuses on reflection in the writing process, and often frames this in setting of a first-year writing program. Within this context, reflection frequently takes the form of writing. From the perspective of library instruction, so little time is spent with students that the creation of an entire reflective essay might be a less practical approach. However, refection has value in more than just the writing process. Reflection allows students to move beyond the absorption and regurgitation of information. It gives them time to digest a little, and to begin to process and make connections. Reflection might even be more important in a compact and dense learning environment, such as the library instruction classroom. So much is condensed into one or two sessions. Periodically giving student time to reflect socially or introspectively, on the skills and processes overviewed is essential to allow time to process and create deeper understanding.
I enjoyed Yancey’s overview of the history of how teachers became interested in reflective writing and students’ composing processes. I had read some of the other authors she quoted as well as some of her writings, but not this particular essay before now. When I taught composition, we had a reflective essay assignment attached to every major paper. Like Yancey observes, I also found it useful to have a student reflection / to know the student’s thoughts along with the paper. If someone turned in an assignment that appeared weak, they would often have a reflection detailing the roadblocks they hit or other life obstacles that got in the way. When it comes to library instruction, I can see how it would be useful for students to reflect on their research practices as well as on their writing and key word choices.
On another note, I co-taught for the first time this week. I usually get nervous when I teach a class for the first time, and this was no different. As an instructor of record, I was able to really get to know my students, especially when they took me for both parts of composition. While teaching for library instruction, I will only see the students a handful of times or less. This will definitely be a minor adjustment. One thing I am excited about is teaching the same general lessons to different classes. Since I am teaching the same sorts of lessons more than once, I do look forward to being able to fine tune lesson plans and try them out multiple times.
Since my last post about co-teaching, I have helped co-teach three other library instruction classes. Slowly, I have built up to do more and more in the classroom. Originally just showing students how to use Scout to exploring other databases with them, walking them through assignments, explaining my own research process, and more. Overall, it has been a very beneficial experience for me. While co-teaching is not how I pictured it would be, I have enjoyed getting to interact with students. It is rewarding to see them engaged in a lesson or being able to find things they are looking for.
Additionally, while the library instruction classes are meant to help students learn and prepare for their classes, they have also helped me. I have always been pretty good at searching but now not only have I just been able to learn more about how to search effectively and efficiently, but I have also just learned a lot about the library and the resources offered in an academic library. There are so many things I did not know were offered to me as an undergraduate student that I am now aware of. It makes me excited to know I have the opportunity to help these students in ways that can make learning fun as well as just make their lives easier when it comes to school. I can help show them services the library offers them, which I know would have been really helpful to me when I was in undergrad.
The term Kairos seems to add a layer of practicality and equity when applied to library instruction. Placing instruction standards and other content into a broader context of time, place, and the individual students allows flexibility to deconstruct and recreate what is expected, what is ideal. More importantly it recognizes the context of standards and removes the guise of truth from them. This empowers both instructors and students to make classroom objectives more practical to their current Kairos. The shift in focus encourages creativity in instruction and relives pressure from students to conform to abstract ideals. Standard are useful and necessary, as Drabinski points out, but they can feel limiting. Adding the layer of Kairos keeps us from being held back, either trapped conforming to rigid standards or entangled in criticism and conflict against them. It is useful to think of in relation to library instruction and information literacy. I wonder if an even broader application to elementary and secondary education standard would also be beneficial?
While I did not observe anyone this week, I did have a few meetings about lesson planning for my upcoming teaching session. I also worked on a Boolean operators learning activity. For my activity, I decided to use Harry Potter themed search terms. I have 3 venn diagrams. To teach Boolean operators, I plan to demonstrate the operators in Scout with my 3 different search combinations. While I do this, I plan for the students to follow along and complete the search with me. Following that, I have a short activity for them to do with their own key words. I have four questions:
- What are your key terms?
- Use some of these terms along with the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT.
- How are your search results changed when you use the different Boolean operators?
- Try using more than one Boolean operator. How does this effect your results?
I hope that by using the operators along with me, and then by using the operators for their own search results, that the students will internalize what the operators mean.
While reading “On Reflection,” I kept thinking about my own process of reflecting especially the reflecting I’ve done on here about my co-teaching experiences and just sitting in on the library instruction classes. One thing I liked about the piece is how it broke down curriculum into three groups: lived curriculum (everything a student has learned up to that point), delivered curriculum (planned curriculum they learn in class), and experienced curriculum (how each student experiences the delivered curriculum). It was interesting to try and apply these ideas to my own reflection. Thinking about how this applies in the library instruction classroom not only for myself but also for the students in the class. Every student comes into those classes with different levels of each type of curriculum and how not every student is the same.
Additionally, I just enjoyed thinking about how people learn to write and connecting that with the process of reflection. The piece points out that if you are confused and wondering about how someone got to a conclusion in their writing just to ask them. Many writing subjects can often be up to interpretation (which is given as an example later in the piece. The author mentions how when talking to students about their answers on a writing assignment, many students interpreted the writing prompt differently than how the teacher meant it or expected for it to be interpreted). Students can come at a subject with many different ways of thinking or with more than one point of view. Connecting this with reflection and the idea that articulating what we have learned for ourselves (reflection) is a vital part of learning. Moreover, through this process we learn to better understand subjects and ideas when we spend time reflecting on them.
My first experience co-teaching was last week when I helped James teach two EN 101 classes. One notable part of the experience was that I was far less nervous about co-teaching than I thought I would be. This summer I spent a lot of time helping with the journalism school’s orientation, and being in the library instruction classes felt very similar. Another notable aspect of the class was that the teacher whose class it was was very hands on and interactive with myself and James, which made the students more at ease. They participated and spoke a lot more than James or I anticipated, which helped make the classroom more comfortable for myself as well.
For my part, I helped teach the students Scout as well as helped them determine what reliable sources are when it comes to research and writing papers. At the end of the class, the students worked on an assignment their professor gave them, which meant I got to help the students navigate Scout themselves and identify trustworthy sources. It was cool to not only be about to teach them about these things, but then be apply to help them practically apply it themselves. Because they were doing an assignment, the things they were learning in the library instruction class were more meaningful, which caused them to be more attentive and ready to learn.
Reading this chapter, I found the discussion in “Posing Problems” to be extremely interesting. I find the idea and implementation of Universal Design to be extremely useful and beneficial, so long as we are constantly critical of the actions we are taking. I think of the class that Dolamage discussion where the teacher was praised for her syllabus that no one felt the need to seek accommodation, and think to my own experiences. At my time at the University I have been constantly told “even if you do not think you will need accommodations, please get them sorted because you never know what will come up.” I feel it was a failure of the teacher in this situation to allow her students to feel like they did not need accommodations- so then when they do they feel pressured and excluded. It is these kinds of oversights that we need to remain hyper critical of.