Internship: Instructional Observation

Today at my internship I did some observation of the Instructional Reference Librarian. Although I have experience in working in both academic and public libraries and was a teacher assistant for a year, I think that’s were my weakness lies. Instruction. I think my confidence is low when it comes to passing on the knowledge that I know. I truly believe that not everyone is a teacher at heart, it takes a special sort of person to be able to pass on knowledge in a way that anyone can retain it and build upon it. That’s one thing I will never forget about from my dad, he was just that kind of person.

Today’s observation was very educational. To be able to sit back and watch someone do something they are obviously enjoy and are rather good at was a treat.

Here are some of the main ideas/themes I picked up:

  • Use illustrations to tie in the research and topic of assignments, this also shows the audience that you have some basic knowledge of the assignment.
  • “Remember the big picture when looking for the details.”
  • Insert information about the library services.
  • Give tips (if a particular service might have a negative about it give tips to counterweight that negative.)
  • Go through different catalogs accessible to the students
  • Ask lots of questions not just for confirmation (i.e. “Everyone get that?”)
  • Go through types of sources.
  • Walk around the room – meant to get the class involved (which is rather hard when they have a computer in front of them.)
  • Walk through the process of narrowing the results found

He also touched on evaluating sources and tools found on the library webpage meant to help with research and citing sources found. He focus mostly on their inter-library loan service (iLLiad) and the new citing tool they are advocating, Zotero. I have used iLLiad before but Zotero was new to me, I’m going to set some time aside to play around with it.

After he was done I sat down and asked him some quick questions that I had came up with doing the lesson, such as how much preparation time does he devote to each class and how much input do the professors put in. He was real nice and I hope I can work with him in actually doing an instructional class.

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