I learned something about my teaching style this week. I taught library instruction for two sections of the same course (Style & Argument).
The first instructor asked me not to prepare. His idea was that showing the research process in action would teach the students that research takes time — it’s not easy, even for an expert. Demonstrating without any notes went well this time, but I would prefer at least an outline if I do it again. As someone new to instruction, I still need notes!
The other instructor wanted me to emphasize specific topics: the concept of scholarly research, objectivity vs subjectivity, and how to evaluate information. With those goals in mind, I designed a presentation for her class. Luckily I had recently done one presentation on the research process and another on evaluating information, so I mashed them up. The result was this presentation:
I think this presentation on The Basics of Research was just what the students in this class needed. They seemed to understand the whole idea of research much better as we went through, especially during the part on evaluating sources. After we went through the slides, we brainstormed thesis questions, turned those into keywords, and I demonstrated how I would search some databases with those words.
I am definitely more comfortable with presenting, though I appreciate the value of live demonstrations. It’s much easier for me to stay on topic with slides — during demonstrations I sometimes lose my place.
What strategy for library instruction works for you? Do you demonstrate, present, or both?
My handouts from this presentation are available on SlideShare: