Friday, November 05, 2004

Trial by Fire: New Librarians as Team Teachers. This essay is by Angie Gerrard and Jessica Knoch. It appeared in the Winter 2004 issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly, Volume 8, Issue 4.

From the site:

Team teaching has become an acceptable teaching method in librarianship. There are many examples in the literature where team teaching has been successfully implemented in various disciplines, including education, communications, management, engineering, computer science, chemistry, and history. [1] These examples of teaching partnerships consisted of a faculty member from the specified discipline and a librarian. Recent examples of team teaching with two librarians are more difficult to find. Morganti and Buckalew discuss this lack of literature in their 1991 article, stating: “[n]o articles were found on librarians team teaching together” (p. 195). Since this time, there have only been a handful of such articles. [2] Specifically there is an obvious gap in the literature regarding new librarians as participants in the team teaching process. LaGuardia, Griego, Hopper, Melendez & Oka (1993) describe the technique used by librarians who are learning to teach as “trial by fire” (p. 54). They go on to say that it can be difficult to learn to teach without feedback from colleagues, and they recommend the use of team teaching to introduce new librarians to the process of library instruction. This form of instructional mentorship was used in the Herbert T. Coutts Library at the University of Alberta to ease new librarians into their teaching responsibilities.

In September 2002, the authors team-taught over 400 undergraduate students in pre-service teacher education to locate curriculum resources in the library and on the World Wide Web. As new instructors this was our first experience in organizing and delivering such a large instructional program. While we received many positive comments from students, we were certainly not experienced instructors. As ‘rookies’, we needed an approach that would allow us to put together an intensive library instruction program that would be informative and enjoyable for students. At the same time, we wanted a method that would help us to advance our skills as instructors. This article will discuss how we used the instructional method of team teaching to deliver a high quality program while at the same time developing our instructional skills.

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