Break the Ice, Build the Momentum: Successful Strategies for Beginning a Library Instruction Session
Carrie Donovan and Rachel Slough (Indiana University Bloomington)
For information literacy instructors, a common teaching challenge is how to start a class effectively. Without previous exposure to learners, library instructors have little understanding of students' prior knowledge or research needs. At the same time, the reason for a librarian's involvement in a course at all is usually a mystery for students.
The benefits of introductory learning activities, such as warm-ups, are pedagogically sound, but library instructors may be reluctant to incorporate these strategies into information literacy instruction due to limitations of time. Yet librarians still strive to design engaging information literacy sessions that result in meaningful and long-lasting learning opportunities. Considering the constraints of time and content-coverage that are inherent to librarian-led information literacy instruction, how can library instructors ensure the relevance of these warm-up activities to information literacy learning outcomes? What are strategies, rooted in educational theory, for successfully engaging students from the beginning of class?
To answer these questions, the facilitators gathered data through surveys and focus groups from library instructors throughout the U.S. during the 2009-2010 academic year. This workshop will reveal the findings from that study, as well as address their implications for the practical application of incorporating warm-up activities into information literacy instruction. Attendees will learn new strategies for starting a class successfully and have the opportunity to practice designing their own activities. The facilitators will collect and review the activities in order to construct a set of pedagogically-proven strategies that can be shared amongst the LOEX community.