Getting Ready for Webinars

This week’s readings were a preparation for our upcoming webinars. I like the chapter from How People Learn that talked about how master teachers can combine their knowledge of pedagogy with their deep subject knowledge. The authors also talked about the way master teachers know the information that might make novices slip up. I think I have mentioned it before, but Dr. Chuck is a great example of a master teacher in this context. He knows a ton about Python, and he knows the best way to explain it so that programming newbies such as myself in 502 can understand and learn. It takes a lot of experience to get to the point of being a master teacher. I’m glad to have the experiences in this class and other coursework as well as my student-teaching so that I can get a little closer to being a master teacher before I’m working as a school librarian.

One thing that I thought was interesting was whether or not a master teacher can teach any subject. The authors of HPL don’t think so, and I would tend to agree with them, due to the content knowledge it takes to be a teacher. However, I do think there is something to be said about trying to learn something alongside students, at least once in a while. It’s what happens sometimes at Michigan Makers, where we might be unfamiliar with a tool we’re demonstrating to the kids. I’m still working on my understanding of the Little Bits Korg kit, though I have worked with students as they learn. But it obviously isn’t as effective as if a master of it were teaching. There is some clunkiness or awkwardness in the teacher and the student being on similar levels, though I think it can facilitate a connection between the teacher and student by bringing them closer together.

The articles on embedded librarianship were another interesting thing to think about. I’m not planning to work in an academic library, so my experience will be different, but I can see some of these concepts in practice at MLibrary where I work. I’ve heard a little about how the subject librarians go into classes to teach lessons, or how some of them host office hours where their students are located. I’ve also heard about a class where students are taught how to use the library’s resources. These are all ways to reach out to patrons. The webinar idea was interesting as well, and I like that it would be a way for librarians to connect with students when they may not be able to get to their class. And it allows students to interact with librarians wherever they are in the world, kind of like how we use chat for reference. The only way for librarians to get patrons to use library resources is to reach out in ways in which they will respond and that fit into their busy lives.



3 thoughts on “Getting Ready for Webinars

  1. “I do think there is something to be said about trying to learn something alongside students, at least once in a while. It’s what happens sometimes at Michigan Makers, where we might be unfamiliar with a tool we’re demonstrating to the kids.”

    I think this is an excellent point. Great teachers can put their training to work towards presenting new material to their students. When teaching novel, or at least unfamiliar, non-expertise material, I think it is also important for teachers to use their students’ knowledge expertise to their advantage. Teachers can be a part of the zone of proximal development too.

    • Great point! There are definitely times when the students can teach a thing or two to the teachers. I especially love this idea in makerspaces. I was reading an article about makerspaces that include participants of all ages, and it said something like “it’s not always the older kids teaching the younger ones.” Letting go of some of the power that comes with seniority/age or with a position of authority allows underprivileged people in the situation (whether they are younger or they’re the students or maybe a subordinate working with an administrator) to shine.

  2. I think it’s great how often Dr. Chuck has been mentioned in SI 643 blog posts as a wonderful teacher–I hope he knows how much we appreciate him! His willingness to meet students where they are at, encouragement that we can all learn and grow, and mastery of the material were all really helpful strategies in 502. I think you are well on your way to becoming a master teacher, Mollie! You are reflective about your experiences with your students and show a desire to always keep learning, including from your students–and these are very crucial elements for success 🙂

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