My teaching philosophy centers around a set of values and practices related to information literacy.
The most valuable goal, in my mind, is to help students build transferable knowledge and skills for information work that will help them in their current courses as well as in their chosen career. Showing students the relevance of information literacy skills to academic, personal, and professional pursuits is key to building lifelong information literacy skills. Using news headlines, storytelling, or trends in the field can be valuable ways of demonstrating relevance.
Patterns and Threshold Concepts
The ARCL Framework provides strong conceptual underpinnings to many of the skills we aim to teach. In addition to adapting the threshold concepts for students’ disciplines and information needs, I hope to increase their awareness of patterns of information organization and consumption. For instance, when students have difficulty finding relevant search results, I encourage them to look at patterns in the information they are retrieving, consider how their search expressions and chosen search tools may be influencing the results, and modify their search strategies based on what patterns they’ve identified. Using patterns as a method for troubleshooting is empowering for the student and builds confidence in critical thinking abilities, well beyond the how-to steps of using a particular search tool or strategy.
Encouraging students’ critical thinking and evaluation skills are also keys to my teaching values. I enjoy stimulating discussions of Authority and deeper understandings of knowledge production, dissemination, and consumption practices. Understanding the underlying organization of information can often help students form a structural awareness of information production and build fluency across multiple delivery formats.
Respect for students’ life experiences and prior knowledge is another important value. I enjoy creating an inclusive classroom where students can question and share in a respectful environment. My teaching relies on strategies that appeal to multiple learning modes. To this end, visual and auditory activities are combined with active learning activities, discussion, hands-on practice, Problem-Based Learning, and simulations to build students’ information literacy skills.