My teaching philosophy centers around a set of values and practices related to information literacy.
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 that incorporate analyses of power, access to information, and include various ways of knowing. I draw on critical, humanizing, and feminist pedagogies that highlight information structures.
Respect for students’ life experiences and prior knowledge is another important value. I enjoy creating an inclusive classroom where students can question, share, and learn from and with each other. My teaching relies on active learning strategies. To this end, we engage in discussion, hands-on practice, Problem-Based Learning, and simulations to build students’ information literacy skills and connect these skills with real world information needs.
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.
The ARCL Framework provides strong conceptual underpinnings to many of the skills we aim to teach. I encourage students to look at patterns in the information they are retrieving, consider how their search expressions, algorithms, 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.