ACRL 2011 – Admit it! You're boring in the classroom

Admit It! You’re Boring in the Classroom: 10 or More Ways to Not Be
St Cloud St: Jennifer Quinlan & Cindy Gruwell
16,000 undergrads, 5,000 grads
one-shots, two- & three-shots, credit-bearing

Neat icebreaker – tell us your name, and some things about it. Why you were given it, have you had another name, how do you feel about it, another name you’d prefer. Share with table then table nominates one to share with group.

Have the students share their names at the start – humanizes. Take a few minutes to make that connection. Worth it even in a 50-minute session. We then did this – mostly teaching one-shots.

Rewrote song Jack Black & Will Ferrell did at awards ceremony “You’re Boring.”

Comments re: computer lockdown type software, conversation meanders:

-someone uses a software that enables students to text ideas for keywords? Seems interesting.
-use their attention as a guage – if they’re FB’ing or whatever, that means it’s time to switch focus.
-Steven Bell article – “you already know this? Come up and help!” – shaming? Not so good. One-shots are a big library commercial. Make it positive.
-explain why it’s important to use our resources. “Your tuition dollars at work.” Gives it some weight outside of just have to do this.
-start by doing something on Google – evaluation of sites, take them to a fake site – reinforces that they can’t use everything. Explain why top results are top results, it’s just a popularity contest.
-start with an article from a db, try to find it in Google. Oh look…paywall.

Know your students
-we know the class, general makeup, etc.
-cognitive/brain development goes on throughout college – how they learn is changing
-teenage brain sesks out novelty and emotion. Despite this they crave structure and organization. But, the teenage brain also likes to take risks.

So what do we do?
-introduce novelty, use excitement, engage physical senses, encourage students to act in novel ways, arouse curiosity, create a positive environment, give timely & specific feedback.

Negotiate with profs – help grade assignments, at least look at bibliographies @ end of semester.

Library tours are not a good use of time – self-guided is better (paper is OK if no audio). Give a handout with questions to make sure they did it. Or break them into groups, send them out “write down ten things about it and come back to report.”

Idea – advanced classes. Break into groups, give me x # of things about whatever DB that you didn’t notice previously. (based on 10 things about room that you didn’t ntice when you sat down exercise)

Unexpected things get them to engage – activate their creativity. Group bonding, making connections.
Creativity book: How to be an explorer of the world, Kerri Smith
As them what they do, what do they care about? Give me your name and one quick thing about yourself, one word to describe yourself or an interest you have. – IL ethnographic study – 10 methods. Maybe you can’t do the whole thing, just try one method.

Students want to be treated as individuals and respected by their instructors, not treated as kids who don’t know much.

“I do this job because I like students and I want to help them.” Try to keep this in mind, remember what drew you to this job to begin with.

Talk with them informally as they arrive. Tell students something about yourself to reduce anonymity. As their names if it’s small enough. Ask to relate previous interactions with library. <- I do a little of this but need to be more deliberate about it.

No excitement in the teacher, no excitement for the student.

Admit what you don't know, when you're way outside of your subject area. Be real.

Be you, but bigger. It's your time, you should own it.

Develop your presentation skills.

Prepare – ID purpose. Project yourself – how you look, move, sound. Pace – Mix it up, have them participate. Punch – start with one, and end powerfully. Engage – passion, proximity, play. Look at the TED Commandments.

This session has been pretty good but I really wish more if it were applicable to one-shot sessions. Definitely some good takeaways, but some of these things are really more suited to for-credit, and there were very few of us in the room doing those (they heard from every one of us at the start!).

Be human. Provide contact info! Leave “baggage” at the door. Learn from mistakes but don’t get hampered down by bad experiences. Don’t get stuck behind the computer. Remember, less is more. Find out what they already know.

Re: contact info – give them specific examples of questions they can ask you. Not sure which database to start with? Can’t remember where I said to find some info you need? Trying what I show you but coming up with nothing or not enough?

Char Booth’s book (Reflective Teaching, Effective Learning) – they say it’s great. Char says: never assume that b/c it’s relevant to you, it’s relevant to students. “What in it for me” principle.