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This week I am in San Diego in one of the ACRL Immersion programs. For those unfamiliar with them, these programs are week-long immersion programs focused on various aspects of information literacy. There are four tracks. Assessment (not running this time, but focuses on how to assess student learning and program success), Program (focusing on how to get an IL program going at your institution), Teacher (focused on instruction strategy for new teachers) and Intentional Teacher (the one I’m in) which focuses on people who have been teaching for a while in an effort to make them more aware of their teaching.There are 25 of us in the Inentional Teacher group from all over the country (and Canada) and from all sorts of libraries, backgrounds and stages in their careers.
As the ‘Immersion’ moniker suggests, it’s an intense program with long days, many activities, much discussion and even more reflection. I’m not going give a play-by-play of each day but will instead highlight as best I can those things that stuck out to me. Once I’m done I hope to also have some bigger picture thoughts to share.
Today we first focused on the two books we read before arriving. Parker Palmer’s The Courage to Teach and Steven Brookfield’s Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher. Both books had their moments for me (usually surrounding concrete examples rather than lofty theory) although both tended to obscure points with too much jargon for my taste. What was interesting in our discussion is how what one person found depressing in one book, another found exhilarating; what I may have dismissed as unimportant, another person really connected with. So I came to see both books in a new light.
Later in the day we discussed our results of the Teaching Perspectives Inventory. This measure was developed to show teachers where they stand within the five teaching perspectives identified: Transmission, Apprenticeship, Developmental, Nurturing and Social Reform. I won’t bore you with the specifics, but I’d love to get a group of our ZSR instructors together to take the test and discuss the results when I return. Taking the inventory is free and it can offer real insights into how we approach teaching and where the disconnects are between what we believe about teaching and what we actually do in the classroom. It was a fascinating discussion and one I’ll be mulling over for some time to come.
One of the goals of the week is to begin to develop our own teaching philosophy statement so I will close here and begin my work on that. Tonight we have a movie and tomorrow it’s another all day set of discussions and activities beginning at 7:30am and ending at 9:30pm. What I find really nice is to have the time to really reflect about the part of my job that brings me the most joy and satisfaction, but the part that I find I don’t spend enough time really thinking about. It’s also very invigorating to be around colleagues that do what you do on a daily basis. I’ve already shared stories and gotten inspiration from the folks I’ve met.
The fact that it is 70 degrees, sunny with a nice breeze doesn’t hurt, either. San Diego has it made in terms of weather!!