Are you a reflective practitioner?

Berlin river front

Twice in as many days someone has talked about the importance of being a reflective practitioner. Firstly my colleague Athina who decided to finally take the plunge and start a blog for recording thoughts about her master dissertation research as it progresses. And then today, while I was at the iSchool at the University of Sheffield in Pam McKinney’s lecture on teaching and learning support in libraries. I like to think I am a reflective practitioner, partly through writing on this blog, but also constantly reviewing what I do, discussing with colleagues and making changes to my teaching.

The lecture I gave today at the iSchool was part of the module on Academic Libraries and I was really pleased to be invited. I was given a brief, by Professor Sheila Corrall to talk about information literacy, e-learning and a little about my role at LSE and how I got there. It was quite a challenge in just 50 minutes and as ever I think I prepared too much content (too many slides) and didn’t show as many things as I would have liked. There was also not enough time for any discussion and I know, because Pam had some discussion in her session, that there was some interesting experience in information literacy teaching in the room.

One thing that struck me while talking was how some of the work I do seems to cause a tension. On the one hand I strive to help staff to use library resources in Moodle, create direct links to journal articles and e-books, encourage them to use our popular epack service to request scanned readings for their course. However, this works seems to have created a body of students who now find it difficult to know how to locate material without a direct link. So on the other side I am faced with the challenge of trying to encourage staff to embed information literacy into their course, to ensure our students do have the skills for learning.

But back to being a reflective practitioner. I hope the students today found the session useful and it gave them a insight into my role and the way librarians can work with other learning support staff. I also hope they were interested in the ANCIL work and it might encourage them to think of information literacy as a broader ambition, that contributes to social inclusion and is a basic human right.

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