I am teaching Foundations this semester…the first course many students take in the first semester. The students are incredible…really delving into what it means to work with, disseminate, and collect information. I am so happy about their determination and interest in being a librarian – or whatever we will be known as in the future.
It is going to be another wonderful semester in Greensboro!!!!
I had an incredible, theoretical, intellectual and completely fun discussion with fellow librarian Jennifer Ballance. We spend a lot of time discussing learning theories, pedagogies, etc and how librarians gain these skills. We all know K-12 librarians learn many of these skills; however, public, special, and academic librarians all need them as well. Lets even take it out of the library – information specialists are often called upon to teach various research and technology skills. Where does this leave us? Our research will figure it out .
Seriously, we know that being an expert in a subject does not necessarily make us a teacher in that subject…how do we teach, how do people learn? What types of self-reflection do we engage in when we do teach a class?
We have lots of questions and are beginning to find the answers…stay tuned…
Learning….what does it mean? Does it mean I passed a course? No…although I’m beginning to think that is all that matters – not content knowledge, not new ideas, just entering the profession with the appropriate letters. At what point does higher ed become professional training?
In a sense it is professional training – learning the vocabulary of a group, learning to interact with group members – but I also expected some professional freedom. Freedom for new ideas, fresh discourse, freedom from those that marginalize others…is it still out there? In the confines of a particular genre obviously, but still freedom to disagree…not maintain the party line…
Not what do you learn or what do you contribute, but here is what you have to “do” to finish this degree. I want to learn – I’m not interested in a mechanistic passage…but an exciting, reflexive path that allows for transformation…it will happen…
Wow…not sure what to say. The work is so rewarding and the colleagues are wonderful, but it is so hard. I know, I know, a Ph.D. should be hard and I agree – my career is also fulfilling and wow…need to get it done. Adult Education is a passion of mine and studying it while also acting it is even more intriguing. I can see how some of these theories work and how context is so important to them all – some work for me, some work for others, perhaps some work for none…still figuring that out. CAn I study my experience for a diss? I don’t think so, but a biography of the part-time phd would be great…a guidebook so to speak…something we can also hand out to our other adult students. I used to think the end would come, but it never ends…the research is ongoing – as it should be – and our role as educators must always be this hard – we need to get things done, bring about change and transformation
although sometimes I do look for the end, my spirit always renews…
It is always nice to be home…I’ve been thinking about my experience in Nashville and the ways it can shape my instruction. That sounds crazy perhaps but I experienced so much – often through informal learning. Libraries are integral to informal learning – and my experience at the library and museums told me so much. In addition the spoken word – visiting places such as the Opry and Loveless allows me to hear people discuss history, what/who shaped them as people, musicians, and there is so much that can be harnessed for formal learning – ways we can take these traditions and inform our students.
It was a wonderful, transformational week.
I am presenting at the SITE conference tomorrow with my colleague Jada Williams – faculty adoption of technology. I think it will be a fun presentation, but as usual I’m hoping the technology works. I hope to hear some of the library talks among others. This is my first time at SITE so if you are there come say hello!
I’m still thinking a lot about being outside in the classroom – I want a safe learning space that encourages debate but doesn’t marginalize. My interest areas in online environments for adults make me ask questions about that as a safe environment. Is blended better than only online?
Blended learning – if you marginalize people in the classroom is there any reason you will respect them virtually? Research shows a bully culture in academia, anecdotally we hear about bullies online – perhaps creating the space is harder.
An ICT Transformative Learning Theory (thank you Dr. Bowles) can open up these spaces for exploration – but the theory and the subsequent practice must address the learning space, the culture – it must respect the learner. Cultural Geographer Donald Meinig discusses “10 versions of the same scene” and I want to explore our online spaces through these multiple versions. In a way that makes a challenging, safe, reflexive learning environment for students and teachers.
I want the outsiders to have a space where they can learn without sacrificing who they are.
I’ve felt safe most of my life. Not that there hasn’t been disruption and dissonance, but I have felt safe. My early career was in a male dominated industry…and I always felt that I was valued. My colleagues and I may not have always agreed – but it was a safe environment. I’ve heard stories and I understand what many women face at work or home, but I have been very fortunate. I never felt on the outside…until recently.
Academia should provide a safe space to explore, disagree, agree and transform…however I’m starting to hang around the outside. I keep my mouth shut about a lot of things…I’m turning into a “what’s the point” person who feels that my ideas will not be critiqued but dismissed. The outside gets lonely…
I don’t want my students to feel dismissed – I have my biases and so do my students – however I want them to feel comfortable articulating their ideas and able to take/use critique. I feel successful in that endeavor but I guess I will never know for sure.
The outside has positives as well…I know what I don’t want for my students…I know what kind of environment I want to foster in my classrooms…I know that we can be strong on the outside. Looking around I know I’m not the only one who is residing out here…I’m finding people outside my community…building a new community.
But for the moment I have to step back inside…bring some of my outside self to the status quo and hopefully bring about some change…
Dr. Tuere Bowles from NCSU was a guest speaker in my adult learning class last week and she is an incredible teacher. One of the best teachers I have ever been fortunate enough to hear. She showed us an interview with Dr. Carol Wiessner – also of NCSU – who passed away two years ago. Dr. Wiessner was an incredible woman and her path through academia – after being thought unintelligent – is inspiring. Her comments made me realize that I don’t have to learn the way others want me to. Dr. Wiessner’s struggle with traditional learning and her success is an ongoing reminder that we don’t all learn the same way….and we are not dumb.
I am so happy that there are professors out there who do recognize that there is not one way of doing things…we should respect the way people learn, the way they write, the way they communicate. Of course we need empirical evidence…and of course we need those that can transcend the empirical and ask hard questions that lead to more research. Instead of marginalizing those that do not represent the status quo. As an educator I hope I can respect and understand different modes of thinking and learning, while I will have my biases and my own beliefs I do not want to become so closed off that I cannot see past them. Reflexivity is necessary to be a good educator – I don’t want to indoctrinate…I want people to think.
There appears to be a divide between theory and practice…and as always I find myself wondering why. The divide appears to be constructed by the academy itself…even in class this weekend we were told that the HRD people are practical and the Adult Ed. people are more idealistic. It doesn’t appear to be an indictment of either group although we all have our biases.
The exchange left me wondering about the academy in general – so we have all these great theories that are enforced by empirical evidence – we write about it in journals written for other academics – then we sit back and wait for everyone else to read it? There are some academics who take their message out, but if it is wrapped in academic discourse how much good does it do? Every group has their own discourse but I do believe it is our responsibility to translate into practitioner language.
As someone who has been on both sides, I agree that it is hard to find the time to read academic journals, and it is hard to find the desire as well. That feeling of being apart, perhaps even marginalized, by those in the ivory tower. Theory does information practice – which in return informs theory – but if it is not disseminated what purpose does it serve? Beyond of course the intellectual curiousity of the few, and my own edification of course.
I find this with cultural studies – I find the theories vital to displaying modes of discourse that marginalize groups. We are so wrapped up in our ways of doing that reflexive practice is necessary to recognize who we are leaving out. This can be done in the framework of empirical research, but we should not valorize the scientific method if we are not aware of its limitations as well. Science is rhetorically based, it is not the “truth”, in that we have to recognize the social context in which the scientific research was performed and described.
So the ramblings that leave me still questioning theory and practice…I want both but how do I find a place for both beyond the lip-service that I’ve found so far? I need to make that place.