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…
I am a librarian – I love to find information. I also realized that at times I am too complacent…google scholar or an academic database is all I need to use. Well…My technology and transformative learning lit review seemed stalled – I was looking for the theoretical underpinnings of the two areas. I’ve used these keywords: transformative learning, ICT, educational technology, educational theory, technology, distance education, online education in a myriad of databases. Found articles that skirted my topic but I was not quite satisfied…then I decided to search twitter.
I used the search transformative learning….found a tweet from @veletsianos about a special issue of Educational Technology that is all about transformative learning – it was posted 2/25/11. @veletsianos is Dr. George Veletsianos is Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology at the University of Texas, Austin. His blog is wonderful and you should check it out here http://www.veletsianos.com/.
So this took me on a new path…opened up so many doors and still led me to the scholarly articles I need. Environmental scanning to me is a key tool in finding information – and that includes using what some would consider unconventional tools. I keep hearing we need to teach in places where the students reside…we should also search in places that scholars reside.
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.
” The Other is an individual who is perceived by the group as not belonging, as being different in some fundamental way. Any stranger becomes the Other. The group sees itself as the norm and judges those who do not meet that norm (that is, who are different in any way) as the Other.“ Thank you Lila Melani at Brooklyn CUNY for the above quote. Check out her information – she gives a nice summation of the other.
I think libraries are very open to “removing” the other; however, are we reaching out to marginalized communities? I want to investigate libraries and information agencies on ways they deal with “otherness”. Some of it can be seen in safe zones for the LGBTQI community but what else are we doing? Are we addressing the other in our collections, through our services? What are we missing and can we ever alleviate all effects of the other?
We had our first stats study group…wow…of course some technical problems with our remote hookups but we eventually figured it out. I still have a lot of work to do, but it is coming together. The group works well and we are all trying to help…there are just some things that don’t make sense. One of my classmates is a fabulous teacher…she is incredible and I am in her debt.
I am also trying to work on my integrative lit review…I seem to have had a break through in terms of lit reviews so we will see what happens.
Still trying to get my Baudrillard paper ready for AERA…working on the paper for SITE…and working on another proposal for AECT…busy.
Also read Persepolis…incredible!!!!
Working on stats homework…I like it and am beginning to feel more comfortable then I move into facilitator mode. I’m teaching this semester – putting into practice various adult learning theories…taking out the dogs…back to stats…then my husband and I fix dinner. How can this go on? Sometimes it is a overwhelming – my students are back and have wonderful observations than enhance my research…the cycle continues – oh yeah…the xgames are on…time for a break
Had class today in adult learning theory…good class….great articles, but I do really enjoy the critiques. I believe it is important to cast a critical eye on what we are doing all the time. I’m thinking more and more about my diss….and the idea that I must create my problem statement. I need a problem statement…Did start my librarything collection on adult learning theory….check it out here http://www.librarything.com/catalog/b4andp
I am now a journal -reviewer! It is very exciting to be asked and I can’t wait to get started. It is a new journal – so exciting to be in from the ground up!