Introducing Teaching and Learning for Librarians
By Meg Westbury
Adoption of the CILN Framework has started many wonderful conversations around Cambridge about the role of information literacy in teaching and learning at the university. As Cambridge libraries prepare to ramp up what we teach, we are also starting conversations about how we teach, recognising that not all library staff have the same backgrounds or confidence in teaching.
To this end, tasked with creating educational opportunities for Cambridge library staff, the CILN-STAFF committee has proposed a 9-month teacher-training course for librarians modelled on the university’s TAP course for early-career researchers but incorporating a strong focus on the concerns and practices of librarians. Material from the popular 3-day teacher-librarian course offered by Kirstie Preest for several summers at Cambridge is forming the foundation of the course.
It is envisioned that the course, which hopes to take its first cohort of students in September 2019, will be blended, offering 1/3 of the content via Moodle and 2/3 via face-to-face meetings. The aim of the course, as stated in the official description, is “to build a community of skilled and confident teacher-librarians who have a personal philosophy of teaching, understand best pedagogical practices and can translate the CILN Framework into effective educational support within the disciplinary context of their libraries.”
Throughout the course, students will create a personal philosophy of teaching. At the same time, they will work on an applied project, such as developing a class for their library, to which they will apply the various theoretical and course-design principles they learn. The last few sessions of the course will be devoted to delivering increasingly-long teaching sessions which will be peer reviewed. In this way, and through participating in forum discussions and group projects, we hope to create a supportive community of practice for library staff about teaching issues that lives on well after the course.
Importantly, we hope that the course will be accredited via AdvanceHE (formerly the Higher Education Academy), so that students who successfully complete the course will be awarded Associate Fellowship (AFHEA) (the Cambridge TAP course, discussed above, also awards AFHEA). This is an important qualification which demonstrates that librarians have achieved effectiveness in their professional role of teaching and/or supporting learning.
Reflection, peer support, communities of practice, authentic learning and national qualifications…we are very excited about Teaching and Learning for Librarians and think it’s the first of its kind in the UK (though we’d be happy to discover otherwise!). We look forward to blogging more about the course as it progresses.