The SoTL Advocate

Supporting efforts to make public the reflection and study of teaching and learning at Illinois State University and beyond…


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Outside the Box Pedagogies Supported by Emerging Evidence

Written by Jen Friberg, Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL and Associate Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at Illinois State University

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 11.04.16 AM.pngIt’s back…syllabus construction season! I have spent the last several weeks considering various instructional approaches for a class I’m teaching for the first time. My class — Assessment Across the Lifespan — is a clinically-based course intended to round out ISU’s two-year speech-language pathology graduate program. I’ve been planning the semester carefully these last several weeks, focusing on important “take aways” for students. As I matched instructional approaches with various course topics, I struggled to find a pedagogy that would allow me to facilitate the development of high-caliber observation skills — a critical tool in any clinical toolbox — in my students. To figure this out, I started looking toward relevant evidence to see what types of strategies/pedagogies were being used effectively to teach observational skills.

While I learned of varied evidence-based approaches to students learn to be better observers, there was one that resonated strongly with me. Jasani and Saks (2013) studied the impact of using visual art to help enhance the observational skills of medical students at their institution. Their study used a pre/post-test design to evaluate student observations before and after a three-hour visual observation strategy module that focused on using art to sharpen visual observation skills. While the number of observations did not differ from pre- to post- measures, students perceived they developed stronger clinical skills (content understanding and clinical mindfulness) as a result of this activity. I’m thinking I may use this approach to help my students sharpen their observational skills this term…and perhaps evaluate the impact of this pedagogy on student learning in speech-language pathology.

As I was reading about the arts-based approach for clinical teaching, I came across a blog that detailed the use of one of my favorite TV shows, the Amazing Race, to teach cultural geography to students. Sarah Smiley reflected on the use of this approach in a recent issue of the Journal of Geography (2017). In great detail, Smiley explained her reasoning for selecting various shows (e.g., to teach about language or religion) and discussed how her course structure allowed for active in- and out-of-class learning experiences. She identified student learning barriers and work-arounds for subsequent applications of this pedagogy. Overall, while no learning data was provided, Smiley allowed for a very honest look into the development of and reflection on an “out of the box” pedagogy. A bit of digging turned up a similar type of course autopsy by Smiley and Post (2014) in which the use of popular music to engage students in the study of introductory geography is studied.

Thinking about one more, evidence-based, “out of the box” approach to teaching, I was reminded of the work my ISU colleagues Bill Anderson, Sarah Bradshaw, and Jennifer Banning (2017). They studied a “twist” on case-based learning that yielded interesting possibilities for course instructors focused on change or development over time. This pedagogy, the interrupted case study (ICS), allows for case studies to unfold over time, with course instructors releasing selected and organized parts of each case progressively to disclose important aspects of the case as a sort of problem-based learning experience over time (Anderson et al, 2017). For this investigation, researchers used a video case study in a human development course to follow a cohort of individuals through their lifetimes for a period of 50 years. Segments of the video case study were played over the course of the semester. In between video segments, students were tasked with applying, discussing, and comparing/contrasting relevant developmental theories germane to the videos they watched. Students were also asked to make predictions of what they might see during the next video segment that was released. Student reflections from across the semester were studied systematically to understand the impact of ICS. Preliminary findings indicated that the use of ICS has the potential to create the “need to know” in students, to connect theory to practice, and to raise students’ levels of critical thinking.

The instructional approaches discussed in this blog certainly are “outside the box” and have presented emerging evidence for their efficacy which provide a foundation for future inquiry to understand the comprehensive impacts of these pedagogies. I am appreciative of the work of innovators in teaching and learning such as those featured above. Their efforts often change my perspective and provide new ways of thinking about my teaching and my students’ learning, which is always a good thing, particularly at the start of a new semester! Happy fall term to all!

Blog References

Anderson, J. W., Bradshaw, S., & Banning, J. (2017). Using interrupted video case studies to teach developmental theory: A pilot study. Gauisus, 4.

Jasani, S. K. & Saks, N. S. (2013). Using visual art to enhance the clinical observation skills of medical students. Medical Teacher, 35(7). dx.doi.org/10.3109/0142159X.2013.770131

Smiley, S. L. (2017). Teaching cultural geography with the Amazing Race. Journal of Geography, 116(3), 109-118.

Smiley, S. L. & Post, C. W. (2014). Using popular music to teach the geography of the United States and Canada. Journal of Geography, 113(6), 238-246.

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Class Discussions – Ideas for Use and Study

Written by Jennifer Friberg, Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL and Associate Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at Illinois State University

At EuroSoTL in June, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop session titled “Construction as a tool for reflection – A LEGO workshop,” developed by Dr. Staffan Andersson and Dr. J. Andersson Chronholm of Uppsala University in Sweden. The workshop allowed attendees to use LEGO Serious Play in exploring and discussing issues related to SoTL. I can certainly say we did discuss issues that are important in the SoTL world. But in doing so, we had FUN meaningfully engaging with each other as we told our SoTL stories (stay tuned – Dr. Andersson has agreed to write a blog on the experience with photos of our LEGO work in an upcoming SoTL Advocate blog!). On my plane ride home from the conference, I pondered the LEGO workshop, wondering how I could similarly engage my students in thinking about important disciplinary issues in unexpected ways.

Discussion bookBack in my office, I recalled a book I had purchased recently by Stephen Brooksfield and Stephen Preskill titled The Discussion Book: 50 Great Ways to Get People Talking – and sat down to read. Different from more familiar teaching/learning handbooks and resources, this book focuses exclusively on engaging in discussions across a variety of contexts for a wide range of purposes – a topic with an appeal to both public and private sector stakeholders: managers, employees, volunteers, teachers, and students. Looking at the techniques explained in the book, I noted some overlap (e.g., Think-Pair-Share or Critical Debate) with popular teaching/learning books such as Collaborative Learning Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty (Barkley, Cross, & Major, 2005); however, plenty of “new to me” ideas also were set forth by the authors.

In terms of organization, Brookfield and Preskill’s book includes ideas to accomplish the following:

  • Get discussion going with new groups
  • Promote good questioning
  • Foster active listening
  • Hold discussions without speaking
  • Get people out of their comfort zone
  • Engage in a text-based discussion
  • Democratize participation
  • Transition from small to large groups
  • Building group cohesion
  • Making group decisions

Each technique is presented in a formulaic manner within its own chapter in the book. Each chapter contains the following sections:

  • Purpose of technique
  • How it works
  • Where and when it works well
  • What users appreciate
  • What to watch out for
  • Questions that fit the technique

While I found several techniques that look promising for use with my classes and students this term (particularly a technique termed “single word sum-ups” to help my students speak briefly, concicely, and find themes across classmates), I was struck by the lack of any real evidence presented to accompany these. Great ideas? The book has many. Evidence to suggest that the techniques explained are effective? That was most definitely lacking.

What does that mean for us as SoTL enthusiasts? Well, thinking specifically of McKinney’s (2007) teaching continuum, this book could appeal to good teachers who apply these techniques with thought and care, scholarly teachers who seek evidence elsewhere to support the use of these strategies prior to applying them, and scholars of teaching and learning who take the opportunity to engage in classroom-based SoTL to systematically study the effectiveness of the techniques they choose to apply. From a teaching and learning standpoint, it is the case that this book offers potential benefit to many (students, teachers, scholars). So perhaps it truly does offer something for everyone. However, I DO hope that some instructors are tempted to study the outcomes of using any techniques they try! Such a study might be the perfect opportunity for a student or faculty member looking to engage in their first (or 50th!) SoTL experience.

 

Blog references:

Anderson, S. & Anderson Chronholm, J. (2017, June). Construction as a tool for reflection: A LEGO workshop. Presentation at EuroSoTL in Lund, Sweden.

Barkley, E. F., Cross, K. P., & Major, C. H. (2005). Collaborative learning techniques: A handbook for college faculty. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Brookfield, S. D. & Preskill, S. (2016). The discussion book: 50 great ways to get people talking. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

McKinney, K. (2007). Enhancing learning through the scholarship of teaching and learning: The challenges and joys of juggling. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


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Business and Cultural Experiences in Peru

Written by: Dr. Aysen Bakir, Professor of Marketing at Illinois State University

Editor’s note: Dr. Bakir received a “Going Global with SoTL” Mini-grant in the 2015-16 academic year. Here, Dr. Bakir reports on the project she designed for her students, with feedback from several students as to their perceptions of learning as part of their short-term study abroad experience.

redbirdperuAs we become more connected in the world, it also becomes more important to our students to have good understanding of different cultures and have the skills that would help them to function successfully in the workplace. Accordingly, it is important that our students have the skills and the experiences to differentiate them in the global marketplace. Studying abroad (whether short term or long term) can be one of those experiences that can help our students to have better understanding of the different cultures. Study abroad can also help the students to gain the skills and knowledge needed in their development as global citizens. In fact, business schools recognized the importance of globalization and have been implementing more global curriculum in the last two decades (Toncar and Cudmore, 2000; Lamont and Friedman, 1997). Studies also show that business-study abroad programs can lead to meaningful changes in students’ intercultural development (Payan, Svensson and Hogevold 2012). I developed a short-term study abroad program to address some of these issues. The study abroad experience included company visits and cultural excursions. These activities aimed to provide exposure to how businesses operate in different cultures, types of challenges they have, and the strategies companies implement in Peru. Additionally, students were exposed to Peru’s very rich history providing a great exposure to a culture that is significantly different from that of the United States.

Students who participated in the program reported learning in disciplinary content as well as in cultural knowledge. Requirements for the study abroad experience included several elements, notably a presentation assignment that have the students reflect on some of their experiences. The following excerpts from presentations of the study abroad participants provided some perspectives regarding to their professional and personal experiences:

  • “This trip has helped me learn a lot of how business is affected by culture.”
  • “The Inca Market allowed me apply my sales strategies I have been learning in the classroom to a real life situation. It was interesting to apply these skills and see how they are similar across the world. Although it might vary due to language barrier, sales practices are almost universal.”
  • “Being in a country that did not predominantly speak English was an eye opening experience. There were many times where I relied on hand motions and body language to communicate what I was trying to say. It’s amazing how we can still communicate with people without speaking”
  • “… Peru taught me a lot of life lessons… I loved becoming more culturally aware of how Americans can actually be different and can benefit from seeing how other people live… I have learned that I need to travel more and put myself outside of my comfort zone because that is how an individual grows.”

Overall, this short-term study abroad program seemed successful in enhancing students’ professional and personal knowledge by exposing them to a different culture than they are familiar with and engaging them in new learning opportunities beyond the classroom. This out-of-class experience helped students gain business, historical and geographical knowledge to enhance their intercultural skills for more agile professional functioning in their professional futures.

References Cited

Lamont, Lawrence M. and Ke Friedman (1997), “Meeting the Challenges to Undergraduate Marketing education,” Journal of Marketing Education, 19 (Fall), 17-30.

Payan, Janice M., Goran Svensson and Nils M. Hogevold (2012), “The Effect of Attributes of Study Abroad and Risk aversion on the Future Likelihood to Study Abroad: A Study Of U.S. and Norwegian Undergraduate Marketing Students,” Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education, 20 (3), 70-81.

Toncar, Mark F. and Brian V. Cudmore (2000), “The Overseas Internship Experience,” Journal of Marketing Education, 22 (1), 54-63.

 

 

 

 

 


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A Sampling of What Psychologists (and Some of You in Other Disciplines!) Engaged In SoTL Might Learn From Sociology

Written by Kathleen McKinney, Professor of Sociology & Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL, Emeritus, Illinois State University; Maxine Atkinson, Professor of Sociology, and Tyler Flockhart, Graduate Student, North Carolina State University

We were honored to be invited to write, and submit for review, a paper for the journal, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, for their special section of ‘Cross Fertilization’ papers. In these papers, SoTL researchers from a discipline other than psychology offer ideas that might be of interest and use to psychologists doing or considering doing SoTL. Though our focus was on this sociology to psychology idea transfer, we believe some of what we discuss and illustrate in the paper might be of use to those in other disciplines as well. Thus, in this blog post, we briefly outline the content of our paper and provide a reference to the full paper.[1]

Recognizing the overlap between the disciplines of sociology and psychology as well as the significant contributions of psychologists to the research on learning and SoTL, we focus in the full paper on three areas in sociological scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) and sociology that offer potential contributions to psychologists (and others) engaged in SoTL research. Though our suggestions come directly from the heart of theory and method in our discipline in general, we began by offering some grounding of our ideas in the history and literature on teaching and SoTL, specifically, in sociology as well as in the field of SoTL more generally. To do this, we offer example citations of early (1980’s) writing in the sociology teaching-learning movement and more recent writing in the field of SoTL that support the importance of both context and qualitative methods in SoTL research.

Drawing from analyses of content in the journal Teaching Sociology, we then offer a brief overview of the ‘face of SoTL in sociology’ that might be of interest to others by reviewing some of the recent trends in SoTL in sociology including what research methods are used, the topics covered, and a few common findings. This overview of SoTL in sociology shows, empirically, that sociologists value critical thinking and deep learning as important learning objectives, that active learning and strong relevance of content to students are both useful pedagogies, and that student attitudes as well as student demographics or group membership can be related to student learning. SoTL research in sociology is also evidence-based, is very often at the classroom level, and uses multiple methods or measures to gather data, though often including student self-perceptions of learning.

Next, we address the utility of the ‘sociological imagination’—as well as two related, example theories that involve social structure, stratification, and social interaction—as a perspective for further understanding of teaching, learning, and SoTL. The sociological imagination is the key threshold concept (Meyer and Land, 2006) of our discipline and this paradigm tells us that human behavior exists in social context. C. Wright Mills (1959) defined the sociological imagination as the intersection of individual biography and historical context and emphasized the importance of distinguishing between personal troubles and public issues. Thus, sociologists argue that viewing learning as something that happens within individuals without consideration of the historical and social context within which these individuals learn is a limited and problematic view. Based on the sociological imagination and sociological level theories, we then urge psychologists and others doing SoTL to include three sets of variables and measures in their SoTL research: demographic or sub-cultural, interpersonal, and contextual. Including such variables and measures, we argue, will improve SoTL research and our ability to understand findings, as well as increase teacher effectiveness and student learning. We briefly summarize several SoTL in sociology studies that include one or more of these types of variables. We also apply the sociological imagination to a concrete example of a psychological construct and a teaching-learning issue– that of studying self-efficacy for learning statistics– to illustrate the types of research questions and variables to measure that would stem from such an analysis.

We then discuss the value, and sociological examples, of qualitative methods for SoTL research. As many of you know, qualitative methods– such as ‘think-alouds’, interviews and focus groups, observation, open-ended survey questions, and qualitative analysis of student writing and other products –have a variety of characteristics that fit well with many SoTL research questions. “Qualitative data are data in verbal or textual or visual form. Such data are more detailed and more directly reflect the voice of the participant. Qualitative work generally uses a naturalistic and interpretive strategy. The participants’ understanding of the meaning of the phenomenon is critical. You can obtain rich and elaborate data, look for emergent themes, draw some ideas about process, and quote the actual words of your respondents.” (McKinney, 2007, p. 68). Qualitative methods and data may also be especially useful for including ‘student voices’ in our SoTL research and providing data to help us understand process and intervening variables– the how, when, why– in our studies. We end this section of our paper with a brief summary of several SoTL in sociology studies that use qualitative methods.

Finally, we conclude the article by offering numerous additional sociologically-based research ideas that stem from the sociological imagination and the use of qualitative methods. Though the paper focuses on what psychologists might learn from our ideas, we hope that some of you in other disciplines will enjoy the full paper and find some uses for our suggestions.

Blog References

McKinney, K. (2007). Enhancing learning through the scholarship of teaching and learning: The challenges and joys of juggling. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Meyer, J. H. F., & Land, R. (Eds.). (2006). Overcoming barriers to student understanding: Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge. London: Routledge.

Mills, C.W. (1959). The sociological imagination. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

 

[1] This post includes original text as well as edited excerpts from the full article: McKinney, K., Atkinson, M., & Flockhart, T. (2017). A Sampling of What Psychologists Engaged in SoTL Might Learn from Sociology: Cross-fertilization article. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology. (in press, June). http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2017-19187-001/

 

 


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Student Teaching in Eastbourne, England: A SoTL Small Grant Project Grant One Year Later

Written by: Erin Mikulec and Jill Donnel, School of Teaching and Learning at Illinois State University

globalThe College of Education and the University of Brighton have worked in partnership for over 25 years to provide ISU students with the opportunity to complete half of their 16-week student teaching experience in schools in Eastbourne, England. However, to date, there has been no longitudinal research using multiple measures of data to investigate the impact(s) of the program. To that end, we proposed a study to examine the personal and professional learning outcomes of students who complete half of their student teaching in Eastbourne, England.

We began with a pilot study in October 2015 with five students participating in the program and collected the first iteration of data with a group of 18 students in February 2016. The students represented three different majors in the School of Teaching and Learning: Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education and Middle Level Education. Prior to leaving for England, the students had completed eight weeks of student teaching in schools in Illinois.

The study included multiple measures of data over the course of the students’ 8-week experience in England:

  • Students completed pre-departure modules to help prepare them for living in England and to familiarize them with the English school system, the National Curriculum, and classroom management practices.
  • We then traveled with the students for the first week of their experience, where we participated in their induction and orientation activities, and accompanied them to their schools to meet their cooperating teachers. We held a focus group discussion after the school visit in which the students discussed their first day at school, their decision to participate in the program, and their expectations for their student teaching experiences.
  • Over the course of the semester, students completed weekly reflections. This allowed us as the researchers to observe growth and development over the course of the experience, rather than at a fixed point in time. Each reflection provided guided questions focusing on different aspects of teaching and also allowed for making comparisons between student teaching experiences in Illinois and England. Site supervisors from the University of Brighton visited and evaluated the students twice during the program. These reports were also collected as data and provided an external perspective on the students’ teaching practices.
  • At the end of the 8-week student teaching program, students completed a final reflection in which they discussed how they believed the experience had changed them personally and professionally, their challenges and successes, what they will take with them from the experience into their future classrooms, and their preparation to return home to the United States.

Although we are now in the final stage of collecting our third iteration of data, we have identified several emerging themes from looking at our first two cohorts of data. Our initial findings indicate that there were personal and professional learning outcomes across all three majors, within each major, and even several shared between two majors.  For instance, the data revealed that the experience led to increased self-confidence both personally and professionally, as well as an increase in cultural awareness, in and out of the classroom for all three majors. In terms of themes shared between two majors, Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education students reported that the experience helped them to practice differentiation in instruction, and to see the value of student choice in the classroom. Data from Elementary and Middle Level Education students indicated that their experience helped them to work with diverse student populations and to negotiate classroom management strategies that are different from what they had experienced during their student teaching placement in Illinois.

Across all program areas, the participants identified ways in which they believed that the English school system exemplified certain aspects of teaching that they had not seen in a similar manner in their Illinois placements. Overall, the initial findings indicate that the student teaching experience in Eastbourne provided participants with a hands-on opportunity to compare and contrast the U.S. and the U.K. educational systems. By finishing the remainder of their student teaching in England, the students were able to recognize differences in practices and how they could use this practical experience improve upon their own in their future classrooms.

With the third and final iteration of data concluding, we look forward to analyzing the remaining data and completing the project. We presented our initial findings at the ISSoTL conference in October, 2016 in Los Angeles, as well as at ISU’s University-Wide Teaching and Learning Symposium in January, 2017. Both presentations yielded constructive and positive feedback. In addition to submitting a manuscript for publication, the results from this study will also be used to inform practice in the School of Teaching and Learning’s student teaching program, both in Illinois and England.


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Bringing Together Academic Librarianship and SoTL

Written by Lauren Hays, Instructional and Research Librarian at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, KS. ldhays@mnu.edu  @Lib_Lauren

This post is in a sense declaring a hoped-for/planned career emphasis.  Let me introduce myself.  I am a librarian, academic, and SoTL enthusiast.  SoTL entered my professional career rather suddenly and unexpectedly.  Perhaps other academics start their careers with a narrowly defined scope.  I did not.  I just knew I loved higher education.  It was in my blood and bones.  Conceivably this was because I grew up living in married student housing while my dad pursued his Ph.D., which is where I remember seeing The Chronicle of Higher Education arrive weekly in the mail.  My love for higher education, though, is also likely due to my innate curiosity about the world and everything in it.

When deciding on a career, I decided to become a librarian because, well, why not?  I loved learning, books, students, and the buzz of academic life.  Those things are in the library, right?  After completing a masters of library science, I started work as an instructional and research librarian.  Working as a librarian is an excellent fit for me.  I enjoy research, students, faculty, and yes, the administrative work that comes along with working in a library.  My undergraduate degree, though, was in education, and at times I found myself missing the teaching and learning discourse in which I heard teaching faculty engage.

Early in my career I sought a professional network.  Margy MacMillan from Mount Royal University, who I had met through my library network, spoke passionately about SoTL.  From her descriptions, I knew I had to dig deeper.  Furthering my knowledge of SoTL confirmed that this was an area of academia where I wanted to focus my career.  Therefore, I decided to continue my education and pursue a Ph.D.  To be accepted into the doctoral program where I eventually enrolled I had to have a solid idea for my topic of study.  Therefore, I spent a lot of time reading about SoTL and academic librarians.  In my reading, I read about SoTL’s impact on faculties’ identities, and wondered if SoTL would have a similar impact on academic librarians’ identities.  This curiosity led to my current study on academic instruction librarians’ involvement in SoTL.  As I learned in a review of the literature, academic librarians do not always see themselves as teachers (Austin & Bhandol, 2013; Houtman, 2010).  Yet, teaching is an important part of many librarians’ jobs (Westbrock & Fabian, 2010; Wheeler & McKinney, 2015).  I also learned that librarians experience similar paths to becoming teachers as teaching faculty (Walter, 2005).  I anticipate defending my dissertation proposal this summer and starting to collect data after June.

My doctoral work has been all-consuming, but it has afforded me the opportunity to read a lot of journal articles.  As I dig deeper into the SoTL literature, I see the teaching and learning I want to discuss.  I see how my work as a librarian and the study of teaching and learning are complimentary.  Academic librarians support the full curriculum and teach information literacy.  Instruction librarians spend a lot of time thinking about teaching methods and the best ways to help students become literate in information.  Practical examples of this include the numerous presentations on teaching and learning at conferences such as LOEX and the Association of College and Research Libraries.  Additionally, the Association of College and Research Libraries published a Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education built on threshold concepts.  Prior to the Framework many librarians were unfamiliar with threshold concepts, and that led to debate about the Framework.  The debate surrounding the Framework underpinned my interest in engaging with the broader teaching commons—it is too easy to silo ourselves.

The work I see other librarians doing and the need for information literacy skills makes me eager, and impatient, for the time after dissertation writing when I can spend even more time with my work as a librarian, a SoTL researcher, and maybe someday an administrator with responsibilities bringing together SoTL and librarianship.

Specifically, I dream of future projects that center around:

  • Information literacy
  • Librarian-faculty teaching partnerships
  • Student-librarian partnerships
  • Teaching and learning in the Library and Information Science classroom
  • SoTL in faculty development
  • Signature pedagogies for information literacy
  • Co-curricular teaching and learning
  • Educational technology
  • And hopefully other projects that will benefit students

It is also a goal to connect the academic library community with the SoTL community.  I have colleagues who have done tremendous work in this area, and I hope to work alongside them.  Declaring a career trajectory is a little scary, but good too.  SoTL is a wide and varied field.  There is much I can imagine doing.  So, to all who paved the way and made SoTL what it is, thank you.  To all of you doing the good work of teaching and learning today, thank you.  And to all who will come after, I hope I can help create a path that will make librarianship, teaching, learning, and SoTL even better.

*For more information on librarians and SoTL, and to view the call for proposals for the forthcoming book The Grounded Instruction Librarian: Participating in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (working title) published by the Association of College and Research Libraries in 2018, please visit http://bit.ly/librarianSoTL.

*Special thanks to Cara Bradley, Jackie Belanger, Rhonda Huisman, Margy MacMillan, and Melissa Mallon for being such great colleagues.

Blog References:

Austin, T., & Bhandol, J. (2013). The academic librarian: Buying into, playing out, and resisting the teacher role in higher education. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 19(1), 15–35. http://doi.org/10.1080/13614533.2012.740438

Houtman, E. (2010). “Trying to figure it out”: Academic librarians talk about learning to teach. Library and Information Research, 34(107), 18–40. Retrieved from http://www.lirgjournal.org.uk/lir/ojs/index.php/lir/article/view/246

Walter, S. (2005). Improving instruction: What librarians can learn from the study of college teaching. In P. Genoni & G. Walton (Eds.), Currents and Convergence: Navigating the Rivers of Change: Proceedings of the Twelfth National Conference of the Association of College and Research Libraries, April 7-10, 2005, Minneapolis, Minnesota  (pp. 363-379). Chicago, IL: Association of College & Research Libraries.

Westbrock, T., & Fabian, S. (2010). Proficiencies for instruction librarians: Is there still a disconnect between professional education and professional responsibilities ? College & Research Libraries, 71(6), 569–590.

Wheeler, E., & Mckinney, P. (2015). Are librarians teachers? Investigating academic librarians’ perceptions of their own teaching roles. Journal of Information Literacy, 9(2), 111–128. http://doi.org/10.11645/9.2.1985

 


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University-School Partnerships and Pre-Service Teacher Preparation: A Travel Grant Report

Written by Sherry Sanden, Assistant Professor in the School of Teaching and Learning at Illinois State University

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 10.18.48 PMWith support from a SoTL Travel Grant awarded by the Office of the Cross Chair in SoTL at ISU, I attended the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida in February, 2017 to present a paper titled Examining the Impact of Multi-Year School-University Partnerships on Pre-service Teacher Learning. In this presentation, my research colleagues and I explained our planning, implementation, and outcomes of the exploration of a university-school partnership that enabled us to prioritize and study three significant components of ISU pre-service teachers’ learning: their classroom field experiences, the in-service teachers with whom they worked, and the university structures that supported them in the field.

In our presentation, we explained how we supported the preparation of ISU pre-service teachers through a collaborative partnership between our early childhood teacher preparation program and a local public elementary school. Important components of the partnership included 1) two-day per week pre-student teaching clinical experiences in the kindergarten through Grade 3 classrooms of the partner school for a full year; 2) weekly collaborative sessions between the pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, and clinical supervisors; 3) a content course for the pre- service teachers, co-taught in the school setting by an early childhood faculty member and in-service teachers from the partner school; and 4) professional learning opportunities in the form of book studies conducted by early childhood faculty members and attended by pre-service and in-service teachers.

Relying on focus groups and interviews with pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, school administration, and university faculty; as well as on observations of pre-service teacher instruction, interactions, and reflections occurring across the school year, we evaluated the ability of the partnership to support the growth of pre-service teachers while maintaining the mission of the school in educating its student population. Utilizing the perceptions of all stakeholders and participants, we determined some aspects of the partnership that appeared to be most beneficial in supporting growth in the pre-service teacher participants, including strong and frequent faculty presence in the school setting, a university course embedded on site, support and mentoring for the pre-service and in-service teachers, and a consistent year-long location for teacher candidates. Demonstrated gains included a) increased pre-service teacher confidence in their practice, (b) improved teaching skills and abilities among pre-service teachers, and (c) stronger relationships and greater collaboration among pre-service and in-service teachers, school administrators, and university faculty.

Implications from this study include more clarity regarding the critical aspects involved with university-school partnerships, a better understanding of how pre- and in-service teachers can be mutually supported, and ultimately, identification of ways that clinical experiences can be maximized through a partnership model. Our interactive presentation provided an opportunity to discuss structures of university/school partnerships in the varied contexts of our presentation attendees. As we explained the results and implications of our ISU partnership practices, we provided opportunities for our audience to share questions or suggestions that further expanded our ideas. I believe this collaborative sharing inspired all of us to delve more deeply into the possibilities for partnerships that move beyond the traditional methods of placing pre-service teachers in schools and toward mutually beneficial collaborative relationships.

Our research work and subsequent presentation at ATE were consistent with the conference theme of Teacher Educators: Inspiring the Future, Honoring the Past in its goal of exploring innovative ways to improve on established methods of teacher education. Having the opportunity to share with teacher educators outside ISU the ways we have studied the learning of our ISU teacher candidates allowed all of us to grow in our understanding of options for building even stronger supports for university/school relationships in support of pre-service teacher growth as well as of methods of studying that important work.