I didn’t post about my last day an a half at the ACRL Intentional Teacher Immersion program primarily because it was pretty intense and I needed time to process it. Again, I won’t bore you with the details, but it involved pretty intense discussions of what we percieve to be weaknesses in our teaching that were carried out in what we called a Palmer Circle format. This comes from Parker Palmer, the author of one of the books we read. The idea is that a concern is stated by the focus person and the other members of the group can only ask questions of the person to try and help them think through the issue. The process of asking questions was almost as difficult as the process of being the focus person. Teachers and librarians tend to be problem solvers and the impulse to say “well…what I would do in your situation is…..” was difficult to overcome. But the experience was a great one and I hope to take away a new respect for questioning as a way to work through issues rather than just giving advice.
To prepare for the questioning aspect of the Palmer Circle we used a set of cards called the ‘whack pack’ which was designed to inspire creative problem solving. The questions were great and I am ordering a pack of the cards off eBay for us to use.
The final half day was devoted to creativity in instruction and in reflecting on the experience of the Immersion program. As I have reflected over the last week here are the big take-away’s for me:
1. Getting time away from my other duties to focus more on my instruction will become a higher priority for me.
2. Keeping up with the literature of instruction across the disciplines is a commitment I really want to make. This will include exploring presentation and publication possibilities in discipline specific arenas outside of librarianship.
3. I will endeavor to trust my students more with thier own learning and strive to be a guide to them whenever the opportunity arises.
4. The two leaders of the program, Lisa Hinchcliffe and Beth Woodard both from Univ. of Illinois are MASTER teachers and were such amazing role models of what exceptional teachers do that I will carry their examples with me for a long, long time.
5. Campus food is lousy everywhere, but UCSD has truly integrated environmentalism and sustainability into their campus culture which was a truly refreshing site. Even down to putting recycle cans outside next to all of their trash cans and using compostable plastic cups for conference set-ups.