Developing Teaching Proficiencies for New Instructors Through a Learning Community
(Alphabetical) - Christopher Barb, Tracy Gilmore, Monena Hall, Tracy Hall, Neal Henshaw, Anne Lawrence, Carolyn Meier,
Rebecca Miller, Lesley Moyo, Jennifer Munson, Andi Ogier, Sara Thum
University Libraries, Virginia Tech
Volunteers from all library departments, a total of 10 librarians and staff
participated as members of the cohort, with the guidance of three
1) Developing a teacher identity
2) A review of Standards:
Standards for Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coord
inators: A Practical Guide
ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher
3) Student characteristics and learning preferences
4) Learning theories
5) Instructional design
6) Teaching technologies
Preparation and training for teaching roles within the Virginia Tech
Learning to teach can be achieved through formal teacher education
programs, or through in-house training programs that are pedagogically
designed to develop teaching proficiencies for subject and disciplinary
experts. The Virginia Tech libraries are rapidly evolving in every aspect
including library instruction. Additional instructors trained in teaching
library classes was identified as a necessity, subsequently a training
program was developed.
The call for participants was in the fall of 2011 and the volunteers began
the training program at the beginning of 2012.
The cohorts year-long experience was designed to immerse them in an
instruction experience that involved practical experiences designed to
create an understanding of theoretical foundations of teaching and
learning, while also providing them the opportunity to develop a teacher
identity that would help shape their techniques as an instruction
This poster session outlines the rationale and goals of the
program, as well as the various methods and resources employed
to cultivate teaching proficiencies of the participants. The poster
includes evaluative feedback from the participant, preliminary
outcomes of the program, and recommendations.
A vibrant community of practice resulting in several new library
projects and initiatives
Several conference presentations emanating from this program:
International Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy
Library Orientation Exchange (LOEX) 2013 Nashville, TN
Workshop for Library Instruction Conference (WILU)
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Inter-university collaboration in observation of instruction at Virginia
Tech and other participating universities (Radford University & Hollins
University) through the Library Exchange Observations (LEO)
Ubiquitous access to online tools and resources developed for the
A well-documented training program that can be replicated
elsewhere by others, including other departments, not limited to
application in instruction
Model has been adopted for developing reference proficiencies
among a volunteer group of reference assistants and librarians
Scheduling group meetings
Time management between job requirements and volunteering
Watching and presenting during the group practice sessions
provided valuable feedback on my instructional techniques.
-- Chris Barb
I work in Technical Services and since joining the Instruction Cohort team
I have had the opportunity to expand my level of service and knowledge,
engage with students, and gain experience in library instruction.
-- Tracy Gilmore
The cohort introduced the idea of reflective journaling in regards to my
teaching. This take away has become vital to my teacher identity and has
allowed me to document teaching moments and lessons learned. I wish I had
started reflective journaling when I first started teaching in 2009! -- Tracy Hall
A total of 10 library instructors trained and ready to teach library
Initiated an annual call for volunteers in library instruction
Implementation of in-house training and a call for volunteers in other
New Instructor Cohort
Developing my individual instructor identity through this year long
program has been invaluable both inside and outside of the classroom.
-- Jennifer Munson
Instruction is at the very core of what we do as a university library.
Developing and facilitating this training program truly emphasized that,
and reinvigorated my own teaching. I am looking forward to welcoming
our next group of new instructors this year! -- Rebecca Miller
It takes a library to instruct a freshman!
-- Carolyn Meier
References and Resources
American Library Association (ALA) (2007), Standards for proficiencies for instruction
librarians and coordinators, Association for College and Research Libraries
Kraat, S. B. (2005). Relationships between teaching faculty and teaching librarians.
Binghamton, NY: Haworth Information Press.
Lave, J. (1991). Situating learning in communities of practice. In Resnick, L.B. Levine,
J. M. (Ed); Teasley, S.D. (Eds), Perspectives on socially shared cognition. (pp. 63-82)
American Psychological Association [PsycBOOKS]. doi: 10.1037/10096-003
Westbrock, T., & Fabian, S. (2010). Proficiencies for instruction librarians: Is there still
responsibilities? College & Research Libraries, 71(6), 569-590.
Communities of practice
It is the first time we have recruited and trained library instructors
using the community of learners model. The outcome has been
tremendously positive so far. I look forward to building our
instruction capacity using this model and applying this in other
library areas like reference and research support. -- Lesley Moyo
Communities of learners
Learning communities as an instruction model
- University Libraries: www.lib.vt.edu - Research and Instructional Services Department: 540.231.5069
- Poster coordinator: Lesley Moyo - [email protected]
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