July 2014, 4 librarians ran a 3 part course to support peer learning of teaching skills, we realise that teaching skills can’t be classes as information literacy, however as librarians are increasingly involved in delivering/teaching lots of different sessions/classes, teaching skills are now needed to underpin the delivery of IL in todays library roles. Say Point 1
After lots of deliberation we choose 3 half day sessions so people didnt have to leave library for too long, or arrange cover. Again we thought it best to have the course in one week so it wasn’t affected by colleagues holidays.
We felt it was very important that the course contained a practical element, so that participants could use it to gain confidence, practice, explore and incorporate new ideas into their IL sessions before the start of term. Again the positioning of the course during summer helped facilitate this.
We also felt that the course needed to use reflective practive so participants could evaluate their own performance and make changes where necessary, alongside this participants were asked to give a nanoteach and received constructive crititsm from the other participants which provided valuable feedback about their session in a safe environment.
The sessions were Monday afternoon, Wednesday morning and Friday, so that time was left between session 2 and 3 for participants to devise their nanoteach.
Three College librarians: Murray Edwards, Lucy Cavendish (at the time of the course, now Clare College) and St John’s One Departmental librarian: Medical Library With additional contributions from colleagues from English Faculty, Wolfson College, Lucy Cavendish College
All organisers and contributors were experienced teaching librarians, but with varying levels of experience and in different environments (Ryan – outreach: public and schools), Isla: academic and NHS, Catherine: academic and myself: academic and NHS
1 course organiser Level 3 Award in Education & Training (previously known as PTTLS) one contributor was qualified teacher
Teaching increasingly part of librarians role & Improve employability and professional relevance
Many librarians already have significant teaching skills, and some have teaching qualifications, but, just as many have a need to gain skills to improve their employability and professional relevance.
This coupled with some librarians lacking confidence/expertise in teaching
Budget (staying static or decreasing) & time constraints
In Cambridge I saw teaching as a recognised training need from Cambridge Librarians in Training surveys (in my role of Chair of the Librarians in Training Group – where we organise library training for Cambridge librarians as a whole)
I was also inspired by Sara Cohen’ LILAC presentation: The missing link: librarians and the teaching identity? When I last came to LILAC in 2012
need slideshare reference at end for Sarah Cohen talk
(ik - unless you’ve got teaching images you prefer, I thought I’d use twitter anon eggs - could be anyone! – loving the eggs Catherine KP)
Any member of library staff in University of Cambridge who was already teaching, or was about to start teaching college - multidisciplinary with predominant, but not exclusive, focus on undergraduates departmental - subject specialism with predominant, but not exclusive, focus on postgraduates university library - multidisciplinary Teaching who? anyone - including librarian colleagues
Introduction: emphasis on peer support, interactive sessions, no one is an expert, everyone asked to contribute. Learning aims and objectives for the course. Expect learning to continue after the course. Suggested attendees set up as buddies for future constructive feedback.
Evaluated attendees confidence levels using string icebreaker activity - chose position on a piece of string. This was then marked on a 1-25 scale.
Presenter (Libby) who was experienced teaching librarian and qualified teacher: used a story technique developed by English Faculty Library (also being presented at LILAC) to identify who our students are, what their skills are, and what we should teach them Matching skills to information literacy theories was mentioned, and references to further info given, but no time for detail: SCONUL 7 Pillars, ANCIL, CILIP IL Framework (reference on last slide)
Learning styles - short session to demonstrate Honey & Mumford’s learning styles. Main message was that we should use a mixture of learning styles in teaching to suit all students.
Lesson planning: Stressed importance of having plan to ensure all elements of session though through in advance. Covered learning aims & objectives (SMART objectives), advantages and disadvantages of different teaching methods (lectures, demos, group work etc), methods for assessing learning. HOMEWORK (optional) to draft a lesson plan
Reflective practice: introduced by asking participants to reflect on sessions during the day and different speakers. Participants liked having variety of speakers and particularly liked interactive story technique.
At end of Session 1 participants had requested an activity audit of the teaching taking place in the participants’ libraries. This was carried out at start of Session 2. Outcome reflected great variety of teaching activities taking place.
Handouts as teaching resources: tips and principles of design
Principles of constructive feedback were described, and practiced (we’re often our own worst critic, so sometimes need practice in praise and also constructive feedback)
Demo teaching session given including good and bad elements, and participants were asked to give feedback on feedback forms: 3 positive points, 3 developmental points and 3 aspects to take away from the session
Avoiding disasters. Guest speaker (Meg Westbury). Covered what might go wrong and how to prepare for this. Covered two elements: technology and people,
Nanoteach. Ran in two half-day sessions and participants attended 1 half-day only. This was complicated to arrange! Participants could choose their own subject Each participant 30 mins total : 5 mins set up and say who audience was, 15 mins teaching, 5 mins pack up while audience completed feedback forms (peer review), 5 mins for participant to reflect on their own performance. (self review)
How confident are you now? Participants added mark on certificate. Certificates were produced - showing change in level of confidence.
Follow-up online survey sent 7 months after course to investigate if participant had been teaching, if they had changed their teaching as result of the course, barriers to teaching, & how confident they now felt about teaching
3rd measure of confidence
Met for a lunchtime discussion: presented a summary of the survey results and then participants discussed successes & challenges since the course
Used confidence levels before, just after and 7 months later to measure the impact of the course
Most important was the evidence of improvement in confidence if participants started with low or no confidence.
where people had little or no improvement in confidence, it was because of lack of opportunity to practice - there’s only so much a course can do, after all.
May demonstrate that we should promote the course strongly to the less confident teachers as they will get the most out of it. But the whole group benefits from having a range of teaching experience on the course.
More confident teachers - still gain tips, ideas, chance for reflective practice, plus networking, mentoring
The course allowed everyone to gain an ongoing development of teaching skills
These are comments from the last online survey
We hadn’t envisaged giving feedback as course leaders preferring the participants did that via peer review - however it was requested, so we will include this next time
re-runnning course. What we will do differently: feedback on nanoteach from facilitator/experienced teacher
observe teaching session during term : people have to be teaching in some form in the next term. This is not in our control but important. Course is not just professional development it is about developing skills
We have talked about requiring attendees to commit to a reviewed teaching session after the course - this should ensure that those attending course will be teaching in the near future. The course is very practical and aimed at those who will be applying their teaching skills.
advanced strand for team teaching alongside basic programme Possibly link this teaching course with joint development of shared information skills courses
regional - Require more resourcing and planning for nanoteach – feasibility/capacity? We have been asked to do this but don’t think we can develop it at this time.
Brought out ideas for common slides across libraries - work together to provide common content whilst allowing individuality
Peer supported learning development of teaching skills – a Cambridge collaboration - Kirstie Preest, Isla Kuhn, Catherine Reid & Ryan Cronin
Peer Supported Learning : development of Teaching Skills
a Cambridge Collaboration
Kirstie Preest, Isla Kuhn, Catherine Reid, Ryan Cronin
University of Cambridge
LILAC March 2015
What we did?
• Developed an in-house course which facilitated sharing of underlying
teaching theory and demonstrations of best practice to aid delivery of
information literacy sessions
• 3 half-day sessions over a week in summer vacation
• Attendees were encouraged to develop skills through their own reflection
and by receiving constructive criticism after delivering a “nanoteach”
session to their peers
Who ran the course?
St John's College, Cambridge,
chapel court 01 by Sailko is
licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Murray Edwards College Library
Lucy Cavendish College Library
Where the need came from?
Session 3 (nano teach)
● Peer review
● Self review
● How confident are you now?
7 months later
● Brown Bag lunch
● Successes and challenges
How we measured impact
Self-rating of confidence:
Pre, Post and 7 months
Changes in confidence level: summary
If you started with high confidence, you stayed confident
4.6% average improvement from start to 7 months later
If you started with middling confidence, your confidence improved
26% average improvement from start to 7 months later
If you started with low confidence, your confidence improved massively
328% average improvement from start to 7 months later
Did anything change?
every time I have to teach/present, I remember about the course
(especially the nano-teach session) and I say to myself:
"I can do it - and do it properly!".
Which is definitely a long-term increase in confidence.
The structure of the portfolio
course was roughly the same as
ever, but I added a powerpoint
presentation and an activity for
Yes! The course gave me the confidence
to really focus on what I needed to
say at the points where I had the
opportunity, and thus to leave out
what would only become relevant
I prepared handouts with information to take
away. I also thought more about students with
different abilities eg. printing handouts on
different colour paper
I used the mini teach I delivered at the
training last year to help me plan my MSt
eresources session - and ensuring I got
the students involved in the session.
Reflection: what participants suggested
● Provide constructive feedback ourselves for participants
● more time for planning nanoteach
● less post-it notes!
● Include more discussion time for participants to
● Summer 2015
○ re-run course (with peer reviewed real-life teaching)
● development of shared teaching resources
● Encourage staff to gain formal teaching accreditation
● Run programme at regional level?
Kirstie Preest, Murray Edwards College @kirstiewales
http://seshatscribe.blogspot.co.uk/ for blog posts on this course
Isla Kuhn, Medical Library @ilk21
Catherine Reid, Clare College @CatherineAReid
Ryan Cronin, St John’s College
With thanks to: Jo Harcus, Lucy Cavendish College; Libby Tilley, English
Faculty Library; and Meg Westbury, Wolfson College
Cohen, S. (2012), The missing link: librarians and the teaching identity . Presentation at
LILAC 2012 http://www.slideshare.net/infolit_group/cohen [Accessed: 7th April 2015]
Secker, J. and Coonan, E. (2014) A New Curriculum for Information Literacy. Available at:
http://newcurriculum.wordpress.com/ [Accessed: 7th April 2015]
Tilley, L. and Murphy, H., University of Cambridge (2015), Let me tell you a
story….Presentation at LILAC 2015, 9th April 2015
http://www.lilacconference.com/WP/programme/abstracts-day-2#tilley [Accessed: 7th April