Background of Library IL skills provision at Plymouth, esp. to PBS pre-sessional students. Talk about the type of sessions we offered in the past (Summer School), provided by Info Specialists that were available in the Summer – not necessarily versed in the needs on international students. Difficulties when don’t know the culture, language, etc of students or the tutors very well. Also, with increasing numbers of international students (esp. Chinese within the Business Sch) it was becoming unsustainable to offer Library IL sessions in the same way. Rarely got any feedback from tutors. Had the session been useful, did the students understand? Were they confident? We felt we were working in a bubble and were just a session that was crossed off the ‘must do’ list!
Outline the idea of the ‘teach the teacher’ proposal and contacting the Director of the ELC – responsible for the pre-sessional summer sch. Already had good relationship with ELC colleagues and wanted to build on this but in a collaborative and inclusive way. Arranged meetings to discuss the proposal and our ideas and how this might work. Would the academic tutors be happy to take on basic levels of library IL skills training? Would they feel that we were ‘passing the buck’? Wanted to be positive and highlight how tutors would be much better and could provide support in a timely, appropriate way – i.e build confidence, use in classroom sessions as and when suited their session plans, etc., but also to utilise the language skills as experts in TEFL.
An overview of the type of materials we produced to support the tutors. Talk a little bit about the various formats used, how it was made available, etc. Jargon buster and library film/photostory – these type of materials were produced to help with English learning as well as with IL skills. Can be used in the classroom to impart library skills info but also to teach them the functional language/specialist terminology they will need to cope in the library when studying here, e.g. one of the tutors said after the training session that she was going to use the Photostory film with the commentary for pair work. The students would work through together first to make sure they understood all the words. They would then have to provide their own commentary to the pictures in the film to explain it to their partner. Dual purpose to the approach – learning about the facilities in the library and practising their listening/reading and speaking skills.
Bringing the tutors over to the Library for a Welcome and training session. An opportunity to give some background on what we have done before, why we wish to make changes, and how we can work together to improve the international student experience as ‘pre-sessionals’ before starting on their UG programme. Outlined the basic IL skills required and the materials produced for the tutors/students. Opportunity in this session to ask questions, try out quizzes and online tutorials. Also an opportunity to put names to faces (for us) and for the tutors to know who to come back to for further support, problems, etc. A good relationship building exercise for both sides and helped to allay any fears or concerns and to build up enthusiasm – although tutors came to session with a positive outlook. Tutors wanted this to work and were appreciative and welcoming of the support materials designed.
Just expand and reiterate the points shown here.
Explanation of the MonkeySurvey/email responses – mostly positive and /or constructive criticism
A few issues raised which were very useful for future developments.
From the feedback receiving, discussion with academic tutors and between myself and Julie Moody there are various things we have learnt/areas to improve. Sharing ideas and working collaboratively has been a good experience. Skills brought from both sides. Agreement that international students cannot manage with minimal support (unlike UK nationals). A leap of faith for information specialists – information literacy has always been our role – now relying on academic tutors to provideIs not the easy option for us – very time consuming producing new, up-to-date, interesting and workable online materialsNeed to monitor, constantly promote and provide updates/refresher session – easier said than done when everyone is busyCollaboration/feedback important – tutors and students must feel included – not just a decree from the LibraryPlanning ahead
Highlight that we want (and need) to continue to use the approach for the future. Has worked quite well and the academic tutors have been positive and supportive – can see that they are better placed and skilled to impart basic IL skills. Much more flexibility than the library staff have. However, for it to work fully and effectively, better road testing, focus groups (involving international students), should be part of our plan. Keeping the support materials up-to-date, interesting, fun and relevant is also time consuming. Need to really put processes in place to cater for this. Also, visibility could be better. Use of a dedicated webpage, use of our LibGuides?? Would like to consider better support for International students going straight into degree UG & PG programmes. Although language skills better they still struggle. What support and how it is offered needs consideration – working with programme leaders. Drop in sessions? Workshops?
Southam & Moody - International Students: a collaborative approach to teaching IL skills
A collaborative approach to teaching information literacy skills to new international students Amanda Southam & Julie Moody LILAC 2013
International students at Plymouth Library IL skills provision Growing student numbers Sustainability IL effectiveness versus cultural/language differences Relationships and on-going communication Image courtesy of Nuchylee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net Lilac 2013
Liaison with academic staff Approaching IL in a different way ‘Teach the teacher’ proposal Positive response from tutors Specialists – TEFL See their students regularly Can build up a good relationshipImage courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net Confidence and support Lilac 2013
Design andpreparation ofLibrary supportmaterials Library orientation tour/quiz Online ‘jargon buster’ Interactive library tour Short online tutorials Short online support guides Library film(s) / Photostory How to … Where do I? … How can I? … YouTube clips Lilac 2013
Advantages to tutors Two key Library contacts in case of queries or problems Materials always available – in and out of classroom Can use materials as and when appropriate Can incorporate into session plans Dual purpose of library materials – IL and English skills Can encourage students to work in groups or independently Gives tutors better information literacy skills!? Could collaborate with views and ideas for improvement Lilac 2013
Advantages for Information Specialists Utilising the skills of our international tutors – they are the teaching and language specialists Frees up our time to design/implement IL support materials Cannot sustain quantity (student numbers) but can improve quality (tutors) Build up good collaborative alliances with our academic partners Proactive approach to supporting international students and tutors Lilac 2013
What have we learnt?• Working with our academic partners and sharing ideas has been very beneficial – hopefully for both sides!• International students DO need more targeted support• Sharing knowledge and relinquishing control takes trust and faith in your colleagues• Keeping a range of materials relevant and up-to-date is time consuming• Is not a perfect solution – need to monitor• The importance of getting constructive, regular feedback from tutors and students• Planning ahead to organise tutor training, and gathering survey feedback Image courtesy of Naypong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net• Empowering others ultimately helps us! Lilac 2013
The future for collaborative working andinternational student support Sustainability – need this approach to work Academic managers and tutors supportive of collaborative working Better and on-going ‘road testing’ required Possible use of focus groups / online surveys to gather feedback from tutors and students Better visibility of IL materials (LibGuides, dedicated webpage?) Moving beyond pre-sessional international students? Lilac 2013
Any views or ideas fromthe audience?Thank you! Lilac 2013