“Hey, student responsibility is one thing, but…”
Hey, student responsibility is one thing, but…
After reading my Microblog on giving students responsibility, a librarian friend of mine rightly questioned what I wrote. As is explained in my colleague’s e-mail:
I read your micro blog on giving students responsibility, and you had a student teach library research. I’m a little torn about this. While I know what you’re doing with students pedagogically, I still have this niggling feeling about letting students teach library skills…
I agree with my friend. An undergraduate is not qualified to teach research methodology.
The miscommunication arose from the fact that my Microblog is designed to record on-going thoughts and reflections; not polished writing. The polished writing is found in Etena Sacca-vajjena and other places. In fact, most of my writing in the Microblog is little more than first draft quality. As a result, certain details get left out. Sometimes, those details are important. In this case, I should have provided more details about the specifics of the assignment for which my student was responsible.
Although my student was responsible for having his colleagues learn w to use Schoolcraft College’s on-line databases, his strategy for doing this was to send students to talk to our reference librarians.
Because I am not a trained librarian, I do not feel qualified to give students much direction in using the databases. Therefore, when I teach my introduction to the library lesson, I do what my student did–send folk to the librarian.
Dialogue is Important
I am surprised at how seldom we are willing to ask questions when we don’t understand something or when we want further explanation. Giving someone the benefit of the doubt promotes dialogue and goes a long way toward understanding.
In this case, my librarian friend was able to voice a legitimate concern about what I had written knowing that I would welcome the question. My friend gave me the opportunity to either explain/clarify my position–or to modify my position. Part of the reason I blog is to get feedback so that I can clarify and improve my thinking. Comments and questions push my thinking forward.
As part of my personal response to “Stress! What Stress?” I spent this evening doing some genealogical work; something I have not done in a while. Fortunately, Augustus Mudge (second cousin give times removed) decided to apply for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution. Because we share relatives, I was able to add information about some of my great grandparents. This was a great discovery.
Doing research makes me a better teacher. It is amazing just how long it took me to process this document.
Thank you Karen Shields Finlayson for bringing this to my attention; especially during a semester when I have been teaching the Battle of Thermopylae. I can’t wait to share with my ancient world history students.