Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Teaching "naked" - scary but liberating

I taught a course on "Library Progams and Services for Children" at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies this past spring. Although it wasn't my first teaching experience - I've also taught "Storytelling" for the same school - it was challenging in that I wanted to make sure that I fully imparted, in as coherent a manner as possible, all the huge amount of information on this very large, important, and ever-changing subject. As a Senior Children's Librarian, this is what I do for a living, after all! How could I make it both understandable and dynamic?

As this was my first time teaching the course, I turned to that favorite crutch of professors everywhere - the Powerpoint presentation. It did help me organize and deliver my material. It did NOT make for dynamic classes! Oh sure, we did have class discussions, special guests, student presentations, and so forth - but there wasn't a heck of a lot of give-and-take throughout the quarter.

I'll be teaching "Storytelling" (it's actually a course on children's library programming, from baby/toddler storytimes to puppet shows to book clubs) next spring (if UCLA doesn't simple shrivel up and die in the meantime), and I will not be showing a single slide. And if I ever teach a course on Children's Services again, I will give students access to the Powerpoint presentation on the class wiki but will NOT numb their brains with a hundred bullet points during class.

Here's a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education on what is hopefully a trend toward "naked" teaching.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more; I am the original naked teacher.