Learner-Centered Techniques for Teaching Academic Libraries

CHICAGO – When you’re alone in front of the class, mastering your content is just the first step. Knowing how to engage students in a way that fosters “ownership” ensures that learning is both active and sustained. In his new guide “Practical University Library Teaching: Learner-Centered Techniques”, published by ALA Editions, Jo Angela Oehrli shares techniques proven and perfected through 20 years of practice in traditional and non-traditional contexts. Drawing on educational research, she applies these techniques to learner-centered teaching of information literacy topics. In this book, organized for quick access to techniques where you need them, you will learn:

  • how to use the guiding principles to shape your personal teaching philosophy;
  • ways to address the unequal power dynamics of a classroom;
  • 5 basic questions to guide your preparation for a course;
  • pointers to communicate with students in the language of the ACRL framework;
  • simple and subtle ways to build relationships with students;
  • real-world applications of educational research concepts such as Keller’s ARCS theory of motivation;
  • metacognitive techniques that promote student ownership of learning;
  • other tips for asking good discussion questions and how to use the brainstorming/pairing/sharing method to encourage discussion;
  • techniques to defuse distraction in the classroom through proximity, pivoting and pausing; and
  • interactive methods to uncover students’ prior knowledge in research.

Oehrli is a learning librarian at the University of Michigan‒Ann Arbor Libraries, where she teaches in individual, small group, and large class settings. A former high school and college teacher, she was an adjunct lecturer at the University of Michigan School of Information and undergraduate courses at the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. In 2017, she won the ALA Library Instruction Round Table Librarian Recognition Award and the University of Michigan Academic Librarian Recognition Award. Oehrli is chairman of the LOEX board of directors from 2021 to 2023.

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