Team teaching is alive and well, and increasingly becoming the format for library instruction at the Weinberg Memorial Library. According to Betsey Moylan, Reference Librarian, it is definitely the only way to go and the most preferable library instruction format."
What is team teaching? Traditionally it has been defined as two professors being responsible for a given class but alternating lectures to that class with one instructor present at a time in the classroom. Here at the Weinberg Memorial Library, however, we are redefining that definition in some of our library instruction classes. Our library instruction policy requires that the professor who schedules a class be present during the instruction. This does not mean that they have to participate in the discussion of the materials reviewed, and some, for a wide variety of reasons, do not. Those that do, however, bring a new dimension and excitement to the library experience for the students.
Professor Betsey Moylan and Dr. Susan Trussler, Economics-Finance Department, have been team teaching library instruction for International Business for several years.. In a recent interview Dr. Trussler had these comments, "If the student thinks the faculty member is listening enough to participate in the discussion then maybe they should listen enough to participate. Also the librarian has not been in the course for the last few weeks, so how can she or he be expected to relate to something the students were discussing in a previous class? The faculty member can make that link and reinforce the utility of that material. Students have a tendency to view library instruction as separate, something not directly connected to course material. The faculty member is in the best position to make that connection and to make allusions to past or future class materials. They can also link those library resource materials to classroom discussions where students themselves have asked questions."
According to Katie Duke, coordinator of library instruction, "some faculty may not contribute because they think the library instructor may think it is intrusive into their area or feel like they are correcting what is being said instead of adding to it. Those who have overcome this hurdle have come to realize how much more enjoyable library instruction can be, and the students come out the winners."
Professor Moylan adds, "Faculty participation definitely reinforces what is presented, and the librarian knows right up front about the assignment, because the faculty member is there to answer any question."
Katie Duke has been encouraging University faculty not only to be active participants within the lecture, but also to meet with the library instructor prior to the library instruction for their classes to discuss the assignments and how they can be effectively covered.
Information is increasing so rapidly in today's world that helping our students get a working knowledge of the material in their fields of study is a challenge. This can be accomplished with librarians and faculty working together.