Competencies for YALSA and Reading

I’m going to start by addressing the competencies that YALSA provides since I find them very hopeful and that they resonate with what I’d like to do. In four out of the seven areas, Knowledge of Client Group, Administration, Access to Information and Services, my response is agreement along with yes, these are so important. In the other areas, there were some specific competencies that jumped out at me due to their language or their importance that I’m going to go into greater detail about.

The first area is Leadership and Professionalism, and equitable funding and staffing seems quite important to me especially in this difficult economic time, because without good resources things aren’t going to change. This is also one of the trickiest ones to put into practice since finding funding is a constant struggle for libraries. The other two that stuck in my mind for this section are 4 and 5:
4- Encourage young adults to become lifelong library users by helping them to discover what libraries offer, how to use library resources, and how libraries can assist them in actualizing their overall growth and development.
5- Develop and supervise formal youth participation, such as teen advisory groups, recruitment of teen volunteers, and opportunities for employment.
I feel both of these are key since they’re about helping young people become an active part of the library community. I just found the phrasing slightly awkward.

In the third area, Communication, Marketing and Outreach, I found so many things that I agree with but the three most important and urgent were being an advocate for youth, helping the youth space not be very separate from the main library and inclusion. Without these the library won’t be seen as a safe place for young people to want to spend their time.

The last area where a particular competence caught my attention was the fifth area, Knowledge of Materials, the fourth point about creating a broad selection of materials that are accessible to many learning styles and languages. This is so incredibly key and one that I worry about since it requires knowledge of what actually helps and makes a difference versus what seems like it should.

Overall I found reading through these inspiring and important to make a part of my professional life.

All the reading for this class comes from How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience and School and for this first reflection, I’m going to read the first two chapters.

At the beginning, I’m struck by how the authors are talking about the importance of neuroscience to better understanding how people learn. My father’s a psychiatrist and has lately been recommending some fascinating books on how the brain works. There’s so much we don’t really know and I think its wonderful that is acknowledged because it allows for more patience and thoughtfulness in terms of teaching. I find it hopeful that researchers have figured out ways to incorporate this new knowledge into teaching by paying attention to what students know and getting them involved. Its a difficult thing to get right, because every kind of knowledge can be approached from many ways.

As a student, I can recognize a bad teacher but its hard to know what would make them better. Since I will only know what would help me succeed but that wouldn’t hold true for everyone in a class. The power of being able to have in-depth knowledge and use it is I think one of the best teaching tools, but a hard one to make happen for every lesson.

Metacognition is one of those ideas that makes a huge amount of sense to me. I know whenever I’m stuck on a paper or an assignment, it always helps me to talk about it with someone. Then I can see where I need to go or what’s not making sense since I’m sharing my thought process. As a student, a way I’ve seen this brought into lessons is by sharing drafts of papers since the outside viewpoint can be incredibly helpful and everyone benefits.

I truly appreciate that this book states there is no best way to learn, this is something I’ve seen played out in discussions about how to teach and it worries me. I like the idea of saying, everything works and some things work better for some people than others. Don’t shut the door on any option.

Reading about experts and novices reminds me of the first major class at SI, 500, which tried to cover a little bit of everything that was taught at SI. It didn’t really work since there was just too much stuff that didn’t fit together, but we read a good article on experts and novices, from the start this chapter reminds me of it. My last technology class was SI 502, the core course and I found it useful, because the professor knew the class was full of novices so aimed it that way. As a librarian, I need to be able to use my expert knowledge of books and other resources to help novice readers and researchers. Understanding the differences between my thinking and theirs will help me do the most for them.

Adaptive expertise is a good way of talking about what being a novice and an expert actually means when dealing with a problem. 501 was a course where I ended up thinking about how to use my own knowledge of interpersonal relationships and how offices work in a specific context. I gained the most from it in terms of getting new tools for how to approach new problems and have tools I didn’t have before. Since I was able to acknowledge that I knew nothing about the modeling and interview tools we were using but understood the general idea of what we were trying to accomplish in 501.

What I find so interesting and the greatest challenge in terms of teaching is that being an expert is not the same as being an expert teacher. I appreciate that this book makes clear how wide that divide can be. I look forward to understanding more about how cognitive research can make me an effective librarian and teacher.

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