So... lots of waffle in the last few posts about the talk I gave at LILAC recently! I'll try and pull it all together here.
I talked about Signature Pedagogies (a quick summary of what they are) and how I think we had quite a poor one in IL instruction - I saw the same things cropping up in lots of different places, which didn't really match what I felt about information literacy, or about why / how we should teach. But a lot of consistency in what I did see, so we probably had a vague signature pedagogy for people who taught information skills in libraries. More recently I think that's been changing, but very slowly and patchily - as newer definitions of IL have been accepted, as ideas like critical librarianship have become more mainstream, I think a newer signature pedagogy is probably developing, but I'm not really sure. I don't think it helps that when we go to conferences, webinars, etc., there is a lot of surface level things going on - people show how they teach, tools they might use, a particular approach that worked for them, and people copy that. Occasionally people talk about values, beliefs about teaching and learning, etc., but less so than the "surface level" stuff. Rarely do the two explicitly mix, where we say "I teach like this, because I believe in that". So we get a bit of the deeper level stuff spreading through librarianship, but much more of the "oh, a shiny thing to try" that doesn't get past the surface level - so you get a disconnect between how people teach and what they are really trying to achieve, which is why I suspect it's taking a while to shift to that "newer" signature pedagogy I'm seeing bits of these days.
It was only a 20 minute talk, but I asked a few questions during my talk. I found it interesting that the things people say were important in what they were trying to achieve in their teaching was a mix of very practical, skills based stuff, as well as what I think we're probably moving towards, of things like "critical thinking". So maybe we are part-way between two ideas of what we're there for at the moment? Are we there to impart a few basic skills (how to find stuff?) that are "absolute" in some way, or is what we are doing more uncertain, more contextual to the learner, about helping them to be the best they can through questioning, through critical thinking, etc?
It was interesting that people struggled to link what they were trying to achieve to their acts of teaching, which reinforces my suspicion that one of the brakes on a new signature pedagogy emerging is that people just don't have the time, space, or support to reflect upon their values and how they come out in their teaching.
Finally, when I asked people to think about what we could do as a profession to address these things, we got a set of suggestions that seem to support each other - suggesting that perhaps some sort of national peer support / community of practice could help one to emerge. That might be through a course / reflection, or a reflective portfolio, or something else, but somewhere where we could have non-judgemental, supportive discussions, especially around the "difficult" questions that we've not addressed properly as a profession previously.
I have pondered running courses in teaching for librarians previously (I've done 1 day things, especially on particular approaches to teaching, but nothing more broad brush), but perhaps now is the time to think about something bigger? Maybe linked to an ongoing community of practice and peer support for a reflective portfolio? Preferably through ILG, but it doesn't need to be I suppose.