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Poster LILAC 2017: International students in the information literacy classroom

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Laura Lay

on 8 April 2017

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Transcript of Poster LILAC 2017: International students in the information literacy classroom

International students in the information literacy classroom
What really works?
Laura Lay

Falmouth University
& University of Exeter Cornwall Campus
Share your thoughts here
Themes in the literature
About the research
This research forms the dissertation for the MA Information & Library Studies at Aberystwyth University. It is a qualitative study using an Expanded Critical Incident Approach (Hughes, 2012). Seven UK librarians who regularly teach international students were selected using snowball sampling. They were interviewed about a recent information literacy session (the critical incident), probing not just the successful and unsuccessful elements of the session but their own context and reflections. Pseudonyms have been used. Constant comparative analysis is being carried out from which the findings are emerging.
Emerging Findings
Reflective Questions
Gaps in the literature
When you are planning to teach international students what assumptions do you make?

How is this influencing what and how you decide to teach?
Where is your practice on the line?
Where would you like it to be? How are you going to get there?
How do you know when your teaching is a success?
Is this method appropriate in a diverse classroom?
click on the links to share your thoughts
The Exclusive Approach
What we believe ...
Language barriers
Need to learn new academic culture
Unfamiliarity with academic environment
Library anxiety
Technological challenges
What we do ...
International librarian
Special sessions for international students
Focus on plagiarism
Multilingual guides and tours
The Inclusive Approach
What we believe ...
"If we improve conditions for international students, we improve them for all learners"
What we do ...
Understand our own academic culture
Be explicit about our teaching methods and expectations
Understand students' different individual needs
Learn from EFL teaching methods.
Carroll (2014)
Ryan & Carroll (2005:10)
The Transcultural Approach
What we believe ...
"In truly internationalised and transcultural environments, everyone is 'international' and global knowledge and skills become available to all"
Ryan (2011:644)
What we do ...
Find out from students what and how they want to learn
See our learning culture as just one example
Learn about other academic cultures from students
Conteh-Morgan (2004:8)
Different approaches to some shared experiences in the diverse classroom
A quiet classroom
Communicating complex ideas
Questions at the end
Is this working?
Developing as a teacher
"they're just staring at me ... and I'm just talking at them senselessly."
Clare, Anna & Bethan believe that student talk is important so they:
Have small group discussions to reduce anxiety before feeding back to the class
Explain to students the value of learning from their peers through discussion
Pause. Wait. Allow time for students to formulate responses

Fiona and Guy embrace the quiet classroom, providing solo activities and checking understanding through observation rather than question and answer.
"there are moments when I explicitly think, is the communication happening? Am I doing this well enough?"
Fiona, Clare & Anna find complex ideas require more communication effort. Combined with a concern that the teacher mustn't talk too much these strategies are employed:
Anna repeats the abstract concept through different means - visual, metaphor and example.
Clare provides material in advance so class time is for 'higher level thinking' rather than 'word understanding'.
Fiona prepares in advance a clear explanation of any difficult concepts.

Eve finds it frustrating that students form a queue at the end to ask questions. Why do they do this when I gave them lots of opportunity to ask earlier? Guy identifies it as a sign of motivated learners, it makes him feel positive about his teaching. Bethan has recognised that this is what students want and so has created time in her plan for one to one questions at the end and encourages students to take up the opportunity.
"I ended with a queue of 6 students. To ask me questions."
"I was just so relieved that they'd seemed interested. That they'd taken part."
Participants want students to be 'engaged'. To do this they must talk, make eye contact, ask and answer questions, and be willing to interrupt. Is this realistic? Are some of these behaviours rooted in our academic culture? Do we need to explain them to students? Do they demonstrate that learning is happening or just make us feel better?

Some novel ways to learn about teaching international students:
Bethan reflected on her experience of being a student alongside international students.
Diane and Fiona learn from conversations with international faculty
Bethan uses classroom discussion as an opportunity to learn from international students.
Fiona's teaching was observed by non-native English speakers.
Guy observed English for Academic Purposes teaching.
Diane participates in a regional community of practice.

"Maybe I just need more of an understanding of where some of these students are coming from and what they're used to."
Lots of advice on teaching international students in the IL classroom, but little evidence of what librarians actually do.
Case studies are limited to international-only environments or interventions. This research addresses what happens in the mixed classroom.
If librarians base their practice in experience rather than theory , there is value in sharing what they have learned from that experience.
(Corrall & Bewick 2010:160)
Thanks to the participants for their time and contributions.
Carroll, J. (2015) Tools for teaching in an educationally mobile world. London: Routledge.

Corrall, S. and Bewick, L. (2010) ‘Developing librarians as teachers: A study of their pedagogical knowledge’, Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 42(2), pp. 97–110. doi: 10.1177/0961000610361419.

Conteh-Morgan, M. (2004) ‘Journey with new maps : adjusting mental models and rethinking instruction to language minority students’, in Thompson, H. (ed.) Learning to make a difference: Proceedings of the 11th National Conference of the Association of College and Research Libraries April 10 - 13. Charlotte, North Carolina. Available at: http://www.ala.org/sites/ala.org.acrl/files/content/conferences/pdf/conteh-morgan.PDF (Accessed: 25 October 2016).

Hughes H. (2012) 'An expanded critical incident approach for exploring information use and learning' Library & Information Research 36(112) pp.72-95

Ryan, J. (2011) ‘Teaching and learning for international students: towards a transcultural approach’, Teachers and Teaching, 17(6), pp. 631–648. doi: 10.1080/13540602.2011.625138.

Ryan, J. and Carroll. J. (2005) ‘“Canaries in the Coalmine”: international students in Western Universities’, in Carroll, J. and Ryan, J. (eds) Teaching international students: improving learning for all. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 3–10.

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