Refashioning the Compass

Immersion is so named for a reason. You think, eat, and dream instruction for 5 days. For the past two nights, I have had dreams about instruction or Immersion. Not stressful dreams, just dreams in which I am doing tasks. I do not wake up exhausted. I am excited and ready to learn something new.

Many if the things we do during Immersion are learning by doing. We are taught a process by completing that process ourselves. The methods and processes help us to learn about ourselves, what our biases are, and how other people learn, to help us better serve our students. Many times we are asked to re-examine, rethink, and consider things we have always thought to be true. I love it. I lurve it, in fact.

I suppose this is why some of the resistance of my peers, granted a small number, to keeping the mind open bothers me so profoundly. I know I have my own prejudices. Cluetrain, the library is not mine, and people repurposing our spaces. These things I know in my heart to be true for me. I try hard to not flaunt my own ignorance and if I am going to flaunt my beliefs, I am certain that I will have to defend them. It is right and just that we be called into account for our beliefs, whatever they may be. That is one of the foundations of faith.

It is hard for me to consider my students with cynicism and distrust. They are adults, some literally and some who are just finding their way, but they are adults none the less. We must take care to treat them as such and consider their need for different learning styles and choices when we plan for our classes.

As an instructor, the hardest thing for me is to address learning styles that are not my own. I have to remind myself to think outside of my box. I need the reminder, but I do it. I teach people. I think about what they may need. I try to give them choices in class. “What do you want to leave here knowing how to do?” I tell them what my plans are for them and then ask then what their plan is for me.

I am not making the announcement that I do this always. I fall into ruts like everyone else, but as soon as I realize my complacency, I try to check myself.

That is what I think Immersion is doing for us. It is creating a compass outside of our own understanding by which we can find our way. We are accountable, as instructors, to this learning community at this conference. We must answer for our practices, both good and bad, and defend them against criticism or reframe them with new modes of understanding.

–Jane, which way to a more open library?