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Before teachers can begin to convey the content of their classes, they first have to grab their students’ attention and motivate them. Students are more willing to learn if they have a big-picture context of why this material is important to them.

Sarah Kaip addresses this issue in, “It’s not just for term papers,” (page 496). While many of us are happy if we can tailor an instruction session to a class assignment rather than a shotgun overview of the library, Sarah takes this idea a step farther. She asks students in her two-credit, “Information Literacy” class to “solve” a personal problem. Students selected problems such as how to sell a home, coach hockey, and deal with prostate cancer.

With this assignment, students were meaningfully involved with identifying, selecting, and critically evaluating information. They should have developed skills that will serve them well long after they graduate.

Kenneth Fink’s experience as a corporate trainer further reinforces the notion that adult learners want to know “why what we teach them is worth learning” and that “learning often happens in direct relationship to the amount of intellectual excitement created by the materials—and the instructor” (page 526).

Recognizing the importance of the instructor, Prisca Moore and Eugene Engeldinger describe a program at Carthage College whereby education majors are exposed to collaborative learning and ideas for integrating technology into the curriculum (page 522).

I hope these articles give you some ideas about teaching so that you can ensure that the teaching happening in your library is a meaningful learning experience that will stay with students past graduation.

—Mary Ellen K. Davis

Editor-in-chief,medavis@ala.org

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