Exploration of Academic Teaching Librarians Beliefs about Undergraduate Instruction, Student Learning, and Teaching Methods at Texas Doctoral Universities
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Teaching librarians are educators within higher education contexts. Despite their role in undergraduate student learning, little is known about the beliefs teaching librarians hold about teaching and learning and how those beliefs influence their teaching methods. To contribute to this research gap, this dissertation explores the teaching philosophies of teaching librarians at doctoral universities with very high research activity in Texas. I used a case study research design to conduct 13 interviews with teaching librarians from three institutions. This dissertation consists of three articles; each article focuses on a specific aspect of librarians teaching philosophies: beliefs about teaching, beliefs about learning, and how beliefs influence teaching methods. The first article explores teaching librarians beliefs about teaching. Three primary beliefs emerged from the data: the belief in the importance of understanding students unique learning needs, the belief in the importance of understanding students affective dimensions of learning, and the belief in the importance of respecting the knowledge and experiences students bring to the teaching interaction. These beliefs highlight how teaching librarians have a student-centered approach to teaching. The second article explores teaching librarians beliefs about learning. First, teaching librarians discussed that undergraduate students learn in a variety of ways. Second, teaching librarians believed that the learning process entails students interacting with others, hands-on practice, and student reflection. Finally, in order to learn, teaching librarians mentioned that students need to see the applicability of the content and have their emotional needs met. The third article explores how teaching librarians beliefs about teaching and learning influenced their teaching methods. The teaching methods used by teaching librarians aligned with three themes: engaging students in the teaching interaction, connecting information literacy to the real world, and creating a supportive atmosphere. Together these findings highlight the importance that teaching librarians place on understanding the learner. Differences in teaching librarians beliefs were found across the three institutions, which suggests institutional culture influences beliefs. These findings have implications for acknowledging the influence of professional guiding documents, developing a librarys instructional culture, and creating professional development opportunities for teaching librarians.
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