Online Northwest 2010: What TV chefs can teach librarians about presentation style

Q&A with Anna Johnson…

Students don’t choose to attend the library session, unlike TV viewers who choose to watch the show.  Anna suggests trying to engage/make a connection–but acknowledges that it’s true, if students really don’t want to be there, it all breaks down.

Often don’t know knowledge base of crowd, and have to back up and revise plan.  Anna:  we have to own our structure, don’t let ourselves get derailed in teaching.  If it’s not what you plan to do but there’s a need for them to learn a skill, refer them to another source for the knowledge.  (“For the recipe…”)

Kate G. adds:  use a quick 3-point scale surveymonkey survey to find out what students know coming in.  If instructor is on board…

Confidence & energy are drivers for enthusiasm–we need to own our expertise and know the contribution we make is valuable.

Comment:  run the classroom, be confident, don’t wait for students to respond to questions, but call on them for thoughts and contributions.

Comment:  viewers don’t develop a relationship/liking for TV chefs on one viewing, or once a term etc.  Important for librarians to get into the classroom and be with users in many situations.  Stay in front of faculty and users.

Comment:  don’t be concerned with being super-serious and covering every. bit. of ground.  This presentation is fun and engaging b/c of the show clips.  Librarian showed movie clips in a research methods session on film.

Comment:  you can almost always find commentary on The Simpsons, on any issue…

Comment:  crash & burn phenomenon:  you think you’re funny/engaging, class is deadpan.  Teaching persona isn’t completely aligned with your own personality–it’s a little smilier, a little louder, etc…  Laugh off failures, move on.  Be sure that something will always go wrong with technology.  It’s a good time to tell a story…

Comment:  idea of going into a presentation wanting to be fun to watch.  Know the material, be sure of expertise–then think about being engaging, entertaining, someone users want to watch.  What makes people fun to watch?  Baby steps, Anna cautions!  Anna has used stuffed animals for very flat classes–“catch the monkey” to make students respond/answer questions.

Question: how do you evaluate if they’re learning what you’re teaching?  Anna:  Food TV analogy, Rachael Ray doesn’t care if you make the 30-minute meal soon, but she wants you to make it, sells you on it.  We want to end with where to get more help, like the “Find the Recipe” formula.  If they’re interested, and they get stuck, they’ll come back for more help.  If they’re not interested, can’t win.  Goal is to get them interested in the class.

Question:  what about flow?  TV shows recap constantly b/c of commercial breaks.  Every 10 minutes, a shift in gears and a recap of what we’ve done and what happens next.  Will minimize sleeping/texting/etc.  Anna has students do jumping jacks sometimes.  Don’t let yourself lose the flow–you have to own your pacing & structure.

Alton Brown


One thought on “Online Northwest 2010: What TV chefs can teach librarians about presentation style

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