Reflections on class #2

(For whatever reason, I have a much harder time coming up with a smooth introduction for a blog post about class than one about the readings. So apologies for the abruptness.)

Something that really captured my attention in class this week was our discussion of “defining learner-centered” in libraries, most especially in regards to being culturally sensitive. I’m always really interested in discussing learner-centered environments when it comes to libraries. One of my really good friends is Russian; he was born there and moved here when he was 12. Hanging around him was one of the first times I really ever experienced cultural differences. For instance, he told me you don’t make eye contact in the metro in Russia and that no one smiles at one another out in public because smiles are meant for friends, not someone you pass on the sidewalk. It really unnerved him that people do that here. One thing that always struck me was that saying ‘thank you’ too many times in Russia is just considered kind of annoying, not polite. So if he already told you thank you once (in the time he was with you), he isn’t going to do it again. To some, it comes off as rude, when he doesn’t mean it that way at all. (Although now that he’s lived here ten or so years, he’s started to, because he realized that in American culture, we value it much more than they do in Russian culture.)  I think as librarians, we always have to be sensitive to differences in culture. Kristin brought up the story of the security guards in the library scaring some of the patrons because in their country, people in uniform were to be feared, and it just demonstrates that we have to be sensitive to cultural differences so that we can give patrons the most comfortable time we can while they’re in the library.

Looking at different screencasts was very helpful as well. Seeing examples of what to do (and consequently what not to do) is always a good thing when you’re planning to make something of the same. Some of the things we discussed we knew from the readings, but I learned some new things as well. For instance, the context component was not something I had really thought of before in terms of screencasts. Now that I’m planning my own, I think about how I can connect what I’m trying to explain to prior knowledge and state explicitly what problem this solves for the person watching the screencast. I also liked the “practice hospitality” component; I think it’ll help me sound much more natural and comfortable if I “pretend” to explain it to someone I know. At any rate, it gave us some important tips.

So onwards to making the screencast! (Actually I let this sit in my drafts for a week, so my screencast is done, but…you get the point.)

(As a sidenote, I’d also like to add that I’m glad for the clarification about fixed vs. growth mindset because I had the wrong idea about them. I assumed that it was talking about talent and intelligence and whether they were static or could grow, but rather, it was talking about what we perceive about ourselves. One of my classmates brought up an interesting point when she said that she has a growth mindset about others but a fixed mindset about herself, and I am absolutely the same way.)

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