Tutor profile: Cassandra O.
How did you come to learn and be interested in the Portuguese language?
I spent a year in Brazil as an exchange student right after high school. I had studied French and Spanish in high school but not Portuguese. When the offer came to live Brazil, I grabbed it. Adventure and new experiences were what I was seeking. After my year in Brazil, I knew that I wanted to study foreign languages in college. I searched for schools that offered Portuguese and decided upon the University of New Mexico. Studying many languages in college (Portuguese, Spanish, French, Latin, Old English, Russian, and German) gave me a wide variety of experiences, but I always have had a soft spot in my heart for the history of Brazil and the Portuguese language.
Subject: Library and Information Science
What do you think are the most important issues in library work today?
I believe that some of the most important issues facing library work today are marketing and showing value of the library and the librarian. As materials become more and more available digitally, and patrons expect those materials to be available to them in those ways, the costs tend to be higher. Budgets, however, seem to lower while costs increase. So, staying relevant, current, and dynamic becomes more and more difficult, while all the while even more important. Marketing the value of the library and the librarian also becomes more important. Librarians must market themselves in showing how they can provide valuable research, as well as access to important and relevant information to patrons that have access to much of the world at their fingertips.
What is your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy of teaching has evolved over many years of different teaching experiences. As I reflect on my views regarding teaching and learning, I believe my objectives as a teacher and librarian are to provide strong groundwork for lifelong learning, deliver positive and meaningful learning experiences, and be responsible for relevancy and honesty in my teaching and interactions. To accomplish this, I enjoy applying a wide variety of strategies with continual self-assessment. Understanding both the learning styles and cultural diversity of individual learners as well as a class helps me both design and tailor effective instruction by implementing appropriate inclusive strategies. Although students possess a variety of learning styles, I work to design my instruction so that I can incorporate a wide range of strategies, which can accommodate individual preferences, engage diverse learners, and help establish a respect for differing preferences and perspectives. I strive to plan and implement lessons that clearly identify the lesson objective, strategies for effective student engagement, and assessment options to measure student mastery. This helps me teach with relevance, clarity, and focus. And, I can use these strategies in face-to-face, blended, and online teaching environments. I have found that using these skills helps me when performing “just in time” instruction, primarily at the reference desk. Incorporating these skills and assessments allow me to aid the student, scholar, researcher, and/or professional in their research (or search), as a strategic examination of information and knowledge. Helping them to formulate their questions for research, deal with the complexities of research, and monitor the information gathered, allows for a more valuable experience and potentially more authority and knowledge in their research and work. I strongly believe that one can employ numerous avenues to accurately assess understanding of course content (or “just in time” needs) among diverse groups of learners. I have used various student-success assessments, such as Q&A, games, pre- and post-tests, rubrics, checklists, projects, performance checks, and presentations. I believe in constant assessment of myself as an instructor and librarian as well as my instructional materials and activities. Without assessing myself and my students, I am doing a disservice to the learner and their research. Sharing my enthusiasm for teaching, learning, reading, and research helps me to connect with students and faculty. As a result, teaching with relevancy, passion, empathy, and enthusiasm, effectively impacts my students, not only in the classroom, but also at the reference desk and online, hopefully helping them to find their passions and continue their journey as lifelong learners.
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