Pedagogy in library and information science programme in Nigeria.

Author:Mbagwu, Francisca Chinyeaka


Higher education institutions that run programmes in various parts of the world are established to produce intellectuals that are capable to search, discover and use the knowledge acquired effectively in every sphere of life. Hence Nigerian University Commission (1999) puts it that education for library and information science (LIS) professionals is expected to equip librarians with relevant theoretical knowledge, practical skills and techniques to develop and enhance job performance. Given that the level of one's job performance contributes immensely to the national development and drought on this aspect of life spells doom to the development of the entire society. In view this, it is also expected that university education and its mode of learning need to equip students with appropriate skills, knowledge that will prepare students for entry into a world of employment which is characterized by greater uncertainty, values and attributes to thrive in (Henard & Roseveare, 2012). Library being a barn of Information and knowledge, the Information managers should be equipped properly from these programmes being offered for the possible challenges of the "time". This should be achieved when proper education and training is given to the students of Library and Information Science in order to contribute effectively in workplaces without fear. No wonder Ferguson et al. (2017) reported that employers and government frown when students do not emerge with skills that are necessary in contemporary workplace. However, the management of library schools and educational administrators have not actually done much in the area of instructional methods cum teaching method that will make this expectation a reality, rather students in most cases perform poorly in their workplaces because they come out half-baked or unskilled in their supposedly area of specializations. Thus an indication that probably the management of the library schools is insensitive to the paradigm shift in the library and information science profession and choose teaching methods not beneficial to students and employers. This insensitivity and lackadaisical attitude has probably made some of the instructors choose pedagogical approaches that best suit them to the detriment of the learners and the entire workforce. Based on this, Ferguson et al. (2017) document that students themselves were also unhappy when they discover that they wasted their time and money in formal education which did not earned them a well-paid and fulfilling job. This situation can sometimes spur up infraction at their workplace when they cannot perform as expected.

In South East Nigeria, it is uncertain the type of pedagogy or teaching method mostly adopted or preferred to by library and information science instructors (LISIs) in the library schools undergraduate programme. This study therefore sought to ascertain the most adopted pedagogy preferred by LISIs in LIS undergraduate programme of university based library schools in South East, Nigeria.

Specifically, this study was set to provide answer to the following research questions:

  1. What are types and most preferred teaching method(s) adopted by library and information science instructors in Nigeria?

  2. What are the reasons for the preference of the teaching method(s) by library and information science instructors in Nigeria?

  3. What are the reasons why other teaching method(s) are not adopted by library and information science instructors?

Review of Literature

Teaching methods have important role to play in the ability of any student to display any form of skill in a working environment after graduation since one is expected to give out what has been acquired that is why pedagogy is seen by Bronack, Sanders, Cheney, Rield, Tashner and Matzen (2008) as set of skills, abilities and dispositions one employs when helping others learn. On the other hand Library and information science like any other profession, discipline/course of study/academic subject requires pedagogy that is commensurate to it. These skills often manifest itself as a collection of strategies, techniques, and styles. Both Gill (2017) and Wehrli and Nyquist (2003) opined that pedagogy encompasses contents (course/subject), skill and environment. Environment can be classroom, online, clinical setting etc. Banilower, Boyd, Pasley and Weiss (2006) described pedagogy as the methods by which teachers manage the instructional environment. It becomes very important for the educators to be properly equipped and be ahead of the students both in skills, strategies and techniques.

Consequently, there are many different types of teaching methods/pedagogies. The choice of anyone depends on the academic subject/curriculum, mission and vision of the institution, the environment for the teaching and the teaching skill of the lecturer. Tijani (2012) in the paper presented during the 2-day workshop on improved teaching methods in Nigeria Universities organized by Afe Babalola University (ABUAD) reported that choice of teaching style is based on philosophy deeply rooted in the vision and mission of the teacher's own institution. Henard and Roseveare (2012) added, a teaching method/pedagogy that will be environment friendly, meet students' profiles and demands, job markets requirements, reputation and history of the institution. Gill (2017) discussed 5 effective teaching methods for classroom (matching them with the subjects suited for each method) which include: authority/lecture method, demonstrator/coach, delegator/group, facilitator/activity and hybrid/blended method of teaching. Except facilitator and hybrid method, other teaching methods added by Wehrli and Nyquist (2003) that can be done in a classroom setting include: brainstorming, role play, self-awareness exercise/test, independent study, computer simulation and game.

Lecture method according to Gill (2017) is a teaching method that is teacher- centered, accommodates large number of students at a time and carried out in an auditorium setting. Wehrli and Nyquist (2003) describes it as didactic presentation of information. Some of its advantages include: effective in providing and clarifying both new and existing information to a large heterogeneous group in a short period of time, useful for covering underlying concepts, principles and systems. Since this method is teacher centered, it offers limited opportunities for assessment and feedback, can lead to learner overload and boredom etc. It was also suggested to mix this method with the more interactive techniques in the session to avoid exceeding attention spans of the learners (Wehrli & Nyquist, 2003). Phuritsabam (2008) study revealed that lecture method was the most preferred method, though other methods like practical work, project work, assignment, tutorial etc. were also highlighted.

Demonstration method like lecture method is teacher-centric. The teacher is the performer, the learner the observer. Whereas in the global scene, modern day teaching requires students to be at the focal point of the learning approach (Henard & Roseveare, 2012). No wonder, both Gill (2017) and Wehrli and Nyquist (2003) depict this method as not good enough for all the learners. It does not accommodate students individual needs in larger classroom and also inappropriate for the different learning rates of the participants.

Group method of teaching was categorized by Wehrli and Nyquist (2003) into case based small group discussion and large group discussion. This method, though it involves learner active participation, learner and teacher immediate feedback but can be frustrating for participants when they operate at significantly different levels of knowledge and skills. It increases potential for interpersonal conflict and time consuming. According to Gill (2003) this method was criticized by critics for teachers being seen as consultant.

Facilitator method involves a facilitator or helper or teacher promoting self- learning and helping the students develop critical thinking and retention of knowledge that leads to self-actualisation. This method trains students to ask questions and helps to develop skills to find answers through investigation. It challenges the teacher to interact with student towards discovery of things themselves (Gill, 2003).

Mclntosh (2011) in comparing five different teaching methods for information literacy (IL) was unable to conclude which of the following methods is the best: active learning (AL), computer assisted instruction (CAI), learner centered (LC), self-directed independent learning (SDIL) and traditional instruction (TI). The findings only showed that SDIL, TI and self-directed independent are all more effective than "no instruction (NI)."

Garrison and Kanuka (2004) described blended pedagogy as both simple and complex. Gill (2003) sees it as integrated approach to teaching that blends both the teachers' personality and interests with students' needs and...

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