Do we need a basic understanding of behaviourism & constructivism?

I think that we do. I think that understanding behaviourism & how we might be employing it in our practice will probably help us understand how to move to constructivist approaches if we’re not already trying to us them. And, for those of us who are using them (being aware of what we’re doing or doing it instinctually), we might be able to be more critically reflective.

I think that it’s  probably also important if our everyday leaders are behaviourist or administrative in their approaches to librarianship & libraries. Otherwise, we can get stuck in particular ways of being librarians because we are so busy & reflective time has to be deliberately carved out for the deeper thinking that influences the foundation from which we practice.

I think that, if we recognise the two, we can also see them playing out with our clients & this helps us understand them & work with them positively & productively.

I see a parallel with learning styles (& I use the term broadly). When we are learning, if we know how we learn & where our weaknesses are, it’s easier to make our learning more productive & enjoyable.

A librarian’s example might be in searcher type. When we are helping people learn to search, we help them see the kinds of things that they are doing which aren’t helping & the things that are really helpful – they become more aware. For example, we might explore searcher types (such as broad scanning, deep diving & fast surfing) & get students to think about which they are, what impact it is having on their searching & how they might capitalise on their strengths & work on the things that are holding them back.


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