Teaching Research in Academic Law Libraries (TRIALL) 2002
By Stephanie Burke, Boston University School of Law Library

Where can a librarian learn about teaching effectively to different learning styles, plan the curriculum for a legal research course, refine presentation skills and more in merely two days? The answer is only one place: TRIALL. LexisNexis once again sponsored the pre-conference TRIALL, or Teaching Research in Academic Law Libraries, in conjunction with the AALL Annual Meeting in Orlando this year. I was fortunate to be chosen as one of approximately thirty participants, along with another LLNE member, Elizabeth Lambert, Harvard Law School Library.

By combining presentations by experienced librarians and a consultant on effective presentation skills with workshops where participants completed hands-on projects, TRIALL accomplishes a great deal in a relatively short period of time. Participants worked together as a group to develop legal research course proposals which they then presented to the group, who acted as a law school curriculum committee or dean, developed mock exercises to evaluate students' progress, and exchanged experiences and ideas with fellow participants and the TRIALL faculty.

The unique blend of discussion, presentations, panels and hands-on exercises created an atmosphere where everyone was engaged. LLNE's own Darcy Kirk, a TRIALL Council member, gave an interesting and valuable session on adult learning and teaching to different learning styles. Participants then used sample tools to evaluate their own learning styles. Another notable session, lead by Sandra Yancey, a consultant, worked on improving the participants' presentation skills, which were showcased in the exercises which accompanied this portion of the program.

One of important benefits of attending TRIALL is meeting so many wonderful librarians, both participants and instructors. Unlike other programs at AALL, the group spends two full days together - from breakfast through dinner - affording a chance to socialize with as well as learn from each other. I met a great group of librarians, learned a lot from their teaching experiences, and have since been in contact with a number of them. I strongly encourage anyone involved in teaching at an academic library to apply the next time this wonderful program is offered by LexisNexis.


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