For Radical Educators and Librarians

Name: Roa, Molly.

Topic: E.T.

Citation: Keer, G. (2016). “Barriers to critical pedagogy in information literacy teaching.” In N. Pagowsky & K. McElroy (Eds.), Critical Library Pedagogy Handbook  (pp. 65–74). Chicago: Association of College & Research Libraries.  Retrieved from

Summary: This entire book was featured previously on this blog, but I wanted to highlight this chapter in particular. Keer reflects all the ways in which librarians must confront our limits as critical pedagogues and how we can work to rethink our roles in the air or neutrality demanded by librarians. While Keer doesn’t come to any firm conclusions, his work challenges the reader to assess critical pedagogy as a theory in contrast with our roles in the library, ways in which we can work effectively and our limitations. This chapter is essential for radical anti-neoliberal educators and librarians to better assess our roles in the classroom, library, and library profession.

Opinion: As a queer woman, I found this work very helpful. I have been interested in critical pedagogy since undergrad, and have struggled to find a way to combine my library profession with my ethics of anti-authoritarianism and liberation for marginalized communities. In fact, this ethical issue can at time be a persistent issue for me in my day-to-day at work in a public library. Keer acknowledges this difficulty and also the overall lack of research and resources that are librarian specific on critical pedagogy.

Effective Co-teaching

Bader, Devorah


Pratt, S. (2014). Achieving symbiosis: Working through challenges found in co-teaching to achieve effective co-teaching relationships. Teaching and Teacher Education, 41, 1-12. Retrieved from

Summary/Abstract: This grounded theory study explored how secondary school co-teachers in an urban Eastern Iowa school district resolved challenges to co-teaching relationships. Five partnerships participated in focus group interviews, interpersonal behavior questionnaires, classroom observations, and individual interviews. The resulting theory, Achieving Symbiosis, explains how co-teaching partnerships became effective in their collaboration through using personal differences and strengths to become interdependent. This theory provides helpful strategies grounded in the field for co-teachers as they seek to begin or improve collaborative teaching relationships, for administrators as they support co-teachers, and for teacher educators as they prepare students for collaborative partnerships.

This was a good article discussing the challenges with co-teaching and how to work with different strengths and weaknesses.  I particularly liked how it connected with the stages of group development that we learned about in INFO 204 and gave direction on how to relationship between the co-teachers is as important as the content they are trying to teach.

Mason, Ariella


Semrud-Clikeman, M. (n.d.). Research in Brain and Learning. Retrieved February 11, 2018 from

I liked this resource from the American Psychology Association because it covers a lot of areas, such as different ages or grade levels. It focuses on how the brain functions and how we learn. It also included helpful hints for teachers in the “Do’s and Don’ts” section.

I would recommend this resource because it helps a teacher better understand what is happening in student’s brains as they develop. Knowing how a student thinks and learns can better help a teacher adjust how they teach to how the student learns, therefore making an effective learning environment.

Hip-Hop Education and 4 Other Approaches to Teaching and Learning

Zepnick, Jaclyn

Emdin, C. (2014). 5 New Approaches to Teaching and Learning: The Next Frontier. Retrieved from 

Famed professor and pedagogy in the hood expert, Christopher Emdin, explores five different ways teachers can engage students in a more effective and exciting manner. Examples include: Hip-Hop Education, Reality Pedagogy, and the Flipped Classroom.

The first video especially lured me in as I have never heard of a science teacher using hip-hop and rap to entice students to learn about photosynthesis. It is inspiring to see new ways of teaching that actually make students want to come to class and engage. Christopher Emdin in himself is inspirational. 

What if Students Controlled Their Own Learning?

Kira Koop

ET = Educational Theory and Practice
CA = Curriculum Assessment
CO = Collaboration

IL = Information Literacy and 21st Century Skills

Hutton, P. (2014). What if students controlled their own learning? | Peter Hutton | TEDxMelbourne. [Video] TEDx Talks.

This resource touches on elements of all four main sections of the course, but mainly resides within the category ET: Educational Theory and Practice. In this video, Peter Hutton describes the situation at his school, TC (for Take Control) in Australia, where the school experience is created by and for the students. Students sit on the panels for hiring teachers, they have input into the curriculum, and they choose their classes. There is no traditional homework assigned, instead, students are required to create a plan each week for 10 hours of “home learning” – whether that’s completing a project begun in class, conducting an experiment at home, or any other idea. The school’s default policy for questions or suggestions from students and parents is “yes”, unless it costs too much, costs too much time, or interferes with another person’s learning.

This is a radical approach to schooling, and it was fascinating to learn about this school’s approach to learning. The idea that students are trusted to know what they wish to learn, after demonstrating a set level of literacy and ability, and are able to choose every single course they participate in (from 120 electives!) is wonderful and mind-boggling. I’m having difficulty imagining this strategy in place at the high school that I graduated from, which was a fairly conservative, religiously-based school. The more I think about it, however, the more I like the idea of empowering students in this way. Each child or teenager at this school must have a very defined idea of their own agency and their own power, which turns the current dynamic of authority-submissive in the classroom on its head. 

Great Video on Behaviorist Theory

Jeselyn Templin


G., C. [Caitlin G.]. (2015, September 20). The breakdown: Behaviorist theory . Retrieved from

Caitlin G’s video on Behaviorist theory effectively breaks down the finer points of both Behaviorism and Constructivism by explaining their relationship to one another and how they differ.

The way she breaks down Behaviorism and Constructivism is very accessible to novices in the field. I appreciate the examples she uses, like Pavlov’s dogs to explain response to stimuli, to make sure her viewers understand what she is talking about. By the end of the video I felt well-versed in the basics of Behaviorist theory and ready to research more in the form of scholarly articles.

TED Talks Education

Karen Rogers


TED. (2013, May 11). TED Talks Education. Retrieved July 13, 2016, from

Summary:  This video has a plethora of educators, Bill Gates, psychologists, and students who talk about educational theory, new ways of looking at curriculum and assessment, and how to improve our teaching.  The speakers talk about the importance of relationships, inquiry, perseverance, how to motivate students, and ways to help teachers improve.

Review:  The video is incredibly empowering and inspiring.  It encourages teachers to change their traditional mindset and take some risks in education.  It talks about the problems faced in education and ways to improve them.  It talks about the importance of building up student confidence and passion for knowledge being even more important than talent.  I think it is something all people in education should watch before starting the school year.

Transforming pedagogy: changing perspectives from teacher-centered to learner-centered

Jana Brubaker


Dole, S., Bloom, L., and Kowalske, K.  (2016).  Transforming pedagogy: changing perspectives from teacher-centered to learner-centered.  Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, 10(1).

This article reviews the similarities and differences of problem-based learning and project-based learning, which was interesting to me.  Both are inquiry based, and have similar processes, but different results.  Project-based learning results in a product, or an artifact, while problem-based learning results in solutions rather than products.  One important similarity between the two is the role of the teacher as a facilitator or a coach.  Another similarity is that both are cross-curricular and emphasize student choice.  Both contain what is needed for deeper learning and content mastery.  This deeper learning transfers to other contexts.  
Although research is beginning to show that these models of learning produce deeper learning, they are difficult to implement in schools that are focused on standards-based learning and assessment.  Such a big change in pedagogy takes time.  Teachers need to be able to discuss, think about, and practice teaching in this way before implementing it.  The authors conducted a field study in which they offered an online summer course, with one week of field experience, on both models of learning.  After returning to the classroom, they interviewed the teacher participants to find out if they were using these models of learning. Sixty-four percent of the teachers said that they were still using the models due to the course and field experience and 100% said they would recommend those models to others.

Most of the teachers said it was a great learning experience for them.  They learned how to maintain order in an environment that appears more chaotic.  They were able to focus on critical thinking and problem solving skills in a new way.  They learned how to differentiate and allow students to take control of their learning.  Student participants also had positive experiences.  Classroom climate was reportedly better.  Student-teacher relationships improved too. Overall, the article helped me gain a better grasp of the differences between the two teaching models.

Evaluating a Behaviorist and Constructivist Learning

Samnath, Kayla 
ET: Educational theory and practice 
Sidney, P. F. (2015, October 17). Evaluating a Behaviorist and Constructivist Learning . Retrieved April 12, 2016, from
            Author Paul F. Sidney (2015) discusses behaviorist learning versus constructivist learning. Sidney addresses the fact that constructivist learning aligns with the new common core standards. The goal is to teach students in way that will better prepare them for the future. In order to do this, real world simulation needs to take place within the class room (p. 02). With the implementation of new technology, it is key that educators learn which style will have the most impact on learners. Sidney goes into the major differences between the two educational theories.
            First he explains that the behaviorist view supports the idea that students learn the best through positive or negative reinforcement (p. 03). In other words, if a student remembers what the teacher lectured they will pass, and receive an A, whereas those who cannot will fail with an F. This reinforces student behavior to regurgitate what teachers tell them, versus them actually understanding the course content. Author Sidney asserts that “constructivist …learning constitutes more of a discovery learning aspect and aims students towards conceptual understanding” (p. 04). Constructivist theories are more aligned with the current common core standards. Common core standards want students to develop and construct deeper meaning out of course content. The goal is to have students actually synthesize the information they are being taught.
            Although Paul F. Sidney (2015) supports the constructivist theory of learning, he also understands why it is something that cannot just be implemented in the class rooms. He suggests that it is something that should gradually be injected in regular curriculum (p. 07). One major concern Sidney points out is student recall. Behaviorist theories assist students in memorization with repetition and reinforcement. It assists students in the mental storage of newly learned information. Due to this reasoning, Sidney suggests that classrooms implement both theories. This will give students the best of both worlds. They will get real world applicable experience and problem solving skills, they will still have that knowledge reinforced which will foster greater recall (p. 15).
            Author Paul F. Sidney did a wonderful job explaining what both constructivist and behaviorist theories were. As a novice to educational theories, this was a great introduction. The article introduces both theories, as well as common core. Sidney explains rather simply how both theories are necessary in order to foster higher order thinking. I like how he didn’t not completely dismiss the behaviorist view in teaching. It is important to recognize that hands on projects might not align with all the students learning styles.
            I agreed with the author in that both theories can be implemented, however, this is not something that will happen over-night. It should be a gradual change, which will give students plenty of time to adapt.