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.

Inquiry-Based Teaching

Oakes, Constance

Topic:  Educational Theory and Practice (ET)

Bibliographic Citation: Kohn, A. (2013, October 29). A dozen essential guidelines for educators. Retrieved from Alfie Kohn website:

Summary:  An article by Alfie Kohn, an author, and lecturer on education and parenting. This is a short listing of the core principles used in progressive education that nicely explain what an inquiry-based or project-based classroom should look like and what it shouldn’t.  

Evaluation/Opinion:  I find this article/list to be a great way to quickly get an understanding of how inquiry-based learning works and looks.  I like that it does say it is messy. I think it also lets teachers see that it can be a shift out of their comfort zone as their thinking and teaching will change as they move into an inquiry-based program.


Campbell, Renee

Reale, Michelle. (2016). “Hands-off “ teaching: facilitating conversation as pedagogy in library instruction. Digital Pedagogy Lab. Digital Pedagogy Lab. Retrieved from

Discussion on the theory and practice of conversation-led, instead of librarian-led, inquiry. Based on the pedagogy of the radical educator, Paulo Freire, Reale outlines a librarian’s role to not just front-load inquiry “tools”, but to first join in conversation with students to find out what their information needs really are. She emphasizes the importance of creating a safe place, oftentimes by meeting them in their classrooms, “to lay a foundation for students to create their own process, to show them a way to begin, and to reassure them that it is okay not to know what you don’t know”.

Reale’s article was the perfect balance of inspirational pedagogy and practical application. Coming from a MEd. program ten years ago that focused on social justice education, her article reminded me of why I love teaching. The organic methodology is what I have hoped librarianship could be.

A Pedagogy of Inquiry

Pegowsky, N. (2015) A pedogogy of inquiry. Communications in Information Literacy9(2), 136-144.
Summary: This article discusses the ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (2015) and how teacher librarians can use the Framework to push pack against neoliberal agendas in current pedagogy to reinvent the teacher-librarian role. The article expresses that neoliberalism, which creates a false sense of urgency for changes in higher education, turns education into an economic exchange and vocationalizes education, which the author calls “trickling up.” The author further states that teaching, and librarianship becomes devalued in this economy because librarians do not have clearly defined roles. Pegowsky suggests that we move away from exclusively skills-based instruction and make our pedagogy more explicit, thus enhancing student learning and outcomes.

Evaluation: This article doesn’t provide practical applications for teaching or librarianship, as most research in the field does. Rather, it focuses on underlying ideology that has affected pedagogy and how we teach, to education’s detriment. A philosophy of education drawn out to some interesting conclusions.