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 https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Gr_Keer/publication/319945161_Barriers_to_Critical_Pedagogy_in_Information_Literacy_Teaching/links/59ee28c6a6fdcc32187daeff/Barriers-to-Critical-Pedagogy-in-Information-Literacy-Teaching.pdf

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.

Under Siege

Harman, Sheila

           Gibson, S. & Royal, C. ( 2017). The Schools: Culturally Relevant Pedagogy Under Siege, Teachers College Record, Vol. 119.

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Learning about what is missing in education, and what we have had to give up as a result of educational reform, is never a particularly uplifting topic. The endless reports of low test scores and a widening achievement gap always points to the need for more accountability, yet our schools are blindsided by budget cuts or state takeovers that limit the teaching of some of the basic instruction, like culturally relevant pedagogy (CPR) that has been proven to engage learners. Reading about what has happened across the nation, what happens in districts with federal takeovers, and about the whittling away of a type of teaching called CPR is hard to read, but the authors provide examples from Philadelphia and outline historic mandates, like NCLB (No Child Left Behind) while telling an ongoing story that needs to be heard. They present real and hypothetical research and weave in details about powerhouse players, like Arlene Ackerman, a SDP board member, who managed to hopscotch across the nation pushing a hardline reform. The authors scrutinize new school programs and their attack on the teaching of social political consciousness. They believe, that as educators, meaning all of us, we are trading hyper-standardization for cultural pride tenants in an effort to homogenize students.  They explain that there is no quantitative research to back up the current trends in educational reform. The article sends a clear message about how cultural analysis lessons have replaced political analysis lessons and why that should not be acceptable.

Rating: I think many of us should read this article and take note of the authors. Their next step maybe a made for television docu-drama, yes, that good!