Critical consciousness focuses on achieving an in-depth understanding of the world, allowing for the perception and exposure of social and political contradictions. Critical consciousness also includes taking action against the oppressive elements in one's life that are illuminated by that understanding. Freire was teaching the poor and illiterate members of Brazilian society to read at a time when literacy was a requirement for suffrage and dictators ruled many South American countries.
FYS, entering the major, capstone, and upon request Assess with pre/post knowledge test
ELMBORG: Librarians need to develop a critical consciousness about libraries, by learning to ‘‘problematize’’ the library. Education for librarians must become what Friere calls a ‘‘problem posing education.’’53 Kapitzke argues, &quot;Information literacy, as a method of approaching textual work, is not autonomous and neutral; it intersects with variables of gender, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religion, and geographic location to generate different learning outcomes in different classrooms and education and educational contexts.&quot; (p. 49). Jacobs: For librarians working directly with information literacy programs, it is particularly easy in the midst of a busy teaching load to lose sight of the fact that what we are doing goes far beyond Boolean searching and Library of Congress Subject Headings. The work we do is part of a broader educative project that works to empower individuals both locally and globally. “ How might library instruction benefit from exploring critical pedagogical strategies? What challenges are posed by the unique requirements of library instruction? And how might our use of critical pedagogical strategies help us embed library instruction in the critical classrooms on our campuses? We invite proposals that 1) investigate intersections between critical pedagogy and the library instruction classroom and 2) identify pedagogical applications that can be adopted in library instruction programs. ”
This current dominant culture of higher education privileges a model of student learning that can be substantiated in standardized tests and other measures that similarly erase difference and reward conformity to immutable, uninterrogated standards. These measures serve to perpetuate the existence of the dominant culture. Understandably, many critical teachers chafe at such standards. Critical teachers seek to resist these political pressures that are concerned with churning out pasteurized processed student product and muting the flavors and colors of difference and diversity, but this resistance is often thwarted, rejected, or dismissed. As bell hooks (1994) observes, &quot;[g]iven that our educational institutions are so deeply invested in a banking system, teachers are more rewarded when we do not teach against the grain&quot; (p. 203). Teachers are indeed rewarded for supporting and perpetuating the banking model, so why does it matter to be critical? Why should critical teachers resist? Why should we seek alternative ways of teaching and assessing what we teach? Are there alternative rewards for these alternative approaches? Proponents of critical assessment methods contend that critical assessment flattens the hierarchy that is reinforced by traditional assessment methods. In conventional assessment models, the instructor deposits information in students and students retrieve that information in order to answer questions correctly and uncritically. Assessing in this way does not promote independent critical thinking (Reynolds & Trehan, 2000, p. 269). Critical assessment of student learning outcomes, on the other hand, disrupts that power relationship and challenges the way learning is defined, measured, and evaluated. Then, in turn, this approach provides an opportunity for critical programmatic assessment, where librarians can evaluate their instructional services in units other than numbers, percentages, and graphs. Critical perspectives on assessment in higher education focus on its function as a regulator of the hierarchical structures that govern the university. Reynolds & Trehan (2000) observe that &quot;[Assessment]'s function in providing the basis for granting or withholding qualifications makes it a primary location for power relations&quot; (p. 268). And it is at the site of assessment that these power relations are validated and institutionalized, as Leathwood (2005) asserts: &quot;Assessment has served, alongside a discourse of meritocracy, to legitimize and rationalize the unequal distribution of power and resources in society&quot; (p. 310). In an institution of higher learning, assessment results serve to legitimize a course or an instruction program, provide evidence of student learning, substantiate effective instruction, and justify curricula. Not only do institutions require an ongoing process of programmatic and student learning outcome assessment for their own institutional purposes, institutions are also accountable to regional and disciplinary accrediting bodies, which places additional demands on an institution to demonstrate student learning. Critical assessment of student learning outcomes, on the other hand, disrupts that power relationship and challenges the way learning is defined, measured, and evaluated. Then, in turn, this approach provides an opportunity for critical programmatic assessment, where librarians can evaluate their instructional services in units other than numbers, percentages, and graphs.
One critical approach to assessment is participative assessment. As defined by Reynolds & Trehan (2000), participative assessment is &quot;a process in which students and tutors share, to some degree, the responsibility for making evaluations and judgments about students' written work, gaining insight into how judgments are made and finding appropriate ways to communicate them&quot; (p. 270). A participative assessment model, as explicated by Price, O'Donovan, and Rust (2007), employs a participative approach informed by social-constructivism, which posits that &quot;knowledge is shaped and evolves through increasing participation within communities of practice, and that for students to truly understand the requirements of the assessment process, and the criteria and standards being applied, they need tacit as well as explicit knowledge&quot; (p. 143). These student-centered approaches propose to encourage critical thinking and empower students to share responsibility for their learning. In addition, participating in the development of assessment criteria may provide students with the opportunity to influence the criteria (Reynolds & Trehan, 2000, p. 270). The model described by Reynolds & Trehan shows students in a management course collaborating in learning groups: &quot;Peer assessment is intended to evaluate each student's understanding of their chosen topic and how it relates to the practice of management. They are expected to record the comments and grades that result from group discussions. In this sense, students' dialogue and social support is fundamental to the assessment process&quot; (p. 270).
Critical assessment methods seem particularly designed for traditional courses in which classes meet more than once and students and instructor have ongoing relationships. But in library instruction, the librarian will teach a one-shot session for 50 minutes or slightly more, and then she may never see those students again. There isn't time for relationship-building, let alone collaboratively development of assessment criteria. How, then, might critical assessment methods work in a library instruction program? I envision using the focus group in conjunction with a portfolio assessment program as a critical assessment method. Below I will imagine such a model, using my current collaborative efforts in portfolio assessment as an example. Portfolio assessment in library instruction is a method of evaluating information literacy in the context of actual student work. This sort of direct, or authentic, assessment usually focuses on student research portfolios, where students submit a research paper together with a research log or an annotated bibliography, or some other sort of written work that documents and reflects upon the student's research process and the sources the student used. ). The overarching goal governing these discussions will be to help students understand learning outcomes I wish for them to achieve and to provide them with an opportunity to play a role in critiquing these learning outcomes and defining how they will be assessed. But I also want them to learn that the ways in which they are assessed, measured, and determined to be successful (or not) are created by the people who create and perpetuate the dominant culture of higher education. This is an opportunity for students to experience and learn from a teacher who, in the words of hooks (1994), &quot;[has] the courage to transgress those boundaries that would confine each pupil to a rote, assembly-line approach to learning&quot; (p. 13). Teachers who empower students at the assessment level do more than just expose students to alternative models of thinking and learning in the dominant culture of higher education. They also teach students that their voices matter, that they are more than just than numbers or units or statistics. They are people, not products, with valid thoughts and important ideas. The promise of hooks's (1994) model of engaged pedagogy seems particularly relevant here: &quot;To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin&quot; (p. 13). Put differently, empowering students at the assessment level honors the individual and unique voices of each student in a way that the dominant culture of higher education does not.
Critical Pedagogy And Library Instruction
CRITICAL PEDAGOGY AND LIBRARY INSTRUCTION Maria T. Accardi Assistant Librarian, Coordinator of Instruction IU Southeast February 23, 2010
Critical Pedagogy <ul><li>Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Education for social change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rejection of the “banking theory” of teaching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical consciousness ( conscientização ) </li></ul></ul>
Critical Pedagogy <ul><li>bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress (1994) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Given that our educational institutions are so deeply invested in a banking system, teachers are more rewarded when we do not teach against the grain.” (p. 203) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“… the courage to transgress those boundaries that would confine each pupil to a rote, assembly-line approach to learning” (p. 13) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin” (p. 13). </li></ul></ul>
Information Literacy and Library Instruction <ul><li>Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” (ACRL) </li></ul><ul><li>One of General Education Student Learning Outcomes at IUS </li></ul><ul><li>IUS Library Instruction program seeks to instruct students in these skills. </li></ul>
Critical Pedagogy + Information Literacy/Library Instruction <ul><li>Librarians must focus less on information transfer and more on developing critical consciousness in students. (Elmborg, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Information literacy is not neutral. (Kapitzke, 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>Information literacy is a broader educative project. (Jacobs, 2008). </li></ul>
Critical Assessment <ul><li>Critical perspectives on assessment in higher education focus on its function as a regulator of the hierarchical structures that govern the university. (Reynolds & Trehan, 2000) </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment validates and institutionalizes power relations. (Leathwood, 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Critical assessment of student learning outcomes disrupts the power relationship and challenges the way learning is defined, measured, and evaluated. </li></ul>
Participative Assessment <ul><li>Participative assessment: “a process in which students and tutors share, to some degree, the responsibility for making evaluations and judgments about students' written work, gaining insight into how judgments are made and finding appropriate ways to communicate them” (Reynolds & Trehan, 2000, p. 270) </li></ul><ul><li>Informed by social constructivism </li></ul>
Critical Assessment of Information Literacy <ul><li>Focus group, rubric development, and portfolio assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Participative assessment: is it really empowering? </li></ul>
Shortcomings and Challenges <ul><li>Scalability </li></ul><ul><li>Demands of accreditation and institutional requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians in the margins </li></ul>