I’m writing with a very special request for you to support a campaign that is both personally meaningful to me and I think also reflective of the moral and pedagogical values of many of the folks who read this blog.
My wife Lyndsay is a fifth grade teacher at Citizens of the World Elementary School in East Hollywood, CA. This year she has been working to create a “culture of reading” in her classroom (based on principles from educational psychologist Daniel Willingham’s excellent book on the subject) and is now reaching out to ask for support to fund a small classroom library reflective of the diverse community of learners in her classroom. Lyndsay has selected several books (her school does not have a school media specialist) that would be amazing additions to her permanent classroom library, and will make a huge impact on the lives of children who love to read. As such, she’s asking for financial support to build this library. Here’s more info in her own words:
I teach in a busy 5th grade classroom at a diverse by design public charter school in Los Angeles. The mission of my school, and my classroom, is to provide curiosity-driven learning while also teaching Social Emotional Learning, Social Justice, and bridging differences. A typical day will involve students bouncing on their yoga balls as they work in groups on a problem-based inquiry lesson sequence. When there’s conflict, students can be overheard using I-statements and taking the time and space they need for themselves in the peace corner until they’re able to come back focused to their work. Restorative Justice Circles and Morning Meeting facilitate a deep sense of community and understanding that no one individual is without the influence of the rest of the community. Together, we strive everyday to show up as our best selves and support each other along the way.
I’m trying to build my library to be more reflective of the diverse community that I serve. If you’re able, please donate to these really amazing kids.
For the next seven days, if you use the code LIFTOFF, your donation will be doubled (about to $50).
You all rock!
And here’s her description of the project in full:
Our classroom is built of diverse students that are capable of perspective-taking, listening to other people’s stories, and exploring the ways that we as citizens of the world have an obligation to reach out and help others.
My students don’t want to wait until they’re older to bridge differences, they do it now.
They are able to perspective-take and discuss the ways our culture shapes our perspective, including naming the varied aspects that go into constructing an Identity. My kids are invested in learning to work together by respecting what makes us each unique individuals and committed to making the world a new and more understanding world.
My classroom is comprised of a diverse group of kiddos and I want to make sure that all the books that are offered in the library are reflective of this diversity and are inclusive of all the type of people represented in my classroom community.
Literature is a wonderful way for these culturally aware kids to hear other’s stories as well as having their own stories affirmed.
Having a diverse offering of authors, characters, and situations better reflects the world we live in. Especially in these times where certain populations are being marginalized, I want to ensure that all of my students feel reflected by our classroom library and feel empowered to share their stories.”
If you click on the donation link, you can see the specific books your donation will fund, and where your money will go directly. It would be amazing to me and to so many students if this project is able to receive full funding, so please, dear readers, consider reaching out to support this awesome cause. As Lyndsay mentions – or the next seven days, if you use the code LIFTOFF, your donation will be doubled – so even “small” donations can help put a book in a really deserving child’s hands.
Thank you so much for considering!
In two weeks, we’ll begin teaching an ALA online course based on Learner-Centered Pedagogy: Principles and Practice. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been putting together the course materials, including making some videos that we hope will add a fun and personal element to the course.
As we’ve been putting this together, we’ve been thinking about everything that’s going on in the world, and how lucky we are to have salaried jobs with healthcare and stability, and we made a decision: We’re going to donate all our proceeds from the course (development and registration fees) to nonprofits that we feel are doing important and life-changing work. We’ll post our receipts here after the end of the class as a demonstration that we’ve made the donations.
We’ll be donating to:
- Planned Parenthood (https://www.plannedparenthood.org/)
“Planned Parenthood is a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide.”
- United We Dream (unitedwedream.org)
“United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth led organization in the nation … We seek to address the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrant youth and believe that by empowering immigrant youth, we can advance the cause of the entire community – justice for all immigrants … United We Dream runs programs to advocate for the access to higher education: stop the deportations of undocumented youth and their parents; and strengthen alliances and support for DREAMers at the intersection of queer and immigrant rights.”
We know the course is *not* cheap, so it feels right to give back with our share of the proceeds, especially since the basic premise of our book is that people, including all their difference, matter and deserve equal rights and respect. We’re grateful to ALA for giving us the opportunity to share our work in a new format, and grateful to those who’ve signed up for the course already. We look forward to working with you in a few weeks!
-Kevin and Dani
Really nice article by UCR featuring Dani and Learner-Centered Pedagogy!
“Most librarians who come out as credentialed MLSs don’t have a background in teaching, but when they come onto their job, a huge amount of their work is in teaching,” Cook explained. “We hope this book will help librarians who don’t necessarily have a background in education to put their students at the center of their work.”
Full article here.
Dani and I are excited to announce that we’ll be partnering with ALA for a six week E-Course based on our Learner-Centered Pedagogy book, taught by … us!
The course, which is asynchronous, begins on Nov. 13, 2017. Students who register for the course will receive an electronic copy of Learner-Centered Pedagogy, and upon completion of the course will get a certificate of completion for professional development/continuing education purposes through ALA.
Here is a basic course outline:
At the end of this course, you will be able to
- Articulate an individually developed learner-centered teaching philosophy
- Plan and deliver a learner-centered activity for an information literacy-related outcome
- Incorporate evidence-based practices related to autonomy, empathy, relationship rapport, and learners’ intrinsic motivation into your own reference and instructional contexts
Week 1: Introduction to Learner-Centered Pedagogy
- How is learner-centered pedagogy defined and what are its theoretical and empirical bases?
- How do we know when learning has occurred?
- How can teacher-librarians (re)define information literacy in a learner-centered environment?
Week 2: Facilitating Curiosity
- How can library instructors tap into learners’ intrinsic motivation and desire for authentic self-expression to make information literacy really matter to learners?
- Why do autonomy-supportive rather than controlling learning environments so successfully motivate learning?
- What are some evidence-based practices librarians can employ to support learners’ sense of autonomy and authenticity in the information literacy context?
Week 3: The Cognitive Science of Learning
- What are some of the cognitive challenges that students face when learning information literacy skills?
- How can an understanding of the cognitive science of learning improve librarians instructional design practices in and out of the classroom?
- What are some evidence-based practical strategies librarians can take from the cognitive science of learning to better organize their instruction to help make information literacy learning stick?
Week 4: Relationships: The Heart of Learner-Centered Pedagogy
- Why do students seem to learn best with instructors that they feel connected to?
- How have librarians historically approached the importance of the librarian-student relationship for facilitating information literacy learning?
- What are some evidence-based practices librarians can use to establish genuine connections and relationship rapport with learners in the information literacy context?
Week 5: Mindsets toward Learning
- How does students’ attitudes toward the role intelligence plays in learning impact their motivation to learn?
- How can we facilitate a process-oriented approach to research?
- What best practices can librarians adopt from the mindset literature to help students who are experiencing roadblocks in their research?
Week 6: The Learner-Centered Technologist
- What is technology and what role does it play in learner-centered information literacy instruction?
- What practical test can librarians use to assess whether the use of a particular technology is learner-centered?
- What evidence based strategies for using technology are recommended by the learner-centered pedagogy literature?
There’s a good bit more info available at the ALA site about registration, etc., but please feel free to get in touch personally with either Dani or myself if you have any questions about the content, etc.
We look forward to the possibility of working with you!
There’s no such thing as a creative type. As if creative people can just show up and make stuff up. As if it were that easy. I think people need to be reminded that creativity is a verb. A very time consuming verb. It’s about taking an idea in your head and transforming that idea into something real. And that’s always going to be a long and difficult process. If you’re doing it right, it’s going to feel like work
-Milton Glaser (via NITCH)
We wanted to share something we’re quite excited by, that our book Learner-Centered Pedagogy was reviewed and recommended by Karen Muller in her “Librarian’s Library” column for American Libraries Magazine.
We’re particularly pleased that the review considers the book useful for school librarians in a K-12 educational setting: though we wrote it, in some sense, with academic librarians in mind (since we’re academic librarians), we do think that the book is applicable for all kinds of libraries, and transfers to any context where librarians are connecting with learners or other educators in some way.
Happily, the review agrees:
Learner-Centered Pedagogy: Principles and Practice, by Kevin Michael Klipfel and Dani Brecher Cook, is intended for academic librarians, but the concept of having empathy for the learner and what that person needs or wants to learn has broad applicability.
We promise we won’t share every review of the book, but we may share some so it’s not just us saying that we think the book is good!
Also exciting, I might add, is the column’s general focus on the importance of librarians as educational leaders.
In advance of the former heavyweight champion’s appearance Saturday night at the Seminole Coconut Creek Casino, where he will perform his one-man stage show, “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth,” I asked Tyson if he remembered the origins of that quote.
“People were asking me [before a fight], ‘What’s going to happen?,’ ” Tyson said. “They were talking about his style. ‘He’s going to give you a lot of lateral movement. He’s going to move, he’s going to dance. He’s going to do this, do that.’ I said, “Everybody has a plan until they get hit. Then, like a rat, they stop in fear and freeze.’ ”
What I like so much about the quote is that its application stretches far beyond boxing. It really has meaning in any area of life, whether the blow comes from a health issue, losing your job, making a bad investment, a traffic jam, whatever.
It’s how you react to that adversity that defines you, not the adversity itself.
“Exactly,” Tyson agreed. “If you’re good and your plan is working, somewhere during the duration of that, the outcome of that event you’re involved in, you’re going to get the wrath, the bad end of the stick. Let’s see how you deal with it. Normally people don’t deal with it that well.”
He laughed. There’s another way to spin his famous quote:
“How much can you endure, buddy?” he said. “Most talkers, they can’t handle it.”