LIRT Conference Program -- 2012

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Critical Thinking and Library Instruction:
Fantasyland or Adventureland?

Sunday, June 24, 2012
10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Anaheim Convention Center, Room 201D

LIRT provides a forum for inclusive conversation and professional development in library instruction and information literacy, key components of lifelong learning.  Critical thinking competencies are essential to this process.  As librarians move beyond "how to" instruction sessions, understanding and incorporating educational principles and practices, such as critical thinking, will help leverage their collaborations with user communities.  Join us as we explore how libraries can promote successful information literacy outcomes through theory-based instruction, practical critical thinking activities, and faculty-librarian partnership in pedagogy

Featured presentations are:

Cultivating Critical Thinking in K-12 Library Instruction:
Results of the Implementation of Bloom's Taxonomy

Presenter: Kathy Rosa / Assistant Professor, Chicago State University

In this session you will learn how to create and assess results-based critical thinking activities based upon Bloom's Taxonomy.  A theory-into-action approach is used to illuminate the connections between practical library instruction and the tenets of critical thinking. The results presented are based on the presenter's experience supervising LIS graduate students in K-12 libraries; however the ideas may be adjusted for use in public or academic library settings.  Results include the experiences of LIS students who created and delivered theory-based instruction in school libraries. The instruction is aligned to national and state standards for library and information literacy instruction.  Reflections of the students' experiences are enlightening. The critical thinking model and instructional activities will be shared with the session participants. Tips on how to assess the success of your instruction will also be covered.

Slides and handouts are now available.

Junk Science:
Encouraging Critical Thinking in a Communication Research Methods Class

Presenter: Rosalind Tedford / Director for Research and Instruction, Z. Smith Reynolds Library, Wake Forest University

Popular news reports on scholarly research are notoriously flawed. They skew, misinterpret, oversimplify and sometimes overtly distort the real message and lessons from research studies. These poorly constructed stories then often get repeated and incorporated into popular culture in ways counter to what the research may show. Teaching students to think critically about these news reports requires first that they understand both the research and reporting process and then that they know how to verify (or disprove) the information they contain. In an effort to develop these skills in Communication majors and minors at Wake Forest University, Communication faculty and I have partnered to create a library instruction session and class exercise to expose students to these flaws in news reporting of scientific information. Using popular news stories and comparing them to the actual research studies upon which they report, I lead the students through the process of independently verifying reports. Along the way we learn about the research process, reporting process and strategies for using library resources to locate the original studies. Results have been very positive and students are frequently astonished at the proliferation of the junk science reporting and, we hope, much better consumers of information about scholarly research. The exercise is so effective that I have adapted it in other contexts, including my for-credit information literacy course. There are many possible variations and adaptations that can be made to fit it into a wide array of courses and library instruction situations.

Slides are now available.

Moving from Fantasy to Adventure
by Grounding Information Literacy Instruction in Critical Thinking Models

Robert Schroeder / Education & University Studies Librarian and Coordinator of Library General Education Program, Portland State University

Academic librarians feel there is a strong relationship between critical thinking and 21st century information literacy. But, as a discipline, librarianship has yet to show concrete linkages between extant theories of critical thinking and definitions of information literacy.  In this session you will discover how strongly librarians feel the link between critical thinking and information literacy, even while our understanding of the linkage lags behind. Get introduced to theories of critical thinking from other disciplines such as education, psychology and philosophy that can be used to promote information literacy outcomes on your campus. Also see how hybrid critical thinking/information literacy outcomes can be used successfully to integrate information literacy at a programmatic level as well.

Presentation information and handout now available.

Your Make-It-Work Moment:
Creating Space for Critical Thinking in the Library Classroom

Barbara Alvarez / Spanish & Portuguese Languages and Literatures Librarian, Hatcher Graduate Library, University of Michigan
Jennifer Bonnet  / Librarian for French History, French Language & Literature, and Religious Studies, Hatcher Graduate Library, University of Michigan
Sigrid Anderson Cordell / Librarian for History, American Literature and American Culture, Hatcher Graduate Library, University of Michigan

Numerous studies have shown that the major obstacle for successful college research papers is students’ lack of critical judgment and analytical skills when coming up with a topic, constructing arguments, and working with sources. We also know that students learn best when they are actively engaged in the learning process. Nevertheless, librarians are most often asked to provide instruction sessions that primarily focus on finding and retrieving resources through databases.  Whereas these are important skills to learn, a key need is for students to develop an understanding of their intellectual role in the research process and to hone their critical thinking skills regarding the use of sources. This presentation examines how instruction librarians can negotiate these often conflicting goals by collaborating with faculty and designing sessions to engage students in the intellectual aspects of research. Through learning activities, the presenters will illustrate the ways in which librarians can move away from mere resource demonstration to a participatory learning mode that emphasizes students’ critical thinking. Even in “general overview” sessions, librarians can model the ways in which scholars conduct research by asking questions and providing opportunities for analysis in a broad range of classroom situations. Using participatory learning techniques, the presenters will demonstrate interventions that can be carried out at different stages of the research process to facilitate topic formation, development of thesis and argumentation, and critical work with sources. The presenters will also discuss ways to negotiate the expectations of faculty who perceive library instruction as strictly tool-oriented training.

Slides are now available.