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Teaching at NYU Libraries

Orientation to teaching at NYU Libraries and resources available for teaching support.

ACRL Framework for Information Literacy

Book cover for ACRL's "Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education."

The Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, developed by the the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), identifies six core concepts (along with associated knowledge practices and dispositions) that ground information literacy instruction:

  1. Authority Is Constructed and Contextual
  2. Information Creation as a Process
  3. Information Has Value
  4. Research as Inquiry
  5. Scholarship as Conversation
  6. Searching as Strategic Exploration

To review the Framework and get ideas for applying it to instruction, see:

Critical Pedagogy

 “Oppression” by McBeth is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Etching with the words No one is free when others are oppressed.The NYU Division of Libraries is working to adopt of philosophy of teaching inspired by the theory of critical pedagogy and informed by other critical theories such as critical race theory, queer theory, transationalism and others. Our goal is that those who teach in the library are empowered to move beyond traditional bibliographic instruction and database demonstration to also explore topics of power, privilege, and oppression and its intersections with information access in the classroom.

Critical pedagogy rejects what Paulo Freire referred to as the banking method of education, where students are empty vessels to be filled with the uncontested knowledge poured into them by their teachers. This banking method leaves no room for dialogue, collaborative knowledge building, or lived experience.


The Principles of Critical Pedagogy

Critical Pedagogy by Kencheloe book cover.While the many theorists and practitioners of critical pedagogy approach their work differently - and you should too - there are some agreed upon missions of working through this framework. In Critical Pedagogy Primer, Kincheloe (2005), attempts to collect these characteristics, some of which are listed below:

Critical Pedagogy:

  • is founded on a social and educational vision of justice and equality (p. 6)
  • is constructed on the belief that education is inherently political (p. 8)
  • is dedicated to the alleviation of human suffering (p. 11)

Educators have taken a variety of approaches to putting this theory into practice. Paulo Freire supported a dialectical approach, utilizing what he called “generative themes” to teach a curriculum through problem-posing about the condition of the world. The goal is that even if students must learn certain skills or content, that they are learning those things while also discussing power, privilege, and oppression in their lives and the lives of others.

Photo of bell hooks next to Teaching to Transgress book cover.Inspired by Freire and Thich Nhat Hanh, bell hooks combined her own feminist lens with critical pedagogy. In her book of essays, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, hooks explores the notion of "engaged pedagogy." She states, “Progressive, holistic education, “engaged pedagogy” is more demanding than conventional critical or feminist pedagogy. For, unlike these two teaching practices, it emphasizes wellbeing. That means that teachers must be actively committed to a process of self-actualization that promotes their own wellbeing if they are to teach in a manner that empowers students”

Universal Design for Learning

The three main principles of UDL: Engagement, Representation, and Action & Expression.

Image adapted from CAST website,

In any given library instruction class, you're likely to have students with a mix of backgrounds, learning styles, levels of preparation, disability status, and more. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) can help address this teaching challenge. Developed by CAST, a U.S.-based nonprofit educational research and development organization, UDL is a widely recognized framework that aims to improve and optimize instruction to meet the needs of the widest range of students by reducing barriers to learning. The framework is based on providing multiple means of engagement, representation, and action & expression. Learn more about UDL and how to apply it to your instruction.