Kevin Michael Klipfel and Dani Brecher Cook. Learner-Centered Pedagogy: Principles and Practice. Chicago, Ill.: ALA Editions, 2017. 208p. Paper, $60.00 (ISBN 978-0-8389-1557-8). LC 2016058814.

Melissa Anderson


With the growing focus on student engagement, retention, and success in the academy, recent scholarship in librarianship has paid increasing attention to learner-centered teaching practices and how they might improve learning outcomes for information literacy instruction. University of Southern California’s Kevin Michael Klipfel and University of California at Riverside’s Dani Brecher Cook have tackled this subject in a compact book, at once theoretical and practical, that both outlines the foundations and history of learner-centered pedagogies and provides useful examples and suggestions for incorporating them in diverse teaching contexts. Drawing heavily from the work of Carl Rogers, the originator of person-centered therapy and a theorist of psychology-based educational practices as well, Klipfel and Cook provide working definitions of learner-centered pedagogy, significant learning, and other important and related concepts. They also summarize current research demonstrating the effectiveness of learner-centered teaching practices. The overall premise of the book is relatively simple, yet it is still transformative of much of what we do in teaching contexts: students retain and are able to apply more of what they learn when instructors place who they are as people at the center of the learning experience. Klipfel and Cook demonstrate how this essential principle of learner-centered pedagogy, much discussed in education theory more generally, applies specifically to librarianship and to information literacy instruction in fundamental ways. For readers relatively unfamiliar with learner-centered pedagogy, the book also includes templates for research worksheets and other resources that can be downloaded from the ALA website that are helpful for those trying to incorporate learner-centered teaching principles into their own practices for the first time.

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