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Critical pedagogy

Critical pedagogy is a teaching approach (pedagogy) that attempts to help students question and challenge domination, and the beliefs and practices that dominate. Drawing on theory from anarchism, feminism, and Marxism, critical pedagogy is supposed to help students achieve what its proponents call "critical consciousness." Critical pedagogue Ira Shor defines critical pedagogy as:

"Habits of thought, reading, writing, and speaking which go beneath surface meaning, first impressions, dominant myths, official pronouncements, traditional clichés, received wisdom, and mere opinions, to understand the deep meaning, root causes, social context, ideology, and personal consequences of any action, event, object, process, organization, experience, text, subject matter, policy, mass media, or discourse." (Empowering Education, 129)

Critical pedagogy includes relationships between teaching and learning. This proponents claim that it is a continuous process of what they call "unlearning," "learning" and "relearning," "reflection," "evaluation," and the impact that these actions have on the students, in particular students who have been historically and they believe continue to be disenfranchised by what they call "traditional schooling."

Contents

[edit] Background

Critical pedagogy was heavily influenced by the works of Paulo Freire, arguably the most celebrated critical educator. According to his writings, Freire heavily endorses studentsâ ability to think critically about their education situation; this way of thinking allows them to "recognize connections between their individual problems and experiences and the social contexts in which they are embedded."[1]

Realizing oneâs consciousness ("conscientization") is a needed first step of "praxis," which is defined as the power and know-how to take action against oppression while stressing the importance of liberating education. "Praxis involves engaging in a cycle of theory, application, evaluation, reflection, and then back to theory. Social transformation is the product of praxis at the collective level."[1]

Postmodern, anti-racist, feminist, postcolonial, and queer theories all play a role in further explaining Freireâs ideas of critical pedagogy, shifting its main focus on social class to include issues pertaining to religion, military identification, race, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, and age. Many contemporary critical pedagogues have embraced postmodern, anti-essentialist perspectives of the individual, of language, and of power, "while at the same time retaining the Freirean emphasis on critique, disrupting oppressive regimes of power/knowledge, and social change."[1] Contemporary critical educators, such as bell hooks appropriated by Peter McLaren, discuss in their criticisms the influence of many varied concerns, institutions, and social structures, "including globalization, the mass media, and race/spiritual relations," while citing reasons for resisting the possibilities to change.[1]

Joe L. Kincheloe and Shirley R. Steinberg have created the Paulo and Nita Freire Project for International Critical Pedagogy at McGill University [2]. In line with Kincheloe and Steinberg's contributions to critical pedagogy, the project attempts to move the field to the next phase of its evolution. In this second phase critical pedagogy seeks to truly become a worldwide, decolonizing movement dedicated to listening to and learning from diverse discourses from peoples around the planet.

[edit] Examples

[edit] History

During South African apartheid, legal racialization implemented by the regime drove members of the radical leftist Teachers' League of South Africa to employ critical pedagogy with a focus on nonracialism in Cape Town schools and prisons. Teachers collaborated loosely to subvert the racist curriculum and encourage critical examination of religious, military, political, and social circumstances in terms of spirit-friendly, humanist, and democratic ideologies. The efforts of such teachers are credited with having bolstered student resistance and activism.[3]

[edit] Literature

Authors of critical pedagogy texts include not only Paulo Freire, as mentioned above, but also Michael Apple, Kitty Kelly Epstein, Henry Giroux, Antonia Darder, bell hooks, Gloria Ladson Billings, Peter McLaren, Joe L. Kincheloe, Howard Zinn, Donaldo Macedo, Suresh Canagarajah, Khen Lampert, Alastair Pennycook, Graham Crookes and others. Educationalists including Jonathan Kozol and Parker Palmer are sometimes included in this category. Other critical pedagogues known more for their anti-schooling, unschooling, or deschooling perspectives include Ivan Illich, John Holt, Ira Shor, John Taylor Gatto, Matt Hern, and Carlo Ricci.

Much of the work draws on anarchism, feminism, Marxism, György Luk¡cs, Wilhelm Reich, postcolonialism, and the discourse theories of Edward Said, Antonio Gramsci and Michel Foucault. Radical Teacher is a magazine dedicated to critical pedagogy and issues of interest to critical educators. The Rouge Forum is an online organization led by people involved with critical pedagogy.

[edit] See also

[edit] Further reading

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b c d Critical Pedagogy on the Web
  2. ^ The Freire International Project for Critical Pedagogy
  3. ^ Wieder, Alan (2003). Voices from Cape Town Classrooms: Oral Histories of Teachers Who Fought Apartheid. History of Schools and Schooling Series, vol. 39. New York: Peter Lang. ISBN 0-8204-6768-5.



Related topics in the Connexions Subject Index

Alternatives  –  Critical Theory  –  Critical Thinking  –  Education  –  Left History  –  Libraries & Archives  –  Popular Education  –  Social Change  – 


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