Critical Pedagogy

Thinking of teaching as an act of love was extremely interesting, as I have always said that I want to teach because I love learning, and I want to share that with others. However, thinking of the banking concept vs problem posing education was also very thought provoking. I think it can be all too easy to slip into a mode where we believe we are solely the teacher and the student’s job is to get filled with knowledge, especially with standardized testing and assessments being so emphasized in our society.

I think of several professors, both in my past and those of classes my friends have been in, who didn’t seem to care about their students as human beings. They focused only on cramming information into brains and on data or tests as the only marker of progress. Those classes were extremely stressful and made me feel that I was not good enough no matter how much I was truly learning. Similarly, I never would have felt as a student that I could teach those professors anything.

In contrast, I have taken classes where the teachers were much more willing to engage in dialogues. I felt that as a student, I could ask questions for the sake of pure curiosity on the subject. They weren’t always questions that the professors knew, but especially in lab settings, we were able to research the question together, and I felt that the teacher was as dedicated to wanting to learn and find those answers as I was.

These differences have been able to change my entire outlooks on course materials; I have been discouraged from learning at all in classrooms where I have felt dehumanized, although I wasn’t able to identify that feeling at the time. This unit was a good reminder to always be committed to treating my students as humans, engaging them in dialogues, and always being prepared to learn myself, even as a teacher.

4 thoughts on “Critical Pedagogy

  • November 11, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    Hi, Allison! I enjoyed reading your post. I wrote about a similar experience of witnessing teachers (regardless of status) belittle students out of reactionary place. I like how Freire encourages us to create an environment of openness, where students AND teachers feel like their voices can be heard. I wrote about how defensive responses from teachers can deter students from ever speaking up again. On the contrary, a positive experience can change how you feel about the entire topic!

  • November 11, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    Hi Allison! Thank you for sharing your perspective. I LOVE learning too. As Darder mentioned, I have found learning to be an “emancipatory” opportunity. I believe it is our obligation to provide space where students have the “freedom” to be partners in their learning. I agree I have had experiences where teachers were “The Sage on the Stage” and if you asked a question contrary to the idea or concept, you were “hushed” or dejected. I have also had the experience, even at an early age, where students were encouraged to be critical thinkers and question the status quo without reprimand. My takeaway from the readings about critical pedagogy is that it is our obligation as facilitators of learning to “awaken the critical consciousness” with our students and “challenge our limitations” because when these experiences happen, we move closer to understanding the true humanity we all share.

  • November 15, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    Hello Allison, I believe most students can relate to your write up. I believe at some point we have all had teachers who didn’t really care about their students and all they cared about what to make sure they cover all the materials in the syllabus. I believe if they though of teaching as an act of love, they would have done much more as well as making the students enjoy the class rather than feel stressed.

  • December 1, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    Hello, I agree; the classrooms where the professors show that they care about their students and their opinions create a better learning environment. Students are more willing to talk and create an open dialogue. Instead of the classroom feeling like a room where you’re only listening to Dictation, the environment feels more of a mentor-mentee relationship. Alexandria Rossi Alvarez

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