Week 12 (Critical Pedagogy)

This week’s readings talked about critical pedagogy and brought forth a lot of different ideas and thoughts. For me, especially, the readings hit home in the sense that they made me look at some different aspects of my own teaching that may or may not need to be changed. (Freire) spoke about the ‘banking system of learning’ and explained that this system, the idea of students being vessels for knowledge that the teacher is in charge of filling up, is used throughout higher education. Although I disagree with some of his writing, I can see where, with time and classroom constraints, this system can be beneficial to some students, and that needs to be understood by teachers as well.

This semester, we have talked a lot about changing the way higher education is taught and maybe changing our own teaching techniques to fit in with some of this semester’s readings and ideas. This week’s readings have shown me that, yes, higher education can use some changes and a contemporary pedagogy approach may be beneficial to higher education and set forth some ideas for change. However, there are some ways of teaching that do work for student in higher education. I am not saying to stick with the ‘old school’ lecture and test model for all classes and students. But I am saying that the old school system may work in some instances and for some students. I think that critical thinking is not only crucial in higher education but I would even say it is the point. I understand that the ‘lecture’ model may just be a way for students to memorize information and restate it on a test but there are some students, in specific classes, that think critically and ask questions to fill in gaps and can ‘get,’ understand, the material critically thinking. All I am saying is that some methods that have worked for ages may still work in today’s society, even with the inordinate amount of changes going on around us.

I think this class, contemporary pedagogy, is extremely beneficial in the way that it gives me ideas as to how to change my teaching. It allows my mind to open up and understand and accept how these changes can change my teaching style as well as my students learning. I can see amazing benefits to some of these changes. But, to be honest, I can also see benefits to the classical ways of teaching. Not everything needs changing. Knowing each student and how they learn and each class and how it can be taught is of extreme importance when trying to be the best teacher you can be. So, the knowledge this class has given me has made me ‘critically’ think about what changes I can and should make and what changes may not need to be made.

5 Replies to “Week 12 (Critical Pedagogy)”

  1. Hey Chris! Thanks for your post. I do agree with you that there are certain classes and instances where the more “classical” ways of teaching might be appropriate. For example, large classes of 100 people make it tough logistically to be more interactive and get to know every single person. As you alluded to, there are students who do just fine in these types of classes, and we should be respectful to their learning styles as well. I have actually been impressed with how interactive our pedagogy class has become because I did not have that expectation coming into the semester. The credit should go to Homero and the crew for being able to craft this class in an engaging way.

  2. Hey Chris,

    I think it is always good to remember not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, etc. It’s often faster to tell someone something than wait for them to intuit it themselves. The thing I often get stuck on in this discussion is what people mean when they talk about how these methods sometimes “work”.

    I teach a research methods class that relies very heavily on statistics the students should come in knowing. It has made me incredibly skeptical of survey classes or anything that aims to “cover content” as quickly as possible as if there’s some magic to students having heard something once if they won’t remember it after the class and don’t understand why they’re bothering to learn it. Perhaps if we define what “works” in terms of what will end up with students getting an A in a class, the banking model will work for some (although I’m always skeptical of who is and isn’t included in “some”, and whether it’s equitably distributed), but did it teach a single one of these budding scientists how to explain to their boss what should be done based off of a statistical test? In my experience, not even for the very best students.

    To be clear, I do still lecture in the classes I teach. There are some things I need to make sure my students know before we dive more deeply into applications and critical thinking, and there’s a lot of value in me bringing them up directly instead of hoping my students will intuit what I want them to talk or think about. I think it generally makes more sense to make that call on a lesson-by-lesson basis instead of saying there are some courses which “work” taught entirely as lectures. I’m just not convinced that’s the case whenever you start to look farther than grades (or sparking deeper inspiration in the few who were predisposed to it) for what “works”.

  3. Hi there! I enjoyed reading your post because I think you offer practical advice: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that don’t “work,” but you encourage us to think about the things that DO work. Some of the posts I’ve read thus far suggest that institutions need to adapt to the ever-changing climate of higher education. A part of adapting means using our previous skills (or learning new ones) to be successful in a new situation/environment. If we want to keep advancing, we have to consider what works and how we can make it even more efficient and effective. There’s definitely a way to bring these two opposing sides together.

  4. I like the way you summarized your thoughts for the class in this blog, touching a lot of issues that we discussed throughout the semester. Critical thing is extremely important for students to develop a thinking brain rather than have a passive brain. The issue of old school learning learning vs new techniques and changes is pretty subjective and is open to interpretation. That is what makes every course offered unique and interesting. I do agree that we learnt a lot throughout the semester and the techniques are extremely beneficial for us as future professoriates.

    Great Post!

    Keep up the good work.

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