Critical Pedagogy

Critical Pedagogy

What does Critical Pedagogy mean?

Critical pedagogy is teaching and learning as a shared interaction to challenge the preconceived knowledge and perceptions leading to individual empowerment and social change.

Group Conception of Critical Pedagogy

Critical Pedagogy can be applied to the following fields:

(Angelica) Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Critical pedagogy can be applied to educational leadership in several ways. Honestly, the leaders in education should be those that are aware of critical pedagogy and provide teachers in the classroom with the freedom to teach using critical pedagogy. Leadership should help students develop consciousness of freedom and encourage them to take constructive action. Within critical pedagogy, students should recognize authoritarian tendencies and be able to challenge the theory behind what they are learning. By fostering the intent of curiosity in children, one is teaching the learner to continuously learn. An educational leader’s responsibility is to create knowledge by learning “why” and encouraging learners to always ask “why”.

 

(Jon LLoyd) Sociology/Criminology/Peace Studies & Violence Prevention

Critical Pedagogy empowers those who institutions silence, it returns conversation and curiosity to the children whose schools ground it out of them, it invites criticism and skepticism rather than punish it.

I implement critical pedagogy by inviting skepticism of knowledge systems and privileging difficult questions and marginalized knowledge. This might be by showing how “everyday” rituals, beliefs, structures, or practices are rooted in white supremacist ideology, asking provocative and unexpected questions like “Why do overpasses oppress people and who decided that was a good idea?” And it might be as simple as opening the class floor after asking, “Okay, we’ve got a good handle on the problem…now, what do you want to do about it?” In terms of teaching skills, I’m interested by the idea of relating to the familiar. Recently, I’ve read about music educators using hip-hop as a form of critical pedagogy, in particular using lyrical analysis. As my disciplines call special attention to reframing the everyday experience, such an approach might prove exceptionally useful.

 

(Riya) Physics / Science Education

Shifting from traditional lecture based classes to interactive, engaging discussion based classes, where the student and instructor are mutual learners and teachers. Creating a collaborative platform inside and outside the classrooms, where everyone has the opportunity and choice to voice their opinions and ask questions fearlessly. Knowing your students, their limitations and vulnerabilities and incorporating such tools in the lecture that would help them overcome these. Being more than a lecturer in classroom, going beyond the assigned material; engaging students to work together to develop practical experimental set-ups; forcing them to think the importance and relevance of the topic being taught. Practicing learner-based teaching: asking students to form groups and come up with ideas or topics that they would like to be discussed.  The core idea is to empower students through the learning process, to help them become independent individuals with ideas, opinions, and a lot of questions.

 

(John B.) Geology/Natural Sciences

One way of applying critical pedagogy to the natural sciences is how to effectively teach the vocabulary and scientific concepts of a field for an audience at various “skill” levels of the individual students.  In this field, the ability to question concepts to better understand the material in both the classroom and in the real world. Outside the large classroom size of the introductory classes that teaches non-majors, most of the classes are peer-based and utilizes group teaching methods.  With geology being a complex field and a lot of concepts are not readily seen in the real world, opinions are usually welcome at various skill levels to comment and theorize.

 

(Maha) Computer Engineering/Maths

One way of applying critical pedagogy in teaching a math class is to let students go beyond the lecture and ask questions.

http://www.radicalmath.org/ is a link that contains ways of integrating social and economical justice into math classes.

In a computer engineering class (like machine learning), an example of applying critical pedagogy is giving the students a chance and freedom to apply the methods learned in class to their own field. For example, if the student field is transportation/traffic, they can apply “neural networks” to predict the traffic flow on a highway segment.

 

(Pallavi) Sociology/ Post Colonial Studies/ International Development   

Critical Pedagogy is an excellent tool to teach and learn sociological concepts. Sociological concepts include learning about inequalities to address local and global social problems. Addressing the question of inequalities include discussions around gender, race, income, etc. Discussing these topics can lead to emotive responses in the class. To ensure that students learn to critically analyze these societal issues one needs to include various strategies. When I teach my courses before starting any lecture or discussion, I make sure to start with a strong example to demonstrate that this is a ‘real’ issue affecting all of us together. For instance, before discussing gender inequality persisting in society, I will show a documentary analyzing wage gap between both the genders in the US.  These strategies help students to understand and connect to the issue and makes it easier for them to grasp the concepts. In addition to ensuring that the students learn to critically analyze these concepts, I make them engage in various group activities to discuss social issues and possible solution to these issues. These group activities help them to share their learning with each other, and they also learn together, in addition to building the community.

Group 6 Members: (“We’re the best, around! Nothing’s ever gonna keep us down!)

– Angelica Stovall (Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom),

– Riya Nandi (Bell Hooks: Democratic Education, Engaged Pedagogy)

– Maha Elouni (Joe L. Kinchloe, “Moving to Critical Complexity,” in The Critical Pedagogy Primer (2004), pp. 108-110)

Jonathan LLoyd (bell hooks,”Critical Thinking” in Teaching critical thinking: Practical wisdom. Routledge.)

– Pallavi Raonka – Joe L. Kinchloe, “Paulo Freire (1921-1997)” in The Critical Pedagogy Primer (2004), pp. 69-75

-John Bartos – (Paper 3) Paulo Freire: Chapter 2 of Pedagogy of the Oppressed

33 thoughts on “Critical Pedagogy

  • April 13, 2019 at 7:38 pm
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    First, I just wanted to say I love the word cloud shaped like a graduation cap for your group’s conceptualization of critical pedagogy–having the words form that shape really drives home what those words mean for higher education and those who have access to it, versus those who do not. It also aligns perfectly with your definitions and examples of how to apply critical pedagogy to your disciplines. It’s random, but I am curious if you chose the Karate Kid song quote intentionally as your group motto to express empowerment of students by great teachers?

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    • April 17, 2019 at 12:38 pm
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      Thanks…The group thought it would be a great touch as in our world critical pedagogy leads to graduation. All of the words truly describe what critical pedagogy means to us. Each person in the group thought of words that came to mind when thinking of the concept. The quote wasn’t me it was another group member 🙂

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  • April 14, 2019 at 5:51 pm
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    I also use machine learning in the urban context, coupled with my own experiences learning as a student, the hands-on, real world problem solving approach definitely engages students. This past summer while working with UG on data science, while we had an overarching product, I allowed students to pick an area that interested them. I treated their projects not as side projects, but as a full component of the project deliverables for the client. From my role as project manager, I could see a change in students motivation and excitement after seeing the client really engage their interest areas.

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    • April 17, 2019 at 12:40 pm
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      I think it is important to read our students to see what motivates them and change our teaching style to assist them in the learning process. I appreciate your reflection.

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    • April 17, 2019 at 7:51 pm
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      Please stay tuned! You are going to love Dr. Murzi’s discussion of his PBL experience in Australia tonight.

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  • April 15, 2019 at 3:33 pm
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    Maha’s point about “giving the students a chance and freedom to apply the methods learned in class to their own field” is a great one. We’ve talked about incorporating projects into our syllabi instead of tests for assessment purposes. What do you see as the role of assessment from a critical pedagogy perspective? It seems like the purpose of assessment is to gauge a student’s understanding of the material, whereas critical pedagogy encourages students to look beyond the material. Is it possible to incorporate critical pedagogy practices into our assessments?

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    • April 17, 2019 at 12:43 pm
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      Honestly, I think we should assess students through real life assessments by using projects as well as short essays to see if a student truly understands what they are being taught. We definitely can incorporate critical pedagogy into our assessments by doing this because they students are learning hands-on as well as the reflections that take place during essays often help a student learn more about how they think about a topic.

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  • April 15, 2019 at 11:32 pm
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    I like this line in Jon’s point: critical pedagogy “invites criticism and skepticism rather than punish it.” I think many times, teachers are reluctant to invite skepticism because they fear a student might ask a question they may not have an answer to. For me, I straight up tell my students at the beginning of the course that I do not have all the answers, and they should not be disappointed if I don’t know the answer to a question. Having said this, I now invite them to be skeptical and critical of course concepts and theories as they see fit. This has made my class very interactive and engaging.

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    • April 17, 2019 at 12:46 pm
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      I agree with you whole-heartedly. I do the same. I have no shame in informing someone I do not know the answer. We are all human and I think it helps the student relate when they know you do not know “everything”. We should be honest with our students to establish rapport as well as continue to teach them while we learn. In opportunities like this the teacher and use as a learning and teaching experience.

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  • April 16, 2019 at 2:09 am
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    I agree with Angelica’s thought of how “within critical pedagogy, students should recognize authoritarian tendencies and be able to challenge the theory behind what they are learning. I was always wary of criticizing authority, especially in the classroom since I always thought the professor was always right or “the theory or science must be correct.” I remember my senior seminar project where I had to present and critique three research studies. It was really difficult for me to find flaws in their studies because of my perception where the scientist is always right. To me, they always conduct “near perfect” studies. Well, turns out the lead researcher for one of the studies was caught a year later with data falsification.

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    • April 17, 2019 at 12:49 pm
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      Never question yourself! If you ever have a question, ask. I have always told everyone I know, there is no one that can stop me from asking something because even if the answer is no, I am in no worse place than I was before. This also applies to education. If someone wants to know more or need an explanation, it is critical that they ask. Sometimes even the teacher needs a different perspective to truly understand what they are saying to a group of students.

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  • April 16, 2019 at 11:58 am
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    I recently took part in a workshop Algorithms That Make You Think where a lot of ‘social fairness’ and ‘critical thinking on behalf of student’ questions came up. Them more I read, the more I thought about how ethics in critical pedagogy with regards to technology would be a good thing to have in multiple disciplines. This group’s post has hit a couple of points where students should have the freedom to learn and a provocative learning environment. When you have this safe space to work in I think the hard questions of technology could be asked from both a humanities perspective and a engineering perspective. Nice read!

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    • April 17, 2019 at 12:51 pm
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      You’re exactly right…students should know they have the freedom to ask questions and learn as much as they can. The classroom should be a safe place but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Administrators should make it a point to inform teachers and faculty to make their classrooms a safe place to learn and advocate for questions from students.

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  • April 16, 2019 at 5:50 pm
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    I really like your definition for critical pedagogy! It starts small, with just encompassing the learning process but then brings in the fact that what we learn and how we learn it can impact many people and the world! I also appreciate your thoughts on challenging what we are taught. I feel like students now have become robots and take all of the knowledge that they are taught at face value. Unfortunately, I think that our professors allow this to happen by not teaching us to critically evaluate everything we learn.

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    • April 17, 2019 at 12:55 pm
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      I agree that some professors want the students to just memorize the information and move on, but is that really learning. Yes, it makes it easier for the faculty as they can have a teaching plan and get through it but it doesn’t truly grasp at critical pedagogy. The professors should be learning while teaching and I feel this can only be done when one gets the perspective of their students as well as get challenged on some of their thoughts and opinions. This causes one to look further and research more, which leads to additional learning.

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  • April 16, 2019 at 7:01 pm
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    I share everyone else’s compliments to your definition of critical pedagogy – I feel like you really captured it well. Also the grad cap word cloud is awesome – I can’t wait to try that.

    Jelli’s comments really spoke to me. I feel the administration/leadership is what is holding many of us back from making paradigm shift-level improvements in our teaching. It seems like it is easier for them to promote the status quo instead of embracing experimental change. I wish it were different.

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    • April 17, 2019 at 12:57 pm
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      Thanks, we worked a long time on making sure it captured each one of our groups thoughts on the definition of critical pedagogy. When it comes to learning, I think it starts with administration because they are the ones that create policy as well as they complete evaluations which lead to pay. I find it difficult to place all the blame on teachers, faculty and professors, it starts at the top. Expectations are set by the administration and when it come to education, we should have higher standards.

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  • April 16, 2019 at 8:18 pm
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    Jon,

    Thank you for sharing the article on utilizing hip-hop as critical pedagogy. It was a great read. The article brings up a few ways such as composing beats and writing informed wraps, or playing musical lyrics that speak on an issue. I was curious if you had thought about how you would incorporate this method or a similar one you have read about in your classroom.

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    • April 17, 2019 at 1:00 pm
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      I have not had much time to think about it but I know I will try to incorporate it in some fashion. Just learning myself what critical pedagogy is I have learned a lot and will be making several changes in the future.

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  • April 17, 2019 at 12:43 am
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    Love the graduation cap!! That was some much needed motivation at this time of year!!
    Jellie’s comment, “By fostering the intent of curiosity in children, one is teaching the learner to continuously learn” resonated with me. Too often curiosity takes a back seat and is secondary to getting through the curriculum. I agree that the “why” questions are needed and that is does help students remain lifelong learners because they are always seeking for more knowledge.

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  • April 17, 2019 at 1:01 pm
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    Thank you, we definitely can use that cap as a motivator. Yes, we should always ask why! I am a strong believer in asking for more information if I do not understand.

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  • April 17, 2019 at 5:11 pm
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    I love the definition of critical pedagogy you made concluding with empowerment and social change, which are the ultimate goal of critical pedagogy. It seems that for some fields like engineering, physics, math it is more difficult to apply critical pedagogy in their teaching and learning, but I was impressed by the various ways you’ve shared. Thank you for the post!

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  • April 17, 2019 at 5:57 pm
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    Well done! This post looks great. It shows that you thought about it. I would like to focus my comments on the portion of the post that says “Knowing your students, their limitations and vulnerabilities and incorporating such tools in the lecture that would help them overcome these.” I share this belief. Students should be told that it is fine to have weaknesses and shortcomings. Everybody does. They shouldn’t feel insecure in school. They should bring everything they know and be humble enough to learn more. This is the kind of environment were true learning happens. One in which the students can be secure in their vulnerability. Thanks again for the post.

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  • April 17, 2019 at 8:23 pm
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    I like your idea of the graduation cap. After all, that is every student’s goal. I think by applying critical pedagogical techniques to the education system can improve learning and add value to it. I like your definition of critical pedagogy based on “individual empowerment ” through interactive learning and how you demonstrate it in different fields. I agree with Riya’s thought on interactive classrooms; ” Knowing your students, their limitations and vulnerabilities and incorporating such tools in the lecture that would help them overcome these”. Every student brings their own experience to the classroom. it is an advantage for students that they can share there own thought and here others and learn as a group.

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  • April 17, 2019 at 8:24 pm
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    I loved the video and the graduation cap idea at the beginning. I particularly resonated with Riya’s sentence “The core idea is to empower students through the learning process, to help them become independent individuals with ideas, opinions, and a lot of questions.” I think it sums up a teacher’s role perfectly.

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  • April 17, 2019 at 8:40 pm
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    I like the website, called RadicalMath, introduced by Maha about integrating social and economical justice into math classes. I think social sciences contain tangible topics for all types of audience, as opposed to math which is often abstract and potentially boring. Mixing these two together is a genius idea to truly implement an interactive critical pedagogy!

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  • April 17, 2019 at 9:03 pm
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    Firstly, I really like your group’s graphic of a word cloud in the shape of a graduation cap. It’s just a small visual element but I think it does an excellent job of representing the connection between critical pedagogy and higher education.

    Secondly, Angelica, I particularly enjoyed your comments about the role of university leadership in instituting critical pedagogy. Certainly some responsibility can be placed on students to learn, as we have discussed in this class throughout the semester. However, I do agree that the onus is on the leadership to really put an effort into creating an environment where a critical pedagogical approach is the norm. “Leadership” I think can refer not just to the bureaucracy of the university, and the higher ups in the hierarchy but to instructors/professors as well. Anyone who is in a position to educate students or control the trajectory of a student’s education is responsible.

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  • April 17, 2019 at 9:20 pm
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    I think the theme of meeting students where they are and making the experience meaningful for them comes through clearly here. Education should be for the people who are “consuming” it, not simply a process or job for people. I think Jon’s comment on fostering people of different skill levels is spot on and is a big part of critical pedagogy.

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  • April 17, 2019 at 9:29 pm
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    I really like the video. I thought it summed it up very nicely.

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  • April 17, 2019 at 9:40 pm
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    First, I loved the video!

    Second, I really enjoyed the different techniques presented to incorporate critical pedagogy in different fields. I personally find it challenging incorporaate critical pedagogy into mySTEM field, but the ideas in the post really enhanced my perspective! thank you all

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  • April 17, 2019 at 11:06 pm
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    Wow .very nice video! I enjoyed reading your post. Especially the part on engineering resonate with me since I am an engineer. I think we need more reflection and dialogue in engineering classroom since usually it taught on convectional lecture-based approaches.
    Nice job Thanks

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  • April 17, 2019 at 11:33 pm
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    I like this post, which provides different useful thoughts of the group members!
    I love the video and the word cloud. Also, Maha has mentioned great example of machine learning where critical pedagogy presents, so th students here have the chance and freedom to apply and do activities.
    Thank you for sharing this!

    Reply

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