Blog Post #5: What does Critical Pedagogy Mean?

After reading Freire’s article, I realize different aspects of Critical Pedagogy that I have never thought about. Paulo Freire was a Brazilian educator, and he was seen as one of the founders of critical pedagogy. I just reflect from the readings some points could be helpful to understand the critical pedagogy.

Changes the relationship between a teacher and a student.

A teacher must know their students in order to be able to teach them effectively. Creating a positive relationship between the two helps a student feel more comfortable and safer in their classroom environments. Positive teacher-student relationships draw the student into the process of learning, promote their desire to learn, and help them to attain higher levels of achievement.

Requires dialogue between a teacher and a student.

Dialogue as a human phenomenon is important in critical pedagogy. The dialogue between teachers and students can enlighten open-mindedness, mutual respect, freedom from censure, reduced role division, and space to explore. Freire emphasized on the importance of educational means that freeing people from the bondage of the culture of silence and promoting teachers and students’ critical consciousness.

Changes the baking concept of education.

Critical pedagogy can be thought of as focusing on the student. This is in line with what Freire talked about when he wished for us to consider students as subjects and owners of their own learning experiences. because people as conscious human beings, they are in the process of becoming liberated through cognitive acts, not the transformation of information. Also, this style of education limits creativeness and liberation, which is the student’s ability to form their own thoughts.

Facilitate trust and commitment.

Critical pedagogy seeks to establish a mutual relationship between teacher and students that educates both parties, creates an atmosphere of trust and commitment that should be present when authentic learning happens (Teaching Critical Thinking. Practical Wisdom, p. 22). According to Freire, “we must understand the meaning of a moment of silence, of a smile, or even of an instance in which someone needs to leave the room. Or the fact that a question was asked perhaps a little discourteously. After all, our teaching space is a text that has to be constantly read, interpreted, written, and rewritten”.

Supports students’ empowerment.

Empowerment is essential to critical pedagogy, given that the students are meant to play an engaged role in the learning process. students should feel empowered and valued in the classroom rather than discouraged. A few of the articles mentioned the limits in top-down teaching, but the goal should be to facilitate student learning rather than merely teaching content. This breaks down the boundaries between inside and outside of a classroom and not only fosters student agency in the learning process but also will best prepare students for higher-level coursework and empowers them as citizens outside the school.

Encourages the engagement.

The classroom cannot be a one-way transfer of knowledge. The transmission model dehumanizes the students, limits creativity, and destroys their self-worth. Instead, we must engage with them as peers, fully capable of contributing to the classroom, and worthy of respect and empowerment. So, the goal is to engage students in a learning environment that questions their own thoughts and ideas, beliefs, and practices, to think critically and gain a deeper understanding.

Attends to equity rather than equality.

Acknowledging that students have individual needs and that “one size fits all” is not always effective. Students may have different ways of learning preferences, backgrounds, previous schooling/experiences, etc. In fact, there is no one best way to educate all learners, but there are appropriate strategies that are effective to reach different types of students and assess their understanding through multiple means.

Encourages humanizing.

Humanization is the core perspective of Freire’s educational thought. Recognizing that the students are more than just receptacles and can’t be treated as such, teachers must recognize their agency, their need for creativity, their strengths and capacity for problem-solving, and their worth. Also, they must embrace pedagogy that values students’ existing knowledge, culture, and life experiences.

 Open to various ideas and perspectives.  

Multiple perspectives are essential in order to reach various students and promote their ability to adopt various perspectives. The classroom should be not a place where information is dispensed by teachers and consumed by students, but rather as a site for the production of new ideas grounded in student’s perspectives.

In conclusion, I realize that it takes courage to practice pedagogy that includes critical consciousness instead of going with the flow all the time, but what a fantastic challenge for teachers!!



One Reply to “Blog Post #5: What does Critical Pedagogy Mean?”

  1. Your summary of the readings is powerful. As I read your post, I felt excited about the possibilities involved in leading classes, but also felt overwhelmed at the complexity of facilitating learning. I have experienced learning environments where my professors empowered my classmates and me to learn together as a community. I learned the most in these classes. As I reflect on these classes, the professors leading them were teaching for at least a decade. Thus, I think it takes time and experience to build critical pedagogy skills. Overall, I agree that the first step in practicing critical pedagogy is courage to try it!

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