Critical Pedagogy

Critical pedagogy is a teaching approach which attempts to help students question and challenge domination, and the beliefs and practices that dominate. In other words, it is a theory and practice of helping students achieve critical consciousness. Critical pedagogic educator 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 cliches, 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.

In this tradition the teacher works to lead students to question ideologies and practices considered oppressive (including those at school), and encourage liberatory collective and individual responses to the actual conditions of their own lives.

The student often begins as a member of the group or process (including religion, national identity, cultural norms, or expected roles) they are critically studying. After they reach the point of revelation where they begin to view their present society as deeply problematic, the next behavior encouraged is sharing this knowledge with the attempt to change the oppressive nature of the society.

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