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CRITICAL PEDAGOGY
 

"Critical pedagogy considers how education can provide individuals with the tools to better themselves and strengthen democracy, to create a more egalitarian and just society, and thus to deploy education in a process of progressive social change.  Media literacy involves teaching the skills that will empower citizens and students to become sensitive to the politics of representations of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and other cultural differences in order to foster critical thinking and enhance democratization.  Critical media literacy aims to make viewers and readers more critical and discriminating readers and producers of texts.

"Critical media pedagogy provides students and citizens with the tools to analyze critically how texts are constructed and in turn construct and position viewers and readers.  It provides tools so that individuals can dissect the instruments of cultural domination, transform themselves from objects to subjects, from passive to active.  Thus critical media literacy is empowering, enabling students to become critical producers of meanings and texts, able to resist manipulation and domination."     

(from Douglas Kellner, "Multiple Literacies and Critical Pedagogies" in Revolutionary Pedagogies - Cultural Politics, Instituting Education, and the Discourse of Theory, Peter Pericles Trifonas, Editor, Routledge, 2000).

 

[Critical] pedagogy . . . signals how questions of audience, voice, power, and evaluation actively work to construct particular relations between teachers and students, institutions and society, and classrooms and communities. . . . Pedagogy in the critical sense illuminates the relationship among knowledge, authority, and power.          Giroux, 1994: 30

 

"The fundamental commitment of critical educators is to empower the powerless and transform those conditions which perpetuate human injustice and inequity (McLaren, 1988).  This purpose is inextricably linked to the fulfillment of what Paulo Freire (1970) defines as our "vocation" - to be truly humanized social agents in the world.  Hence, a major function of critical pedagogy is to critique, expose, and challenge the manner in which schools impact upon the political and cultural life of students.  Teachers must recognize how schools unite knowledge and power and how through this function they can work to influence or thwart the formation of critically thinking and socially active individuals.   

"Unlike traditional perspectives of education that claim to be neutral and apolitical, critical pedagogy views all education theory as intimately linked to ideologies shaped by power, politics, history and culture.  Given this view, schooling functions as a terrain of ongoing struggle over what will be accepted as legitimate knowledge and culture.  In accordance with this notion, a critical pedagogy must seriously address the concept of cultural politics y both legitimizing and challenging cultural experiences that comprise the histories and social realities that in turn comprise the forms and boundaries that give meaning to student lives. (Darder 1991, p. 77)"                Antonia Darder, 1995


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What Is Critical Pedagogy?

People You Should Know

Critical Pedagogy Web Sites

Recommended Readings -  see Bibliography

Flow Chart - Backtracking the Philosophical Foundations of Critical Pedagogy

References Cited on this page

Darder, Antonia. (1995) "Buscando America: The Contributions of Critical Latino Educators to the Academic Development and Empowerment of Latino Students in the U.S." in Multicultural Education, Critical Pedagogy and the Politics of Difference edited by Christine E. Sleeter and Peter L. McLaren, New York:  Suny Press.