Critical Pedagogy

Below is a culmination of a Jigsaw Activity about Critical Pedagogy from Freire and hooks texts. This blog post is a group activity from authors: Mary Nedela, Luisa Burgos, Alireza Farzampour, Armin Yeganeh, Brittany Hoover, James Schlitt, and Britton Hipple.

Critical pedagogy is the ability to teach dynamically, collaboratively, and innovatively to humanize students through an open dialogue between students and teachers and empower them to critically think about education in order to find undefined solutions to ambiguous problems in our society.

Higher Education and Student Affairs: An example of how I personally have been able to engage as a critical thinker has been questioning the authors of any information I read. What I mean by that is looking up their background to better understand their perspectives and potential biases that they bring to their teaching. I think this allows us to then question the information that is being taught to us. But also keeping in mind that it is not only about questioning but trying to understand more than the surface level knowledge by looking into the core or as bell hooks states the “underlying truth”.

Human Development and Family Science: All about context: All aspects of my teaching involve strengthening critical thinking skills. I empower students to consistently interrogate information, research, and textbooks through stepping into other people’s shoes. I ask students to share their personal experiences and validate them, but then ask them questions to think about how certain phenomenon might differ under varying contexts.

Environmental Design and Planning According to bell hooks, Democratic values should be protected in education. This goal could be achieved by teaching student to contribute to the ongoing commitment to social justice. At the first step, different voices should be heard and contrasting opinions should be valued in the classroom. Students should become familiar with various social justice concepts, activities, institutions, and movements.

Biochemistry This might be a bit overused, but I engage students with “Why”? I do this in review sessions. I do this in lectures. I do this when they ask for clarification. The goal of education is to allow students to critically think about the problem and try to understand what they know first in order to tackle the problem at hand.

Genetics, Bioinformatics, & Computational Biology Recognizing the reciprocal learning from student to teacher, teacher to student, because knowledge is living and falters when stagnant.

Civil Engineering The complexity of the critical pedagogy is understood through actively asking questions and real-monitoring of the students’ feedbacks. In order to improve our critical thought process as a teacher, we could ask ourselves “what would happen if” type of questions, and encourage the students to actively participate in questioning regardless of how simple the question might are. The improvements in critical pedagogy are significantly related to how teachers deal with problems from unprecedented angles.

Agricultural Education I’ve encountered many theories and pedagogies in my field but critical pedagogy is one that has caused a shift in my life and outlook on society. Critical pedagogy asks students to challenge and question the hegemony. Using this pedagogy, I’ve been able to be critically reflective of how the interrelation of race, gender, class, and power has influenced my life. I want this life-changing experience for every student that I encounter. But I also recognize that students may be resistant to critical pedagogy due to differing ideologies, fear of criticism, and/or discomfort with discussing complex issues. As an action, I need to learn more about how to engage resistant students. Another action is to keep in mind that all students have valuable input regardless of background and viewpoint.


7 thoughts on “Critical Pedagogy

  1. Hana

    Thank you all for this post! I enjoyed to see your thoughts from different disciplines. Because I’m in the field of design, I definitely agree that different voices should be heard and contrasting opinions should be valued in the classroom. It will be really helpful for students when they are in practice. It can not be done by one opinion rather design is a product of processes by collaboration with people who have different perspectives and interests. Only one thing in my mind it how we can adapt the benefits of critical pedagogy in different types of course.


  2. Tyler Quick

    Thanks for the post. I thought there were some great ideas about how to incorporate critical pedagogy into a variety of fields. I liked the comment in the civil engineering section about asking “what would happen if…?” What a great way to encourage people to think beyond our standard ideas on a topic. We find solutions to the world’s problems by thinking about change and possibilities. We do that by thinking :”what if?”


  3. Sarah Plummer

    It is really nice to see you think about critical pedagogy in different fields. Sometimes I think those of us who teach in the humanities have it easy, or struggle in how to incorporate technology. It is harder in many of the sciences to think about how to incorporate these ideas. But, I’m really interested in thinking about how other disciplines do this…in part because I’m in an interdisciplinary program and I’m going to have to think about this issue later on. Awesome job!


  4. maryamyuhas

    I really like reading about critical pedagogy from the different fields. Its great to see how others apply it. It definitely inspires me to think about different ways in my own field!


  5. amyhermundstad

    I really enjoyed this post! I love how you all incorporated perspectives from your own fields. It is really interesting to think about how different disciplines might incorporate critical pedagogy and then further reflect on our own disciplines and interdisciplinary collaborations. Thanks for the post!


  6. whadden1

    Thanks for posting! It’s interesting to hear how all of you are working towards incorporating critical pedagogy concepts in your own classrooms in very different fields. It goes to show that getting to know a student, make them feel valued, and pushing them to think deeper spans across all disciplines.


  7. Sevda

    Thanks for the post! It is nice to see how critical pedagogy might be applied to each of your fields or classes. And this shows us how much this topic is inside of our disciplines and not that hard to apply it to our classrooms regardless of the field.



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