Evolving 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.

word cloud

A #hashtag word cloud of how we define critical pedagogy using Freire and hooks texts

DEFINE: 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 engaged 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 on 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 personally 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 on how to engage resistant students. Another action is to keep in mind that all students have valuable input regardless of background and viewpoint.


3 thoughts on “Evolving Critical Pedagogy

  1. Good afternoon team,

    I love how your “word” definition catered to both the perspective of the teacher and the student. It allows accountability for both which I think is super critical when discussing education as it should be a 360 degree process. YES………..”knowledge is living and falters when stagnant”. Absolutely correct! Great job!


    Cheers, Lehi


  2. I really enjoyed your post and I really appreciated your reflections! I think it is so interesting to learn more about other fields and reflect on my own field and see connections between the two. Thanks for the post!


  3. I really enjoyed the layout of this post. The image is effective and it really helps as a reader to have your description of the topic before your various wonderful reflections. The ability to understand how these ideas fit within your specific disciplines and teaching interests is very useful and can be quite exciting. Great job.


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