I was quite shocked when I learned of Critical Pedagogy through this lesson. I have been worried for a long time (just this week) why I did not receive such education. In my country, people who learn a lot of knowledge, and the think based on that knowledge called “smart”. Under such an educational reality, it was impossible to imagine a suspicious act of knowledge from teachers and books. If I have been suspicious and critical in my knowledge, it would not have been natural for knowledge to be forgotten.
Through Paulo Freire’s belief in education, I deeply wondered how to teach my students if I become a teacher.
“Critical pedagogy is teaching approach which attempts to help students question and challenge domination, and the beliefs and practices that dominate them. It tries to help students become critically conscious.”
So how can we make students critically conscious?
Ira Shor defines “critically conscious” in Empowering Education (1992):
“A student can be critically conscious by thinking, reading, writing, and speaking while going beneath the surface meaning. A student must go beyond myths, clichés, received wisdom, and mere opinions. Most importantly, students must understand the deep meaning, root causes, social contexts, and personal consequences of any action, events objects, process, organization, experience, text, subject matter, policy mass media and discourse.”
It is not a simple thing to go beyond the generally recognized dominant opinion. Creating a student who thinks, “Maybe not,” feels curious and rethinking without accepting things and knowledge, but it feels like a very difficult task. Educating students to accept my opinions critically can sound like a contradiction. My conclusion is that the ultimate goal is critical pedagogy, but it is rather radical when considering the reality of education. In the middle of it, I believe that mindful learning/teaching and inclusive pedagogy give students experiences to find happiness and find something they like and value, rather than conveying knowledge. I think that critical pedagogy is probably the next step after these are accepted.