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What is Critical Pedagogy?. A Summary of the Work of Paulo Freire & His Contemporaries. (Winton, 2006). Paulo Freire - Background. Freire was born in Recife, Brazil. He was born into a middle class household. His family was impacted by the Great Depression.

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What is critical pedagogy

What is Critical Pedagogy?

A Summary of the Work of

Paulo Freire & His


(Winton, 2006)

Paulo freire background
Paulo Freire - Background

  • Freire was born in Recife, Brazil.

  • He was born into a middle class household.

  • His family was impacted by the Great Depression.

  • Freire soon knew what it was like to go hungry.

    (Stevens, 2002)

Av Rio Branco on Recife Island, with a bit of Ponte Buarque de Macedo in the distance, c. 1920s.

(Morrison, 2006)

Characteristics of the great depression
Characteristics of the Great Depression

  • We have studied the Great Depression at length this year.

  • Jot down some social & economic repercussions of the Great Depression across the globe.

  • How do the points you’ve indicated tie into Freire’s “hunger” both literally and metaphorically?

Billboard in a town telling men who have been riding the train carts across the country in search of work not to stop in this town, since they can’t even employ their own locals

(San Diego State University, 2006)

Paulo freire on his poverty
Paulo Freire on his Poverty

  • Freire stated that poverty and hunger severely affected his ability to learn.

  • This influenced his decision to dedicate his life to improving the lives of the poor:

    “I didn't understand anything because of my hunger. I wasn't dumb. It wasn't lack of interest. My social condition didn't allow me to have an education. Experience showed me once again the relationship between social class and knowledge" (Freire).

    (Stevens, 2002)

Child collecting garbage in Brazil for income

(Flickr, 2008)

Freire s career
Freire’s Career

  • Freire's financial situation eventually improved.

  • He enrolled at the University of Recife, where he earned a law degree.

  • He soon left the legal profession choosing to teach Portuguese in Brazil’s high schools.

  • He later switched from teaching high school to a career in adult education.

    (Stevens, 2002)

Faculty of Law, University of Recife

(Cabral de Moura, 2007)

Freire s career cont d
Freire’s Career (Cont’d)

  • Freire completed his PhD and worked in several university and government agencies in Brazil throughout the 1960s.

  • He worked towards bringing literacy programs to Brazil’s poor.

  • In April of 1964, a military coup brought all progressive movements in Brazil to a halt.

  • Freire was imprisoned for 70 days and then exiled for his "subversive" activities.

    (Stevens, 2002)

c. 1960s

(Reason Foundation, 2008)

Jailed for being progressive
Jailed for being Progressive?

  • We’ve studied many people throughout the course of the year who were jailed for being progressive; for wanting change in their societies.

  • Write down the names of a few people who were incarcerated for being “subversive”.

  • What connections can you make about being progressive (i.e. wanting change) and governmental status quo?

  • Why do governments feel the need to silence people who want change?

Jail Cell

(IntLawGrrls, 2007)

Freire s career cont d1
Freire’s Career (Cont’d)

  • In 1968 Freire published his most famous book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, where he outlined the characteristics of what he called Critical Pedagogy.

  • Critical Pedagogy called for people living under conditions of oppression to develop a new foundation for learning. (Stevens, 2002)

Book cover of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 30th Anniversary Ed.

(Amazon, 2008)

What is oppression
What is Oppression?

  • We use this word a great deal in our study of 20th Century history.

  • What does oppression really mean? Write down your own definition.

  • Research definitions of oppression on the Internet. How do these definitions compare or contrast with your own?

  • Name groups of people whom we have studied that you feel were oppressed?

  • What oppressed these people? Who oppressed them?

Critical pedagogy
Critical Pedagogy

  • Critical Pedagogy was embraced by the academic community and university scholars.

  • There has been a lot written about critical pedagogy since Freire’s first text.

  • Important names in the field include:

    • Kincheloe

    • Macedo

    • Wexler

    • McLaren

    • Shor

    • Darder

    • Giroux

    • hooks (Kincheloe, 2007)

      (Duncan-Andrade & Morrell, 2008)


(The Paulo & Nita Freire Project for Critical Pedagogy, 2008)


(University of Western Ontario, 2005)

What is critical pedagogy1
What is Critical Pedagogy?

  • Critical pedagogy is a 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.

    (Wikpedia, 2008)

How to be critically conscious
How to be Critically Conscious?

  • According to Ira Shor (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

Amazon, 2008

How to be critically conscious cont d
How to be Critically Conscious? (Cont’d)

Most importantly students must understand the deep meaning, root causes, social context,and personal consequences of:

  • any action,

  • event,

  • object,

  • process,

  • organization,

  • experience,

  • text,

  • subject matter,

  • policy,

  • mass media,

  • or discourse.

    (Shor, 1992)

Ira Shor & Paulo Freire

(Columbia University, 2008)

Characteristics of critical pedagogy
Characteristics of Critical Pedagogy

  • The following is a list of the goals and methods that critical pedagogy tries to bring to education.

  • The objective of this pedagogy (method of education) is to empower students and help them help themselves.

  • The aim is to liberate students from oppression.

1 anti colonial education
1. Anti-Colonial Education

  • Native populations need to have their own education systems.

  • They need to develop their own culture.

  • Their education should not simply be an extension of the culture of their colonizer.

    (Freire, 1968)


Map of Brazil issued by the Portuguese explorers in 1519. (Wikipedia, 2008)

2 the role of indigenous knowledge
2. The Role of Indigenous Knowledge

  • The knowledge of indigenous and subjugated peoples (people forced to submit to the will of another group) is very important.

  • When oppressed people learn about their own culture, history, medicinal practices, religion, heritage, etc., this can have a transformative effect on their lives and lead to their own empowerment.

  • Indigenous knowledge is equally important for people in the West who have ignored it in favour of Western knowledge.

  • There is much to be learnt from the knowledge of indigenous peoples across the globe.

    (Kincheloe, 2007)


Indigenous medical practitioners known as sesayas in Myanmar cure diseases using natural elements throughout the country (AllMyanmar, 2008).

3 identifying sources of power
3. Identifying Sources of Power

  • Students must be able to analyze competing power interests between groups and individuals within a society.

  • They must be able to identify who gains and who loses in specific situations.

  • They must be made aware that privileged groups often have an interest in supporting the status quo to protect their advantages.

    (Kincheloe, 2007)


4 political nature of education
4. Political Nature of Education

  • All education is political.

  • Teachers and students must be made aware of the “politics” that surround education.

  • The way students are taught and what they are taught serves a political agenda.

  • Teachers, themselves, have political notions, they bring into the classroom.

    (Kincheloe, 2008)


President Bush visiting the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota on the morning of 9/11 promoting his “Reading First” educational program (Lexidiem, 2006)

5 understanding the politics of knowledge
5. Understanding the Politics of Knowledge

  • Students must understand that knowledge itself is political.

  • Understanding the “power” of knowlegde is crucial.

  • Many educational instiutions use their “power” to keep the privileged on top and the underprivileged on the bottom.

  • What we learn in schools/universities is usually “validated" scientific knowledge.

  • The problem?

    • Often the people who produced this “scientific” knowledge are the people in positions of power who dominate over oppressed peoples!

  • How much of the knowledge thay you have learnt in school is Western and written by dead, white males?

    (Kincheloe, 2008)


6 justice equality in education
6. Justice & Equality in Education

  • A social and educational vision of justice and equality should be the basis of all education

    (Kincheloe, 2008)


School children in Soweto, South Africa (1976) rioting against government’s plans to introduce Afrikaans as the official language of instruction (NPR, 2008).

7 the rejection of economic determinism
7. The Rejection of Economic Determinism

  • Critical Pedagogy understands that economic factors alone do not predetermine who has power and who does not.

  • Students must be made to realize that people are also oppressed because of issues of:

    • race,

    • class,

    • gender,

    • sexuality,

    • religion,

    • and physical ability(Kincheloe, 2008)


A rally in protest of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High at the state capitol, August 20, 1959 (McElrath, 2008).

8 goal of schooling is to lessen human suffering
8. Goal of Schooling is to Lessen Human Suffering

  • The alleviation of oppression and human suffering is a key aspect of the purpose of education

    (Kincheloe, 2008)


A group of women who have just completed 3 months at a brand-new literacy program one hour outside of Kano. The program was started by local pastors, who also serve as the teachers. The NGO Hands at Work is now partnering with them to assist in any way possible (Hardie, 2007).

9 end of banking system of education
9. End of “Banking System” of Education

  • Students should not be viewed as an empty “account” to be filled in by the teacher.

  • Teachers should know that students have life experiences and their own knowledge that is key in shaping their education and learning.

  • Good schools do not blame students for their failures or strip students of the knowledges they bring to the classroom.

    (Freire, 1968) (Kincheloe, 2008)


A traditional classroom scene from 1935 (Biz/Ed, 2008)

10 change in relationship between student and teacher
10. Change in Relationship between Student and Teacher

  • A deep respect shoud exist between teacher and student.

  • We should think in terms of teacher-student and student-teacher - that is:

    • a teacher who learns and

    • a learner who teaches

      (Freire, 1968)


Teacher & Student in Louisiana (LSU College of Education, 2006)

11 teachers as researchers
11. Teachers as Researchers

  • The professionalism of teachers must be respected.

  • Part of the role of any educator involves becoming a scholar and a researcher.

  • It is vital to know your students; i.e. their culture, knowledge base, language, etc.

  • Teachers must become “warrior intellectuals”, people who know their students and their backgrounds and who are willing to fight for them

    (Kincheloe, 2008)


  • A CEP teacher and a group of 8th grade students perform at their year-end poetry slam in June 2006 (The Arts & Spirituality Centre, 2006).

12 education must promote emancipation intellectual growth
12. Education Must Promote Emancipation & Intellectual Growth

  • Education must both promote freedom (emancipation) and the changes that come with it.

  • Education must also allow knowledge, reasoning and understanding (i.e. intellect) to grow.

  • These two goals should never be in conflict, they should always be in sync.

  • Those who seek freedom (emancipation) attempt to gain the power to control their own lives in unity with a community that seeks justice.

  • Critical pedagogy’s role is to expose the forces that prevent individuals and groups from making the decisions that will affect their lives.

    (Kincheloe, 2008)

The Journal of Urban Mathematics Education(JUME) is a peer-reviewed, open-access, academic journal published twice a year. The mission of JUME is to foster a transformative global academic space in mathematics that embraces critical research, emancipatory pedagogy, and scholarship of engagement in urban communities (JUME, 2008).


13 education meeting the needs of new colonialism
13. Education Meeting the Needs of New Colonialism Growth

  • Education often reflects the interests and needs of new modes of colonialism and empire, i.e. Globalization, TNCs, U.S. foreign domination….

  • Such dynamics must be exposed, understood, and acted upon.

    (Kincheloe, 2008)


(Koulopoulos, 2006)

BY THE WAY…you can actually outsource your homework to India! Read this link http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/14/AR2006051401139.html

14 a cycle of critical praxis must be established
14. A Cycle of Critical Praxis Must be Established Growth

  • Praxis is a problem-solving method.

(Duncan-Andrade & Morrell, 2008)


15 the idea of hegemony
15. The Idea of Hegemony Growth

  • Hegemony is a complex notion….

  • Groups/people who have dominant power do not always get this power through physical force.

  • They gain this power through social and psychological attempts to win people’s consent.

  • This is often done by dominating culture, i.e. influencing media, schools, family, the Church.

  • This is hegemony. (Kincheloe, 2007)

    Example: Hitler slowly won over the consent of the German people; he did not take over power by force. He created organizations that improved working conditions in factories, he developed loan programs for families who wanted to go on vacation, he established youth groups to indoctrinate the young, etc. As we learnt his manipulation of the German people won them over, i.e. hegemony.

Hitler posing with a member of the Hitler Youth (Zigfeld, 2007).

Critical pedagogy final thoughts
Critical Pedagogy – Final Thoughts Growth

  • One of the key objectives of critical pedagogy is to allow students to gain the necessary social skills to allow them to actively participate in a transformed & inclusive democratic community.

  • When you can identify the sources of power, recognize your own position in relation to power and understand the political nature of what you learn you can develop your own social actions.

  • Critical pedagogy seeks to give those who have been excluded from power the right and ability to have an input into civic life. (Kincheloe, 2007)

Works cited
Works Cited Growth

AllMyanmar. (2008). Traditional Medicine Myanmar. Retrieved July 22, 2008, from http://www.allmyanmar.com/new%20allmyanmar.com/


Amazon. (2008). Empowering Education – Book Cover. Retrieved July 18, 2008, from http://www.amazon.com/Empowering-Education-Critical-Teaching-Social/dp/0226753573

Amazon. (2008). Pedagogy of the Oppressed – Book Cover. Retrieved July 18, 2008, from www.amazon.com/.../dp/book-citations/0826412769

Biz/Ed. (2008). A traditional classroom scene from 1935. Retrieved July 21, 2008, from http://www.bized.co.uk/current/pbl/educator.htm

Works cited cont d
Works Cited (Cont’d) Growth

Columbia University. (2008). Photo of Paulo Freire & Ira Shor. Retrieved July 21, 2008, from http://www.columbia.edu/itc/tc/parker/adlearnville/


Duncan-Andrade, Jeffrey M.R. & Morrell, Ernest. (2008). The Art of Critical Pedagogy: Possibilities for Moving from Theory to Practice in Urban Schools. New York: Peter Lang.

Flickr. (2008). The Rubbish Tip – IX: Hazardous Child Labour in Brazil (Set). Retrieved July 21, 2008, from http://flickr.com/photos/beija-flor/3828815/

JUME. (2008). Journal of Urban Mathematics Education. Retrieved July 21, 2008, from http://ed-osprey.gsu.edu/ojs/index.php/JUME/index

Works cited cont d1
Works Cited (Cont’d) Growth

Hardie, Ginna. (2007). Nigeria Dreamin'... Photos of Literacy School, Kano. Retrieved July 21, 2008, from http://ginnahelen.blogspot.com/2007/06/nigeria-dreamin-photos-of-literacy.html

IntLawGrrls – Voices on International Law, Policy, Practice. (2007). Photo of a Prison. Retrieved July 21, 2008, from http://intlawgrrls.blogspot.


Kincheloe, Joe L. (2007). Critical Pedagogy in the Twenty-First Century: Evolution for Survival. In Peter McLaren & Joe L. Kincheloe (Eds.), Critical Pedagogy: Where Are We Now? (pp. 9-42). New York: Peter Lang.

Kincheloe, Joe. (2008). Critical Pedagogy Primer, 2nd Ed. New York: Peter Lang.

Works cited cont d2
Works Cited (Cont’d) Growth

Koulopoulos, Tom. (2006). Outsourcing Education Cartoon. Retrieved July 21, 2008, from http://www.theinnovationzone.com/page/2/.

Lexidiem. (2006). President Bush visiting the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota. Retrieved July 21, 2008, from http://lexidiem.blogspot.com/2006/09/bush-administration-f-for-reading.html

LSU College of Education. (2006). Photo of Student & Teacher. Retrieved July 21, 2008, from http://coe.ednet.lsu.edu/coe/highlights/spring_2007/


Marcio, Cabral de Moura. (2007). Faculdade de Direito do Recife / Recife Law School. RetrievedJuly 18, 2008, from http://flickr.com/photos/mcdemoura/


Works cited cont d3
Works Cited (Cont’d) Growth

McElrath, Jessica. (2008). School Desegregation - Central High. Retrieved July 21, 2008, from http://afroamhistory.about.com/od/schoolintegration


Morrison, Allen. (2006). The Tramways ofRecife, Pernambuco State, Brazil. Retrieved July 18, 2008, from www.


NPR. (2008). School Children Rioting in Soweto. Retrieved July 21, 2008, from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5489490

Reason Foundation. (2008). A Favela in Rio de Janeiro. Retrieved July 18, 2008, from http://www.faculty.fairfield.edu/faculty/hodgson/


Works cited cont d4
Works Cited (Cont’d) Growth

San Diego State University. (2006). Photo of Jobless Men During Great Depression. Retrieved July 21, 2008, from http://theatre.sdsu.edu/html/events/


Shor, Ira. (1992). Empowering Education. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Stevens, Christy. (2002). Critical Pedagogy on the Web. Retrieved July 18, 2008, from http://mingo.info-science.uiowa.edu/~stevens/critped/page1.htm

The Arts & Spirituality Center. (2006). Arts & Spirituality Center Helps Teens at Community Education Partners to Make Connections Between Rap and Poetry. Retrieved July 18, 2008, from http://news.artsandspirituality.org/


Works cited cont d5
Works Cited (Cont’d) Growth

The Paulo & Nita Freire Project for Critical Pedagogy. (2008). Photo of Joe Kincheloe. Retrieved July 21, 2008, from http://freire.education.mcgill.ca/


University of Western Ontario. (2005). Photo of Henry Giroux. Retrieved July 21, 2008 from, http://www.fedcan.ca/congress2005/programs/5_29.htm

Paley, Amit R. (2006). Homework Help, From a World Away. Retrieved July 21, 2008 from, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/


Wikipedia. (2008). Map of Brazil. Retrieved July 18, 2008, from http://en.


Works cited cont d6
Works Cited (Cont’d) Growth

Winton, Ezra. (2006). Photograph of Paulo Freire. Retrieved July 18, 2008, from http://www.ezrawinton.com/

Zigfeld, Kim. (2007). Photograph of Hitler Youth. Retrieved July 22, 2008, from http://www.publiuspundit.com/2007/08/russias_nashi_youth_cult