While pedagogy is most simply conceived of as the study of teaching and learning, the term critical pedagogy embodies notions of how one teaches, what is being taught, and how one learns.
Critical pedagogy is a way of thinking about, negotiating, and transforming the relationship among classroom teachings, the production of knowledge, the institutional structures of the school, and the social and material relation of the wider community and society. There is a rather extensive body of literature that considers the theory of critical and social justice pedagogies, but significantly less literature that specifically addresses the ways in which professors attempt to apply these theories in practice (Breunig, 2016). There have been numerous calls for critical pedagogues to move beyond theory and focus on the formulation of a praxis that acts on the possibilities of critical pedagogy, including within the postsecondary classroom.
In the following resources, I hope to highlight some of the main voices in the current critical pedagogy discussion: Paulo Freire, bell hooks, and others. You can find a summary of the main topics of critical pedagogy and social justice education in Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice (2016):
- Chapter 2 (pages 27-54) includes a review of the pedagogical foundations for social justice education. In this chapter, you can find pedagogical principles that inform social justice practice.
- Chapter 3 (pages 55-94) focuses on design and facilitation and presents general facilitation strategies.
- Chapter 11 (pages 369-396) focuses on online and blended pedagogy in social justice education.
In addition, you are invited to view the following links:
- Pedagogy of the Oppressed – Paulo Freire
- Teaching To Transgress – bell hooks
- Culturally Responsive Teaching – Geneva Gay
- Paulo Freire’s Five Ideas for Dialogical Learning
- LinkedIn Learning Video: Inclusive Instructional Design
- Inclusive Moves – Harvard University
One important aspect of inclusive teaching is the representation of different social identities in your course materials. Look with a critical eye at your course materials: Are multiple identities and communities represented and respected as legitimate sources of critique or knowledge? Consider whether or not the readings, visual and audio content, and examples you use in class are communicating and welcoming diversity. If you find that your course materials are homogenous across some metric, ask: why? Is this homogeneity inherited? Was there a deliberate choice to limit the diversity of the materials, and is that choice truly serving the course’s teaching and learning aims? Whatever the answers, find ways to express how practitioners and perspectives from a wide range of backgrounds have a place in your discipline. For example, draw on underrepresented scholars and showcase their successes. When this is not possible, be forthright about this reality and acknowledge how this limitation can constrain what counts as knowledge in your discipline (Course design – Harvard University).
Breunig, M.C (2016) M.A. Peters (ed.), Critical and Social Justice Pedagogies in Practice, Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory,