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Education Administrators Associates
Consultation and Resource for Educators
WHO WE ARE
Education Administrators Associates was initiated by Dr. John Brownridge, an educator and school principal with extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of Education, and experience in both North America and the United Kingdom. EAA's objective is to offer resource, assistance, and consultation to professional educators in the English-speaking world. 

A variety of issues of interest and concern to educators will be presented and considered in this blog on a weekly basis. All educators, whether teachers, administrators or consultants, are invited to comment on the Contacts Page.


None of us can be experts in every field. Yet, as teachers we are expected to be knowledgeable on a whole range of topics, especially those that relate directly or indirectly to education. The parents of our students frequently have questions and concerns about curriculum, special programs, and new innovations they have heard about through news media. Our colleagues, friends and acquaintances may seek explanations and definitions. It is in our own interest to have a cursory knowledge of issues outside our areas of expertise, and to be capable of providing some insight into a variety of educational topics.

This weekly blog will explore many educational topics. Please check in on a regular basis, and do feel free to submit your comments and questions on the Contacts Page. As teachers, we have a wealth of experience to share.Critical pedagogy is a revolutionary approach to teaching that encourages students to question and challenge societal, cultural, educational and religious norms. Ira Shor, a professor at the City University of New York and a strong proponent of this teaching method, outlines the essential nature and objectives of critical pedagogy in his book “Empowering Education”. 

This Week

The Power of Critical Pedagogy

Critical pedagogy is a revolutionary approach to teaching that encourages students to question and challenge societal, cultural, educational and religious norms. Ira Shor, a professor at the City University of New York and a strong proponent of this teaching method, outlines the essential nature and objectives of critical pedagogy in his book “Empowering Education”. 

According to Shor, students must be encouraged to go beyond face value pronouncements, traditional wisdom, and mere opinions. Teachers must allow them to read and write critically and to go beneath superficial statements in order to understand deeper meanings and root causes of events and processes. Unrestricted discussion and debate must also be encouraged so that critical observations and insights can be shared. The ultimate objective is to help students develop a habit of critical consciousness.

Critical pedagogy typically leads students through a two-step process. First of all, certain repressive ideologies or authoritarian common practices are selected for detailed study. These may relate to the students’ own lives and can include rules and regulations at school or at home, or they may be national, cultural, or social situations that need to be examined and justified. Students are encouraged to question these norms of society and through debate and discussion, relate them to their own life conditions.

Once individual and collective responses have been articulated, they can be written up and shared with other members of the group, and where problems have been identified, plans of action are implemented in an attempt to make meaningful change. Students are encouraged to give particular attention to their own expected roles or behavior as it relates to cultural or religious norms. 

Proponents of critical pedagogy consider blind acceptance of these norms as being simply gullible and aim to make their students independently critical. Mainstream society, however, sees the critical attitude as being cynical and contemptuous. In order to overcome the negative aspects of critical pedagogy, instructors encourage full discussion about all points of view but at the same time make serious challenges to popular beliefs and values. A variety of relevant tasks are typically assigned to encourage such challenges.

Critical thinking tasks can include subject matter that is well known at a national level. A historical event such as a war, for example, is ideal for critical study as students are able to examine the well-known historical events of a war and compare them to what might be considered reasonable, rational, and just. But issues of power in the students’ own families, ethnic community, or religion make valuable studies as well. An examination of the power base in these areas may identify a serious lack of justice and equality and as critical thinkers, students can discuss possible changes that would benefit the entire community.

Some practitioners of critical pedagogy have encouraged a re-evaluation of historic or national heroes and suggested that the reverent mythology that surround many of them is often misguided and misplaced. Christopher Columbus is a good example of this. Students can balance the courage and tenacity of this explorer with the rights of native peoples in order to reach conclusions about the justice and morality of his explorations.

Critical thinking is a necessary skill in today’s world. All educators agree on that. Perhaps the only area of contention is the manner in which these skills should be taught. 

John Brownridge

Next Week

Cue-Dependent Memory Recall