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Critical Pedagogy Essay

909 words - 4 pages

Critical Pedagogy

The acclaimed lyricist Oscar Hammerstein once wrote, "You have to be carefully taught." Most will agree that properly educating children is essential for the good of a society. However, the best method of educating students is a much more debatable topic. What is the best way to educate a student? Is it through memorization? Discussion? Exploration? Experimentation? Through the ages many scholars, teachers, and other accredited individuals have offered their opinions on the science of teaching, or pedagogy. One such man is Henry Giroux, the author of Modernism, Postmodernism, and Feminism. In his introductory chapter to this novel, Giroux sets his principles for critical pedagogy. Among these principles is one belief that reads, "Critical pedagogy needs to create new forms of knowledge through its emphasis on breaking down disciplinary boundaries and creating new spaces where knowledge can be produced."

What does this belief mean to me? In order to understand my interpretation of the principle as a whole, it is necessary to understand my interpretations of the various words and phrases that make up the rule. Take the first phrase, "… to create new forms of knowledge…" I interpret "new forms of knowledge" as knowledge expressed in forms other than the traditional. For example, "old" forms of knowledge may be names, dates, numbers, and concrete facts that are memorized without being fully understood. On the other hand, "new" forms of knowledge may refer to abstract ideas, concepts, and theory, without definite answers. The next phrase of the principle speaks of, "…breaking down disciplinary boundaries…" I would define "disciplinary boundaries" as any boundaries or limits that prevent learning from taking place. These may be concrete boundaries, such as the confines of a classroom, or they may be boundaries such as the intellectual and social boundaries that prevent the student from fully understanding and learning from his teacher. The last phrase of the stated ideal mentions, "creating new spaces where knowledge can be produced." These "new spaces" may be any different or radical methods that produce knowledge for a student. For example, if knowledge was formerly produced by memorization and recitation, new knowledge may be produced through first-hand exploration, trial and error, etc. In other words, by incorporating the explanations mentioned above, the aforementioned principle means that critical pedagogy needs to create forms of knowledge other than names, dates, and numbers, through its emphasis on breaking down the physical and teacher-student boundaries that prevent a student from learning and creating new methods of producing knowledge."

If Chemistry 167, a class that is currently half lecture and half...

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