Tag Archives: Historicity

Two of a 12 part blog

Reflections on “Critical Pedagogy: An Introduction” Question 2.           Identify the major themes addressed by the Frankfurt School and why these where important to the development of critical theory. Based on a series of questions formulated by the Frankfurt school a series of Heterogeneous ideas where created to set the foundation of Critical Theory. These ideas where based on: Cultural Politics, Political Economy, Historicity of Knowledge, Dialectical Theory, Ideology and Critique, Hegemony, Resistance and Counter-Hegemony and Praxis. By addressing these ideas Critical Theory has an “underlying explicit intent and commitment to the unwavering liberation of oppressed populations.” (page 9) I believe the why aspect of the question is there within, to liberate the oppressed. Cultural Politics: The authors wrote that critical pedagogy seeks to question what defines our perceived idea of “Truth” in relation to cultural politics that have been defined by socioeconomic realities and histories. This questioning should help teachers inform themselves of current knowledge and the power it holds especially in our educational systems. There is an old educational cartoon I grew up with on American TV where the kids scream out “Knowledge is Power” still rings in my head today. Political Economy: Critical pedagogy approaches this theme from the stance that the current dominant (ruling) class informs and defines students in such an order as to keep their status which means they continue to oppress the other group by educating them differently to “perpetuate racialized inequalities.” (page 10) Critical pedagogy here intends to liberate those students who are “most politically and economically vulnerable.” Historicity of Knowledge: Ones understanding of history, or knowledge of history is subjective. It is learnt based on the ”a particular historical moment and under particular historical conditions”. Critical pedagogy asks teachers to understand this, to give students the opportunity (skill) to see from different perspectives and understand that a human using his/her perspective wrote history. If one reads Iris Chang`s “The Rape of Nanking” before visiting the Yushukan War Memorial Museum one will definitely experience 2 or more versions of history as I did. I have always said, “There are 3 Truths: yours, mine and the Cold hard facts.” Dialectical Theory: Critical pedagogy strives to create a world where there are not only opposites allowed. It is not this or that way but maybe there is another way. It is a more fluid way of learning that looks for connections between cultural norms and values and standards. This would increase our human social ability to interconnect. Could this bring more peace or more war? Ideology and Critique: We create our own ideology and more than not it is based on assumptions. Those of the dominant class usually control education and they use their assumptions to define the programme. Critical pedagogy asks teachers to question our assumptions to question those assumptions that have been used to define the current educational system and practices in order to become more self aware as to how we teach to who. Hegemony:  “Hegemony refers to a process of social control that is carried out through the moral and intellectual leadership of a dominant sociocultural class over subordinate groups (Gramsci, 1971) (page 12). This concept reminds me of a children’s movie called, “Over the Hedge”. Where a band of woodland animals wake up from hibernation to find they have been shut out by the dominating group- Humans in a subdivision. The humans have planted a Hedge that goes all the way around their land to keep the “disgusting” animals out. Although this movie oversimplifies the concept, I think it is clear to me why our hedges should be questioned. Resistance and Counter-Hegemony: There are those in the margins of education, who resist change, who have been so long oppressed they do not have the skills or materials to change. This includes teachers as well. This is a thought that addresses this, and what should we do? For a teacher, Paulo Freire believes that one should know your discipline well and then you can adapt a way to effectively teach but still be the system requirements. (page 13) Praxis: The Alliance of Theory and Practice: One without the other will not do. There needs to be questions and discussions through democratic relations of powers. In a democratic education and business all individuals play an integral part in the formations of thought, direction and practice including the innovations that help us develop or evolve. In order for both to have sustaining success these living organisms (business and education) need to be democratic in behaviour.  References: The Critical Pedagogy Reader. (2009). “Critical Pedagogy: An Introduction” . I. Darder,Antonia, II. Baltodano, Marta, III. Torres, Rodolfo D., Routledge. 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017