Group Blog Post on Critical Pedagogy

What does Critical Pedagogy mean to you and your group?

For us, critical pedagogy encompasses a number of critical elements:

  • Ask questions and encourage students to question and reflect on everything.
  • Education is political and students must be aware of the vested interests and underlying assumptions in the information they are provided.
    • Democracy thrives in the illumination of learning, and withers without it.
  • Fostering a community of engaged learning in the classroom.
  • The passion that teachers and students both have for different subjects should be fostered and encouraged.
  • Encouraging childlike curiosity and unconstrained critical thinking.

This is contrasted from traditional approaches.

All too often we ignore the data we collect and continue full steam ahead because the data doesn’t support the people making money or the way things have “always been done”. We need to give children the freedom to be curious, not drown them in testing.

We need to remember that everyone in the classroom has a life outside of the classroom. This does not disappear when they walk into the room. If we want students to learn their best, we need to teach in ways that are relevant to their problems and their interests or the outside issued will overwhelm the class material.

The traditional pedagogy is like a banking system, which expects all students with different thoughts rooted in their various backgrounds to think in the same ways. On the other hand, critical pedagogy appreciates the diversity of learners and fosters their ideas with encouraging to think out of the box accepting the other’s opinions and come up with a genuine solution together.

How may you apply it to your specific fields and educational settings?


Chemical Engineering:

  • Emphasize the strategies to assess a problem, build a toolset of techniques and mathematics, and then apply them to a given situation. All too often students are taught formulas that apply to abstract situations and do not properly understand when they apply or when they do not. They can plug-and-chug their way through problems without understanding where the final equation came from. Teach students what went into each equation, conceptually, instead of just defining variables.

Political Science:

  • Particular segments of political science are already aware of the need for critical reflexivity in the discussion of different topics. Students should be made aware of different approaches to particular issues. In international relations, neither liberalism, realism, or constructivism are dominant and there are numerous scholars who promote their favorite rationales for their own reasons. The study of politics itself is often grounded in only occasionally questioned personal biases and beliefs. Students should be encouraged to express their own views and interests in their research classes. Different approaches to political issues should also be promoted through student-led research projects such as the State Department’s Diplomacy lab where students decide how best to solve or discuss issues facing the U.S. State Department around the world.
  • Should also continue to promote a sense of the reason why criticality and education matter. Going back to Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s The Politics and Constitution of Athens, and Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws education and republican democracy are linked. It is important for democratic citizens to possess the ability to critically evaluate information beyond simply promoting rote memorization of facts but through really internalizing the need for self-critical reflection and development in students.

Hispanic Studies:

Critical pedagogy in the Hispanic studies classroom should encourage critical perspectives and understanding of language ideologies, culture and identities. This can be done by acknowledging the diversity in Hispanic cultures, disrupting stereotypes, and diversifying the representation in the material used in the classroom. With this, we can encourage students to step into perspectives that differ from theirs by showing how these language and cultural ideologies affect people from different socioeconomic, racial, and religious backgrounds.

Critical pedagogy in the Hispanic studies classroom should disrupt discrimination based on stereotypes, as well as the conflict and difficulties brought about when cultures and languages collide. Encouraging curiosity and questions in the classroom to create in students a spirit of understanding, compassion, connection, and critical thinking.

Lastly, critical pedagogy should create in students a desire to mediate for Spanish speakers in the country and also recognize underrepresented populations in the Spanish speaking world such as indigenous, afro-descendants, as well as religious minorities.

Industrial & Systems Engineering:

Based on my experience I found engineering education is dominated by the traditional lecture-based teaching and exams questions are presented as well-structured problems with given parameters that are stated, and students are asked for the correct solution. This type of education is characterized by what Freire called “banking education’ where the relationship between teacher and student is clearly hierarchical, where knowledge is transmitted through a top-down approach. Instead of banking education, critical pedagogy could enhance problem-posing education in engineering which would break the hierarchical relationship between students and teacher and develop critical consciousness and improve the learning process.

Engineering in General (Hani)

To be perfectly honest, a comprehensively-overhauled and critically informed engineering pedagogy would have almost nothing in common with current practices in the engineering department at R1 universities. Not only are engineering teaching practices at the department level still rooted in arcane conceptualizations of teaching like the banking model and myths of meritocracy and an abstraction-fixated curriculum; the very framing of “what an engineer does” conveyed thru the content is actively disempowering to the budding engineer. Not only are classes taught with the teacher as the sole authority; at no point is it ever included that an engineer is a human being who actually has a specific social location and lacks/has relevant information.

We engineers do not teach to solve problems any more than a calculator is able to “solve problems”, so when attempting to adopt a critical pedagogical approach, an engineering instructor rapidly encounters the staggering chasm between current practices and hypothetical someday. We can, of course, mimic the motions described in Friere and hooks’ works- let students choose their own projects, affirm the validity and importance of their unique experiences and knowledge, decenter our own choices as instructors to adopt a more collaborative course structure with our students, even encourage students questioning the posed problems. But a flipped classroom cultivating diligently unquestioning servants of existing hegemonies can hardly be described as serving the oppressed.

My attempt at a full-fledged implementation of a critical pedagogy in engineering would need to start with restructuring degrees around “what needs does the individual seek to address in their community?”, then go from there to having them address a succession of as many concrete, complete problems around that need as possible as situated design projects immersed in and in collaboration with their community. Course offerings under such a degree architecture could then make vastly more effective use of a critical pedagogy: with students routinely encountering the real-world intergroup power conflicts that seem to almost always underlie systemically unmet needs, instructors could genuinely engage with the realities of the classical content’s ideological background and its weaknesses while concurrently empowering students with the specific technical content they need to be immediately effective changemakers within and for their community. Without similar change to the underlying system of engineering departments, an individual instructor attempting substantial change toward practicing a critical pedagogy in their own classroom would find themselves spending half the semester attempting to unlearn in their students the trained helplessness & unhelpful misinformation that was taught in all the previous courses along the way.


Critical Pedagogy and What it Means to Us

This post is collective effort on behalf of Corrie Besse, Matt BlairMinh Duong, Kyunghee KimCindy Klimaitis, and Samuel Sherry

Critical pedagogy is a life-long, balanced, and transformative approach to teaching that nurtures understanding by integrating one’s passions with curiosity in an ever evolving, and challenging environment – both in the context of what is being taught, where it comes from, and how it is applied.

Above is our attempt at defining the undefinable. To us, critical pedagogy is our definition, and can be seen in the interplay between the words in our word cloud, but we also acknowledge that in actuality it is much more. We believe that fundamentally, critical pedagogy resides in the intersection of theory and practice and finds meaning in creating an environment that promotes understanding in education. Paulo’s assertion that you cannot teach without learning nor learn without teaching resonates with our understanding of critical pedagogy, in that we (as people, educators, learners, experts, novices) never stop learning or having things to teach and offer. Fostering a growth mindset is a facet of life-long learning, not only do we want to cultivate our students to remain open to the power of possibility, we as educators must also remain steadfast in always looking for ways in which we can be learning.

The fluidity of critical pedagogy, and its ubiquitous nature in our daily lives, contributes to the difficulty in defining it. We view its application as ever evolving to meet the needs of a changing and developing environment – whether in society, the classroom, the home, or the overarching framework of education. Here we believe that the ability to challenge – our ideas, conventions, paths of communicates, and structure for disseminating knowledge – can lead to a situation that fosters curiosity in our passions and lead to student driven learning.

The question is how? How can or does critical pedagogy manifest itself in our studies, classrooms, and professions?  How do we transform the intellectually stifling practices engrained in education into something much more effective and inclusive? To explore this concept further we looked at ways critical pedagogy manifests itself in our fields of practice.

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Cindy
The components of the critical pedagogy definition have direct application to my field.  As a future ‘teacher of teachers” the life-long learner component applies to the research part of the position.  Educators need to stay up to date on the latest research to know implementation of best practices and current social justices issues that need to be considered in the classroom environment.

Knowing the students will help the professor with a balance of giving and getting – how much students need to get (build a knowledge base) and how much giving (giving time for students’ curiosity to allow for their own knowledge search).  The key to critical pedagogy is balance and that balance is based on the individual in the classroom. Balance is fluid and ever changing.

The 1st minute provides a visual for how working together benefits the group and each individual, just click on the image to view.


Food Science & Technology, Minh 
This week we discussed this week two extremes of how teaching can be accomplished: were “problem-posing” and “banking”. With banking, the student simply draws upon what is required by the teacher where usually the teacher provide information for students to consume and this information becomes regurgitated at the appropriate time (very similar to this Calvin and Hobbes comic below — excuse the potato quality.)

Problem-posing is sort of the opposite side of that spectrum that emphasizes critical thinking that involves listening, dialogue, and action through a positive learning atmosphere. A very well known example of this atmosphere is the Montessori method.

Food Science and Technology (FST) leans on the “banking” side of things currently, but needs to transition and move towards more of the problem posing mindset. Learning the information on a specific microorganism and its characteristics that cause foodborne illness is useful, but understanding the system and how the microorganism fits into that system is important.

We do a great job in Food Science of addressing the “what”, “who”, and “when”, all specific details, but struggle with the “why” and the “how”. As an educator in Food Science, I endeavor to bring in learning and teaching that involves experiences that help students think outside-the-box and develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the “why” and “how”.


Engineering, Samuel & Matt
When I think of critical pedagogy in the field of engineering I think of the sharing my love/passion for the subject and a Socratic approach to learning.  If you present your passion for a subject this shows in a big way, it makes the students more excited/ peaks their interest about the material. In my mind this sets the wheels in motion, from the small material I covered, to the student/class probing larger topics. Ideally this could be done in the class room with me facilitating or individually when they want to go above and beyond the basics. The concept of critical thinking and asking why are the principles upon which engineering were built on.  I hope this approach to teaching fosters a love of life-long learning and critical thinking.


Landscape Architecture, Kyunghee
I believe the core value of critical pedagogy is applicable in the field of landscape architecture as engagement and sustainability have been big words in the education and practice of landscape architecture. From the perspective of critical pedagogy, educators are responsible to engage in social, environmental, and political issues around the built and natural environments, and empower communities as well as students to be an agent of creating, implementing and operating their living spaces. Many students in the design field tend to focus on aesthetic/functional aspects, not being interested in social and environmental issues much, as I did when I was in undergraduate. I think that in order to prepare students to be a critically conscious landscape designer/planner it might be important for educators to closely engage in their needs/situation and inspire them to transform their motivations for social/environmental justice and ethics.


Arts Leadership, Corrie
As leaders in the arts we need to have an understanding of not only ourselves, but also how we present ourselves to others. In a critical pedagogical context, it’s important that as we move forward that there must be a sense of balance between these inner and exterior frameworks of self. When we lose sight of one over another, burnout or hollow-out or the loss of creativity can take hold.

Once we have that balance we can contextualize ourselves within a framework of how we connect and create meaningful relationships to our organizations, communities and society. Personally, I strive to provide a platform for the arts to help society see what they might not, to connect them to what is invisible to them in their daily lives.  Art does not exist in a vacuum, rather it needs to look critically at the needs and desires of our community in order to make an impact of greater inter-cultural understanding and social responsibility.


As we engage in our respective fields of practice we strive to balance the needs of our classroom and the mindset of our community in order to impact our living spaces, our organizations, and our institutions in order to empower our students to develop their own voices and what impact they want to see valued in the societies of tomorrow.  Critical Pedagogy provides a framework for that exploration while remaining cognizant of of our culture and ourselves within it.



A Collaborative Definition of Critical Pedagogy through Jig-Saw Pedagogy

This post was done in collaboration with the listed authors below. Authors: Timothy Stelter, Negin Forouzesh, Gary Lupton, Spenser Slough, Japsimran Singh, Dami Alegbeleye In a critical pedagogy, students and teachers are all in a same group. They learn together, ask a lot of questions and embrace the joy and power of thinking together. They basically … Continue reading A Collaborative Definition of Critical Pedagogy through Jig-Saw Pedagogy

What is Critical Pedagogy?

Critical Pedagogy is provoking thought by engaging with each other, which promotes a collaborative and problem-solving learning environment and encourages a critical reflection of one’s own learning experience.

Group 3, engaging in critical pedagogy in class this week (thank you Dr. Ewing for the photo!)

To our group, critical pedagogy means:

  • Learning is based in the learners’ own being — how they interact with the world, their thinking, and their belief of what they will become. The teacher is a political tool, and the process of learning is related to individual empowerment and social change. [Khaled]
  • Researching and understanding a student’s background and using that information to enhance their learning. When teaching, we must take into consideration the complex ways individual minds process information so we may break past the archaic limitations of the current education system. [Mike]
  • Moving from “narration” to “collaboration”, where knowledge is allowed to be a process of inquiry instead of a transfer of information. Through dialogue, teachers and students become “teacher-students” and “student-teachers”. [Meredith]
  • Having critical reflection, which is the relationship between theory and practice.  Otherwise theory becomes simply “blah blah blah” and practice, pure activism. Teaching is not the transfer of knowledge, but creating the possibilities for the production or construction of knowledge. [Nayara]
  • Learning is a pleasurable activity, which teaches people not only how to read the word but also read the world. It is intuitive for children, but is suppressed through the high school and undergraduate experiences. Once these people take the next step, they are taught critical thinking (thinking outside the box) again — essentially deeming critical pedagogy as a learned behavior. [Vibhav]
  • Creating a positive environment begins with the teacher engaging with students beyond a surface level which builds a community in your class. [Deb]

How does this apply to our specific fields and educational settings?

  • Encouraging critical reflection of student’s learning experience and how he/she could apply that in the lifestyle. [Khaled]
  • In order to teach students using complex critical pedagogy, we as educators must provide the information in a context that is relatable and digestible to each student.  In addition, we have to give students the necessary time and resources to grasp concepts. Many students learn at different paces; by allowing students to grasp the concepts at their own speed, they are more confident and even inspired to learn more about the subject.   [Mike]
  • We invite students to be problem-solvers — co-investigators in the creative process. To do this, we must pose problems instead of solely conveying information. Encouraging creativity in our engineering classes by asking students to engage with design problems allows them to critically approach the question and apply their own experiences in order to solve the problem. [Meredith]
  • Creating an environment in which students can have the knowledge presented to them, then knowledge  is shaped through understanding, discussion and reflection. This means students should understand basic concepts and then be able to shape them into practical applications. For example, when teaching “Lean principles” to industrial engineering students, a hands-on project could make students to critically think about concepts and connections between what they have read and what is happening in the real job environment. A critical perspective can not truly be developed in a mechanical memorization or the rhythmic repetition of phrases and ideas. A creative challenge is needed in the classrooms! [Nayara]

  • Creating cutting edge and creative technology to enable differently-abled people to interact with the world in a “normal” way.  [Vibhav]
  • Allowing students to engage with the material and each other in a way that interests them most at some point in the semester. [Deb]

For more of our thoughts, check out our blogs:

Critical Pedagogy: Defined and Illustrated

During class our table (Table 4: Aislinn, Ben, Sengul, Susan, Andrew, Rathsara – full names and blogs posted at the bottom of this post) discussed perspectives of critical pedagogy. Below is our definition of the term followed by objects that illustrate a few key concepts. Enjoy!

Critical Pedagogy is a process where learning is teaching and teaching is learning.

Reality is a process

Skipping Play Hard GIF by theAwkwardYeti - Find & Share on GIPHY

Critical Pedagogy challenges what we know and the structures that control society

Knowledge Russians GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Critical consciousness can be used as a political tool

Game Of Thrones Power GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Banking Concept of Teaching

Think, Engage, Work together, Learn

Hand In Hand Illustration GIF by Kochstrasse™ - Find & Share on GIPHY

Susan – School is failing to teach us the necessary skills to function once we become an adult. Instead, most of the topics that are taught are important, but may not be important later in life.

Susan – As a TA or an instructor, I am always learning, either from research literature or from my students. I don’t know everything about a topic and I don’t think I ever will.


Aislinn’s Blog:

Ben Kirkland:

Sengul Yildiz Alanbay:

Susan’s blog

Andrew Barnes Blog:

Rathsara Herath:

Critical Pedagogy

Critical Pedagogy

What does Critical Pedagogy mean?

Critical pedagogy is teaching and learning as a shared interaction to challenge the preconceived knowledge and perceptions leading to individual empowerment and social change.

Group Conception of Critical Pedagogy

Critical Pedagogy can be applied to the following fields:

(Angelica) Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Critical pedagogy can be applied to educational leadership in several ways. Honestly, the leaders in education should be those that are aware of critical pedagogy and provide teachers in the classroom with the freedom to teach using critical pedagogy. Leadership should help students develop consciousness of freedom and encourage them to take constructive action. Within critical pedagogy, students should recognize authoritarian tendencies and be able to challenge the theory behind what they are learning. By fostering the intent of curiosity in children, one is teaching the learner to continuously learn. An educational leader’s responsibility is to create knowledge by learning “why” and encouraging learners to always ask “why”.


(Jon LLoyd) Sociology/Criminology/Peace Studies & Violence Prevention

Critical Pedagogy empowers those who institutions silence, it returns conversation and curiosity to the children whose schools ground it out of them, it invites criticism and skepticism rather than punish it.

I implement critical pedagogy by inviting skepticism of knowledge systems and privileging difficult questions and marginalized knowledge. This might be by showing how “everyday” rituals, beliefs, structures, or practices are rooted in white supremacist ideology, asking provocative and unexpected questions like “Why do overpasses oppress people and who decided that was a good idea?” And it might be as simple as opening the class floor after asking, “Okay, we’ve got a good handle on the problem…now, what do you want to do about it?” In terms of teaching skills, I’m interested by the idea of relating to the familiar. Recently, I’ve read about music educators using hip-hop as a form of critical pedagogy, in particular using lyrical analysis. As my disciplines call special attention to reframing the everyday experience, such an approach might prove exceptionally useful.


(Riya) Physics / Science Education

Shifting from traditional lecture based classes to interactive, engaging discussion based classes, where the student and instructor are mutual learners and teachers. Creating a collaborative platform inside and outside the classrooms, where everyone has the opportunity and choice to voice their opinions and ask questions fearlessly. Knowing your students, their limitations and vulnerabilities and incorporating such tools in the lecture that would help them overcome these. Being more than a lecturer in classroom, going beyond the assigned material; engaging students to work together to develop practical experimental set-ups; forcing them to think the importance and relevance of the topic being taught. Practicing learner-based teaching: asking students to form groups and come up with ideas or topics that they would like to be discussed.  The core idea is to empower students through the learning process, to help them become independent individuals with ideas, opinions, and a lot of questions.


(John B.) Geology/Natural Sciences

One way of applying critical pedagogy to the natural sciences is how to effectively teach the vocabulary and scientific concepts of a field for an audience at various “skill” levels of the individual students.  In this field, the ability to question concepts to better understand the material in both the classroom and in the real world. Outside the large classroom size of the introductory classes that teaches non-majors, most of the classes are peer-based and utilizes group teaching methods.  With geology being a complex field and a lot of concepts are not readily seen in the real world, opinions are usually welcome at various skill levels to comment and theorize.


(Maha) Computer Engineering/Maths

One way of applying critical pedagogy in teaching a math class is to let students go beyond the lecture and ask questions. is a link that contains ways of integrating social and economical justice into math classes.

In a computer engineering class (like machine learning), an example of applying critical pedagogy is giving the students a chance and freedom to apply the methods learned in class to their own field. For example, if the student field is transportation/traffic, they can apply “neural networks” to predict the traffic flow on a highway segment.


(Pallavi) Sociology/ Post Colonial Studies/ International Development   

Critical Pedagogy is an excellent tool to teach and learn sociological concepts. Sociological concepts include learning about inequalities to address local and global social problems. Addressing the question of inequalities include discussions around gender, race, income, etc. Discussing these topics can lead to emotive responses in the class. To ensure that students learn to critically analyze these societal issues one needs to include various strategies. When I teach my courses before starting any lecture or discussion, I make sure to start with a strong example to demonstrate that this is a ‘real’ issue affecting all of us together. For instance, before discussing gender inequality persisting in society, I will show a documentary analyzing wage gap between both the genders in the US.  These strategies help students to understand and connect to the issue and makes it easier for them to grasp the concepts. In addition to ensuring that the students learn to critically analyze these concepts, I make them engage in various group activities to discuss social issues and possible solution to these issues. These group activities help them to share their learning with each other, and they also learn together, in addition to building the community.

Group 6 Members: (“We’re the best, around! Nothing’s ever gonna keep us down!)

– Angelica Stovall (Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom),

– Riya Nandi (Bell Hooks: Democratic Education, Engaged Pedagogy)

– Maha Elouni (Joe L. Kinchloe, “Moving to Critical Complexity,” in The Critical Pedagogy Primer (2004), pp. 108-110)

Jonathan LLoyd (bell hooks,”Critical Thinking” in Teaching critical thinking: Practical wisdom. Routledge.)

– Pallavi Raonka – Joe L. Kinchloe, “Paulo Freire (1921-1997)” in The Critical Pedagogy Primer (2004), pp. 69-75

-John Bartos – (Paper 3) Paulo Freire: Chapter 2 of Pedagogy of the Oppressed

“Critical Pedagogy” or, no, no, no, don’t stick to the status quo



Complex Critical Pedagogy (CP) comes from same place as Critical Race Theory in sociology and acknowledges intersectionality and difference.  Rooted in identity, and intersectionality, one’s position and interactions in the larger world are based on this identity. With that understanding, CP identifies intersectional identities and giving right resources to recognize the power structures which they are a part of and to challenge those same structures.  

  • As a teacher, understanding how the local, political, and social environments influence and impact individual learners, and with, and through, this knowledge tailoring methods to engage learners where they are and where they want to go.
Image result for critical race theory

Heather Kissel: Psychology, though it is a field that focuses on individual differences, often fails to focus on what these individual differences mean for a person situated within a particular, time, place, and power structure. In fact, to address these issues, there have been several subdisciplines of psychology that have been created and issues of culture, power, economics, and society are considered the purview of these fringe areas alone, specifically cultural psychology, environmental psychology, and socioecological psychology. However, if psychology is truly going to help insight change in education or itself, it needs to get over its distaste for qualitative methods and desire to distance itself from sociology. The APA realizes this, but only for some variables, for example, socioeconomic status. There is a clear relationship between SES and health and other important outcomes related to psychology. In studying SES in psychology, there are three approaches—the materialistic approach, the gradient approach, and the social class approach. In regards to critical pedagogy, the social class approach is the most relevant. This approach focuses on intersectionality and how having multiple identities leads to further advantage or disadvantage (the experience and opportunities for a white male in America versus a black woman are very different). Access to education differs based on differences in wealth due to historic discrimination (redlining cut off houses as a way to build wealth for African Americans) and just being “colorblind” now does not acknowledge that some people are trying to play the same game but without the same starting resources. As teachers of psychology, we have to realize that our students come from these diverse backgrounds within a certain power structure just as we recognize this in our research. Psychology research participants and researchers are too WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic)—this limits our ability to discover psychological principles that generalize to humanity in general, and better the lives of marginalized populations specifically. Who is in power (the researchers) determine what questions get to be asked. Similarly, who is in power in the classroom (the teacher, generally), impacts what is covered. In critical pedagogy, an equitable community needs to be built and the issues the students face in their particular society need to be addressed. One way to combine critical pedagogy with teaching psychology and performing psychological research is to shift to more community based participatory research (CBPAR), in which community members decide what questions are important and how to study them, rather than being recruited to answer the researchers questions that may not apply to them after the hypotheses and what is deemed to be important have already been determined.

Image result for cbpar

Davon Woodard:  Cities are the collective physical and social sites of our individual lived experiences.  In applying complex critical theory to teaching urban planning theory and praxis, planners must eschew the notion of the neutral planner and a positivist or monolithic experience of the city.  Instead, while rooted in our own identities, the planner should foster polyvocality, within our complex and interwoven environments. (Image: Polyvocality of Resilience –

Connor Owens: In the dairy industry and classrooms, we seem to be constantly working against the idea of tradition. “This is how we have always done it and it works for us” is commonly heard when my class visits a farm for a case study. This has been applied to either how the farm operates (what they feed or how the cows are milked) or who works where on the farm (men and young boys mostly doing the milking/farm work and women typically being left out of the big decisions). I try to show my students why this “tradition” excuse does not work and how not only can they critically evaluate the dairy farm, but how they can pass on these evaluation tools to the other dairy farmers. I get my students to question why the farm is operating in a certain manner, who is working where, and how, based on the climate of the dairy industry,  can they recommend evaluations to these farmers. Passing on the tools tied to critical pedagogy/critical consciousness on to the students will hopefully provide them the opportunity to pass them on when they work in the industry. It is also key to have my students step outside of the dairy industry and view the farm from an outsider’s perspective. While it is difficult, it is key to getting the students the reasons why certain operations exist in the dairy field and how they are important to the overall operations. It also gets them to view why certain “traditional” practices are actually not beneficial for the farmer or the cow (looking at you tie-stall farming). Overall, I need the students to realize the dairy industry is an interplay of multiple facets that dynamically interact. (image: van der Lee et al, 2014).

Robin Ott:  I believe in the importance of understanding students’ prior knowledge before beginning to teach a class.  Because the class cannot be designed to best work for each student until this information is known. I could expand the definition of prior knowledge to include more information about each student – a sort of demographic view of where they come from and what they believe in.  Having this understanding of each student’s starting point will enable me to create a more inclusive and less dictatorial learning environment, and is my definition of critical pedagogy. All of this sounds straightforward, however, I never have less than 400 students in a single class so I do doubt the likelihood that this plan is scalable to a class of my size.  

Shannon Roosma:The idea of critical pedagogy can be seen in several areas of Counselor Education. Counselor educators place an emphasis on co-creating a learning environment rather than viewing the teacher as the expert and the learner as an information receptacle. Growth and learning happen in the context of a community and require openness to each other and new ideas. In this field learning is largely about becoming, rather than simply memorizing facts without digesting and incorporating them into oneself. Principles of critical pedagogy can also be seen in the emphasis on the unique qualities of the individual, including the culture and background from which they come. Learning is a unique process that cannot be based upon a teacher’s preferences or habits without consideration of who the learner is and how that individual will connect with and apply the information that is being explored.

Adbhut Gupta: I like the example of Einstein ( also because it is related to Physics). All students’ have different types of ways of understanding and thinking and approaching a problem. Einstein felt that school was mainly run by means of fear, power and artificial authority and did not arouse any curiosity or learning in him. He left school because of this reason. If there is  a classroom environment which encouraged critical thinking, an environment which includes perspectives of different students, we could have many Einsteins instead of just one.