A Closer Look at Critical Pedagogy

This week in ECS 210 we dove further into the four curriculum models and examined them through a critical lens. During this lecture, one of the critical pedagogy theorists, Michael Apple, and his ideas resonated with me and I would like to draw attention to one of his more famous quotes that we looked over in class: “…I am even more convinced now, that until we take seriously the extent to which education is caught up in the real world of shifting and unequal power relations, we will be living in a world divorced from reality.” From what I can gather, Apple is referring to the avoidance of injustice in society and more specifically in our education system and curriculum. By doing this we are living in a fantasy or simply denying the obvious truth because social injustice does exist in our world. We want to believe that we are providing inclusive education for our students because our curriculums claim to be “neutral” but really, the curriculum cannot be neutral. The curriculum will always benefit the dominant group as they are the ones who decide what it consists of. Even if you as an educator claim to “not pick sides” by default you are choosing the dominant group and supporting their choices. It is next to impossible to be neutral in education.


When it comes to teachers in the critical pedagogy model, they play a very important role. Teachers are supposed to help facilitate critical thinking so that students are given the tools to be able to identify, stand up and overcome injustices. Educators are supposed to reach past their comfort zone and discuss with their students the difficult topics that the curriculum does not. This can happen formally in a lesson, but lots of times it happens in an informal context in the school setting between social interactions. Students are also encouraged to work past their boundaries and engage in things that are uncomfortable with them. If we do not move past these barriers then progress is impossible. No breakthrough ever occurred because someone was doing something in their safety bubble and this is the attitude educators and students need to adopt if we want to see real change within our education system.

One thought on “A Closer Look at Critical Pedagogy

  1. Hey Jess! I think that what you brought up about the intersection of curriculum and social justice is really interesting. Integrating content about social justice issues and anti-oppressive education into a curriculum that is influenced by the very ideas that are opposites to that seems like a really difficult feat, but that is exactly what we as teachers are called to do for our students.


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