Publication Date

2006

Abstract

Educators today are focusing on how the public education system can maintain high standards for all students. This focus has resulted in an increased awareness of teacher education and preparation programs because it is recognized that teachers have the power to nudge their students towards imaginative thinking or towards a feeling of powerlessness in the classroom. Most teacher education programs spend little time on this power dynamic, believing that methodology is the best way to prepare teachers. This inquiry uses qualitative research methods to document a case study of one pre-service teacher educator engaged in critical pedagogy. Critical pedagogy's fundamental beliefs are that learning is co-created, is formed through the teacher student relationship, and cares for the identity development of both student and teacher. Through a critical analysis of this professor's course documents, published work, and reflections on her practice gained through in-depth interviews, this inquiry identifies areas of focus that are present when teaching pre-service teachers to practice critical pedagogy. Professors can encourage new teachers to be critical pedagogues by promoting reflexivity, thinking critically about content and process, heightening awareness about power relations, creating opportunity for co-construction, and connecting personal experience to the real world. While this study identifies five main areas of focus that enhance the teaching of critical pedagogy, it is not meant to be a prescriptive checklist. This study is meant to stimulate discussions among educators thereby enhancing their reflective practice, encourage conversations among people about their own experiences in school, and get us all to think critically about why we know what we know, and why we don't know what we don't know?

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