COMPLEX CRITICAL PEDAGOGY GROUP DEFINITION:
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.
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.
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.