Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Critical Pedagogy: EFL Teachers' Views, Experience and Academic Degrees

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Critical Pedagogy: EFL Teachers' Views, Experience and Academic Degrees

Article excerpt


Although critical pedagogy has brought about positive changes in the field of education by shifting from traditional pedagogy to emancipatory pedagogy, not much attention has been paid to the factors affecting teachers' beliefs of critical pedagogy and only few studies have been conducted to design reliable and valid instruments to study EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teachers' beliefs about different aspects of teaching in the field of critical pedagogy. Consequently, there is a gap in our knowledge of critical pedagogy in terms of Iranian EFL teachers' beliefs about critical pedagogy and their tendency to implement it in teaching EFL. This study was conducted to help fill this gap, through developing a questionnaire and focusing on the relationship between teachers' teaching experience and educational background, and their beliefs about critical pedagogy. To this end, a critical language pedagogy questionnaire was developed and validated, using factor analysis. The questionnaire was administered to 403 respondents. Pearson Correlation Coefficient and MANOVA were used to analyze the data. The result indicated that there were significant differences among the BA, MA and PhD participants' awareness of critical pedagogy, with the PhD holders found to be the most aware of principles and practices of critical language pedagogy. Furthermore, teachers' teaching experience had a significant relationship with their awareness of critical pedagogy with more experienced teachers scoring higher on the four factors in the questionnaire.

Keywords: banking education, critical pedagogy, English as a Foreign Language (EFL)

1. Introduction

Education has changed dramatically from rough thought of the previous traditional understanding of teaching and learning towards ideological education which has made a wide range of changes in the field of education. In traditional pedagogy teachers are considered the sole authority in the classroom (Kumaravadivelu, 2003) whose main responsibility is to transfer content knowledge from their mind to students' mind (Freire, 1972). In traditional pedagogy, there is a socially failed connection between the teacher and the students in the classroom and learners are passive recipients of knowledge. This traditional perspective was called by Freire (1972) as banking method. Freire was against the banking concept in educational institutes and introduced the problem-posing model of education which seeks to learners' empowerment by raising their consciousness to critique and challenge oppressive social conditions (Freire, 1972).

Drawing on the critiques and theories proposed by Freire (1972), Gramshi (1988), Apple (1979), Giroux (1992), Maclaren (2003), and Shor (1992) the theory of critical pedagogy was developed as an alternative way of thinking of education (Kincheloe, 2004). Critical pedagogy was developed to account for the implicit power structures that dominated the classroom in particular and the educational system in general.

Critical pedagogy "seeks to understand and critique the historical and sociopolitical context of schooling and to develop pedagogical practices that aim not only to change the nature of schooling, but also the wider society" (Pennycook, 1999, p. 33). Critical pedagogy attempts to move away from teacher-and-text-centered curricula by focusing on students' interests and their situated identities to instill in students a critical mind-set to become agents of change. Critical pedagogy asserts that the way a student thinks about the world can be changed by the right teaching method (Freire, 1972; Hook, 1994; McLaren, 1998).

The main purpose of critical pedagogy is to use education as a means to bring about a more socially just society (Kanpol, 1999; Kessing-Styles, 2003; Kincheloe, 2004). According to Kincheloe (2008), the main assumptions of critical pedagogy are: recognition the sources of power, the political nature of education, justice and equality in education; the exclusion of economic determinism; the reducing of human suffering; positive changes in relationship between student and teacher; and the promotion of emancipation. …

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