This article is about the critical approach to curriculum. Those who embrace the critical approach to curriculum consider education as a political act, one that should function in liberated ways (Piner 1978). This is a topic under subject knowledge and curriculum for B.Ed. I will give links for further reference at the end of the article.
The critical approach to curriculum
- Paolo Freire (1985) was a pioneer of this approach. He was a Brazilian adult literacy educator who worked with laborers, peasants etc. He was greatly influenced by his experiences with these economically marginalized social class.
- The critical approach assumes that education is a value-laden process.
- Learners actively create knowledge as they participate in learning by taking a critical look at who has power and what impact that power has on the lives of those without it.
- This way learners recognize the casual and circumstantial relationships that cause social injustice.
- Gaining power with words transfers into gaining personal power and making a change in the world.
- Freire’s theories and curricula that comes out of them promote critical thinking, dialogue, and discussion making activities that support democratic ideals and move towards socially critical consciousness.
- In developing critical curriculum, teachers must first learn about important issues in their student’s lives through conversation, journaling, discussions and lots of listening.
- This research enables teachers to identify issues that relate to the experiences and concerns student’s identity.
- Reading and writing develop one after another with critical thinking skills and literacy learning becomes a means of transforming student’s lives and communities.
- Often, a unit of curriculum ends with meaningful action that addresses community needs.
- In critical approach
- Teachers lead the class while following the leads of learners.
- The form of knowledge gained is fixed and depends on interaction among students, texts and teachers. Knowledge is created rather than taken in.
- Here education is political. Both language and power are connected.
- It addresses social and community issues of importance.
- The curriculum is not set in advance. It emerges from “action and interaction of the participants” [Doll, 1993]
- Learning is assessed through the portfolio, self-assessment instruments, measures of social and political change and levels of critical consciousness reached. Here external performance levels do not apply
Advantages of Critical approach to curriculum
- It does not ignore the difficulties that learners face in life and provides a way for learners to meet them head-on.
- It is motivating as it does not create a separation between a learner’s life and what they are learning.
- It helps the learner bridge the classroom/real world divide.
- It is helpful in social justice embracement.
Disadvantages of Critical approach to curriculum
- It is time-consuming.
- Teachers need a particular set of facilitation skills to teach reading and writing.
- Learners may be uneasy as they are not familiar with it.
- Since taking action in a crucial element of the curriculum teachers need to recognize the potential that learner’s actions may cause a backlash from the powers that are being questioned.
Further References on Critical approach to curriculum http://www.ncsall.net/[email protected]=190.html http://www.ncsall.net/[email protected]=202.html In the above pages look for the pdf download to get more in-depth and accurate knowledge on this topic.