Critical pedagogy and popular education: towards a unity of theory and practice

April 2011
Studies in the Education of Adults;Spring2011, Vol. 43 Issue 1, p34
Academic Journal
In critical and feminist educational circles there has been a lively debate between those who call for more emphasis on contextualisation and concrete practices and those who defend a more generalised view of critical pedagogy. The unceasing march of corporate globalisation and neoliberalism make it absolutely urgent that educators and organisers dedicated to social justice find ways to work together to increase our effectiveness and extend our fields of action. Popular education, which shares historical roots with critical pedagogy, can help to resolve some of the enduring dilemmas of critical pedagogy and increase its ability to achieve its goals. In this paper, the author locates herself within the field of popular education and provides an introduction to its philosophy/methodology. Next, she reviews what popular education has to offer in terms of relevant language, concrete practices, and opportunities to experience changed social relations, providing examples from her own practice. Finally, she proposes a synthesis of the two philosophies/practices, which can be brought about through increased dialogue and joint action between critical and popular educators.


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