Critical didactics: characteristics and objectives

Critical didactics or critical pedagogy, Is a philosophy and social movement that applies concepts ranging from critical theory to the teaching-learning process. Being a philosophy, it offers a series of theoretical perspectives which problematize both the contents and the purposes of pedagogy. Likewise, being a social movement, it problematizes the very act of educating and is promoted as an inherently political perspective.

In this article, we will see what critical didactics is and how it has transformed educational models and practices.

  • Related article: “Types of pedagogy: educating from different specialties”

Critical didactics: from education to consciousness

Critical pedagogy is a theoretical and practical proposition that has been developed to reformulate the traditional notions and practices of education. Among other things, he proposes that the teaching-learning process be a tool that can promote critical awareness, And with it, the emancipation of the oppressed people.

Critical pedagogy is the theoretical basis of educational practice; and didactics, on the contrary, is the discipline in which this base materializes. In other words, didactics it becomes visible directly in the classroom and in the content taught, While pedagogy works as the ideological support (Ramírez, 2008). The two processes, theoretical and practical, are understood in this perspective as the same process, so that their characteristics are generally encompassed in the same way under the terms “critical didactics” or “critical pedagogy”.

Its theoretical basis

At the epistemological level, critical didactics starts from considering that all knowledge is mediated by the categories of comprehension (Red,), with which, consequently, it is neither neutral nor immediate; its production is included in the context and not in the context thereof. Since the act of education is fundamentally an act of knowledge, critical didactics it takes into account its consequences and its political elements.

The latter also requires thinking that the school of modernity is not a creation that transcends history, but that it is linked to the origins and development of a particular type of society and state (Costa, Mainer, Mateos, et al. Thus, it performs functions that are important to make visible and problematize.

The above includes both the content of the school and the emphasis on the subjects they teach, as well as the pedagogical strategies and relationships that develop between teachers and students. It specifically promotes a dialogical relationship, where it is established in an egalitarian dialogue strongly centered on the needs of the students and not just as a teacher.

It also considers the effects that teaching practices can have on students, especially those who have historically been excluded from mainstream education.

    Paulo Freire: pioneer of critical pedagogy

    At the end of the twentieth century, the Brazilian pedagogue Paulo Freire developed an educational philosophy in which he argued that education is a tool that should be used to get rid of oppression. Through this, it is possible to create critical awareness in people and generate fundamentally community-based emancipatory practices.

    Freire sought to give students the ability to think critically about their own student situation; as good as contextualize this situation in a particular society. What he was looking for was to make connections between individual experiences and the social contexts in which they were generated. Both his theory of the pedagogy of the oppressed and his model of community education form a large part of the basis of critical didactics.

    6 theoretical hypotheses of pedagogy and critical didactics

    According to Ramírez (2008), six hypotheses must be taken into account to describe and understand critical pedagogy. The same author explains that the hypotheses refer both to the theoretical nourishment of critical didactics and to the educational activities that result from it.

    1. Promote social participation

    Follow the community education model, Critical didactics promotes social participation, beyond the school context. This includes strengthening democratic thinking that recognizes both problems and alternative solutions.

    2. Horizontal communication

    This is to promote equality of conditions between the will of the different subjects involved in the teaching-learning process. It dissolves the hierarchical relationship and a process of ‘unlearning’, ‘learning’ and ‘relearning’ takes place, which also influences subsequent ‘reflection’ and ‘assessment’.

    One of the examples of specific didactic strategies, and in the context of classrooms, is the debate and consensus which is applied both to reflect on specific social issues and in the structuring of programs.

    3. Historical reconstruction

    Historical reconstruction is a practice that allows us to understand the process by which pedagogy was established as such, and also consider its scope and the limits of the educational process itself, In relation to political and communicative changes.

    4. Humanize educational processes

    It refers to the stimulation of intellectual capacities, but at the same time refers to the sharpening of the sensory apparatus. This is create the conditions necessary to generate self-government and collective actions; as well as a critical awareness of the institutions or structures that generate oppression.

    Recognizes the need to place the subject at the heart of social circumstances, where education is not only synonymous with “instruction”; but a powerful mechanism of analysis, reflection and discernment, both of its own attitudes and behavior, and of politics, ideology and society.

    5. Contextualize the educational process

    It is based on the principle of education for community life, in search of signs of collective identity which questioning cultural crises and values ​​based on segregation and exclusion. In this way, the school is recognized as a stage of criticism and questioning of hegemonic models.

    6. Transform social reality

    All of the above has implications at the micropolitical level, not just in the classroom. The school is understood as a space and a dynamic which brings together social problems, which makes it possible to suggest specific avenues for finding solutions.

    Bibliographical references:

    • Rojas, A. (2009). Critical didactics, critical criticism of educational banks. Integra Educativa, 4 (2): 93-108.
    • Ramírez, R. (2008). Critical pedagogy. An ethical way to generate educational processes. Folis (28): 108-119.
    • Costa, R., Mainer, J., Mateos, J. et al. (2005) Critical didactics. Where need and desire meet. With the social sciences. 17-54.

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