What types of Critical Pedagogies are there?

Here, we will look more closely at a few select pedagogies. This is by no means an exhaustive list as there are many methods of teaching and learning that have emerged from various critical theories.

Antiracist Pedagogy

Antiracist Pedagogy has been defined as "a paradigm located within Critical Theory utilized to explain and counteract the persistence and impact of racism using praxis as its focus to promote social justice for the creation of a democratic society in every respect" (Blakeney, 2005). Like all critical pedagogies, antiracist pedagogy challenges the hidden curriculum and critiques the banking system of education, both concepts first introduced by Freire in Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

An expanded definition that explicitly considers teaching offers this:

"Anti-racist pedagogy is not about simply incorporating racial content into courses, curriculum, and discipline. It is also about how one teaches, even in courses where race is not the subject matter. It begins with the faculty’s awareness and self-reflection of their social position and leads to application of this analysis in their teaching, but also in their discipline, research, and departmental, university, and community work. In other words, anti-racist pedagogy is an organizing effort for institutional and social change that is much broader than teaching in the classroom." (Kishimoto, 2018).

Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies

Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy (CSP) "seeks to perpetuate and foster--to sustain--linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism as part of schooling for positive social transformation" and "positions dynamic cultural dexterity as a necessary good, and sees the outcome of learning as additive rather than subtractive, as remaining whole rather than framed as broken, as critically enriching strengths rather than replacing deficits" (Paris & Alim, 2017). CSP builds upon and pushes forward concepts from previously posited asset pedagogies including:

  • Culturally Compatible Pedagogy (Jacob & Jordan, 1987)
  • Culturally Congruent Pedagogy (Au & Kawakami, 1994)
  • Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 1995)
  • Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (Gay, 2000)

Engaged Pedagogy

Engaged Pedagogy was first posited by bell hooks who believed that teaching should center well-being which requires that teachers "be actively committed to a process of self-actualization that promotes their own well-being if they are to teach in a manner that empowers students (1994). The overarching focus of engaged pedagogy is to educate as a practice of freedom.


Au, K., & Kawakami, A. (1994). Cultural congruence in instruction. In E. Hollins, J. King & W. Hayman (Eds.), Teaching diverse populations: Formulating knowledge base (pp. 5-23), Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Blakeney, A. M. (2005). Antiracist pedagogy: Definition, theory, and professional development. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 2(1), 119–132.

Gay, G. (2000). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. London, UK: Routledge.

Jacob, E., & Jordan, C. (1987). Moving to dialogue. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 18(1), 259-261.

Kishimoto, K. (2018). Anti-racist pedagogy: From faculty’s self-reflection to organizing within and beyond the classroom. Race Ethnicity and Education, 21(4), 540-554.

Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. American Educational Research Journal, 32(3), 465-491.

Paris, D., & Alim, H. S. (2017). Culturally sustaining pedagogies: Teaching and learning for justice in a changing world. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.