How to Get Started

If you are wondering how to incorporate critical pedagogy into your own research, teaching, and practice, here are some suggestions to get you started!

Understanding Key Concepts

These concepts are posited in Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed and are essential to understanding critical pedagogy.

  • Banking Concept of Education - The idea that education is the "act of depositing" whereby "students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor" representing an imbalance of power in which the teacher knows all and bestows knowledge onto the student who knows nothing.
  • Conscientization - A term that "refers to learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions, and to take action against the oppressive elements of reality" by which a person develops a critical awareness of the social reality one lives in.
  • Critical Consciousness - Taken together, conscientization and praxis (or the process by which one becomes critically conscious for the purpose of freedom and liberation) are what is widely referred to as Critical Consciousness, and is comprised of three iterative components: critical reflection, critical motivation, and critical action (Diemer et al., 2016).
  • Praxis - A process of action and reflection in which ideas are put into practice in order to gain knowledge of one's social reality from a critical lens.

Know the Scholars

In addition to Paulo Freire, there are other leading scholars who have helped shape public discourse around critical pedagogy. Learn more about them at the sites listed below.

Put It into Practice

Here are some actionable items one can implement in order to begin a critical practice

  • Dialogue - Encourage dialogue with students, faculty, and colleagues towards amplifying marginalized voices and perspectives.
  • Active learning - Adopt strategies that utilize multiple methods of engagement in teaching and learning.
  • Diverse perspectives - Incorporate multiple and alternative perspectives that promote critical thinking and introspection.
  • Critical consciousness - Practice reflection, motivation, and action as an approach to analyzing and redressing social inequities in education and society at-large.


Read these case studies for examples of how critical pedagogy is implemented in the classroom:


Diemer, M. A., Rapa, L. J., Voight, A. M., & McWhirter, E. H. (2016). Critical consciousness: A developmental approach to addressing marginalization and oppression. Child Development Perspectives, 10(4), 216-221.

Freire, P. (2018). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Bloomsbury Academic.