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‘Critical pedagogy’ refers loosely to a raft of theoretical and practical work, drawing on critical theory, psychology, and philosophy to align pedagogy with learning in struggles against oppression. But it is harder to practise (in today’s society) than to theorise. Advocates for critical pedagogy have argued that an essential element should be the joining of learners with teachers in ‘learning-teaching’ in struggle against oppression.

The traditional form of pedagogic transmission of the cultural canon (passing on ‘truths’ to the next generation) was challenged by Enlightenment philosophers with more ‘progressive’, learner-centred alternatives involving the agency of next generation in practice. But in the West, perhaps U.S. educator John Dewey (1859–1952) is best known for articulating the new philosophy of education: He noted especially that learners learn what ...

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