Critical Pedagogy : Reflective Thinking, Knowledge Gathering, And Collaborative Decision Making

Critical Pedagogy : Reflective Thinking, Knowledge Gathering, And Collaborative Decision Making

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“Critical pedagogy involves problem posing, reflective thinking, knowledge gathering, and collaborative decision making. It helps students and teachers find and express their voice, in oral and written form” (Ovando & Combs, 2012, p.110). Creating lessons that connects to the students’ life experiences will help with student engagement, but that alone will not develop higher level thinking skills and generate reflective thinking. Teachers need to create a learning environment that stimulate student questioning. Project based learning and collaborative learning are also methods of creating an active learners instead of a classroom where the teacher merely deposits information. Being adaptive and flexible are characteristics that a teacher should poses. Reflecting on lessons and improving upon them or re-teaching lessons when needed, makes for a progressive teacher.
In my high school art class, students were to create a piece of art on a topic that they felt strongly about and that they felt a personal connection to. In addition to the art piece, students needed to write an artist statement expressing their views about the piece. They could use any art medium that we had available in the art room or that they would want to supply themselves. The artwork could be a drawing, painting, ceramic piece, digital art, mixed medium or another art form of their choosing. Before starting the art project, I demonstrated brainstorming techniques using a mind map to develop ideas, and then had students individually create their own mind map. Once that was completed, they were to create practice sketches on one of the topics or issues that they wanted to further explore from their mind map. The art piece could be realistic, abstract, a collage...


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...dn’t be rushed. Often times, I tell my students to sketch out their first idea and then rule it out, because it’s usually everyone else’s first idea as well. Requiring at least four different practice sketches before a student can start on their project, results in more innovative and meaningful concepts.
In addition to the art project, students were to reflect on the assignment and create an artist statement about their art piece. English Language Learners could write in their first language if they were unable to effectively express themselves in English. After reading the written work, I could further grasp the complexity of their art pieces. ELLs were able to follow the lesson and capable of generating same level of difficulty and complex thinking as the rest of the class. Incorporating a cultural component, offered all students a platform for self-expression.

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