Critical pedagogy is a theory of learning that asks students to critique power structures in society. Teachers who adopt critical pedagogy regularly challenge inequities that exist in families, health, education and more societal structures. Critical pedagogy involves challenging dominant and familiar narratives that have become normalized in society. Students become their own decision makers and are able to rewrite their own experiences and perceptions of the world around them. In recent years, critical pedagogy has incorporated elements from fields including the Human and Civil Rights Movements, Indigenous rights movements, queer theory and feminist theory.
Critical pedagogy is a philosophy of education and social movement that involves questioning normalized power structures and hierarchies that exist today. There are several steps within critical pedagogy: unlearning, learning, relearning, reflection and evaluation. Critical pedagogy supports a student-centered classroom, where students are no longer complacent figures, but rather critical thinkers and active participants of their learning. Put to practice, Philosophy educators who have adopted critical pedagogy may ask students to critique and evaluate both sides of an argument when writing a paper—not just the side that the student favors.