Essay about Critical Pedagogy in Social Studies Education

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Since the early twentieth century, educational theorists and researchers debated often about topics concerning the validity, purposes, and best approach to public education and the social studies discipline in the United States. Since the adoption of Ralph Tyler’s teacher-centered, essentialist approach to curriculum, John Dewey’s call for progressive reform and student-centered learning, and Paolo Freire’s call for an education that advocates social change and the destruction of social oppression, education pundits found themselves stuck between different goals, outcomes, and possibilities for teaching social studies. A review of recent literature proves that one of the goals, critical literacy, oftentimes stands at the center of …show more content…
211; Freire, 2006, p. 219). Such topics as race, gender, class, media, and environment are often discussed in a classroom atmosphere dedicated to democracy and free thought (Wolk, 2003, p. 102; National Council of the Social Studies, 2008, p. 212; Wile, 2000, p. 171; Soares, et. al., 2010, p. 487). In doing so, critical literacy is often associated with Paolo Freire’s rationale for a social education that breaks down the oppressor-oppressed relationship that exists across the world to form a society that is just, humane, and equal (Freire, 2006, pp. 43-46). In order to achieve this, students must develop social justice skills that call for them to be active citizens of their society (Wolk, 2003, p. 102; National Council of the Social Studies, 2008, p. 211; Kumashiro, 2001, p. 8; Wineburg, et. al., 2004, 45). Many researchers and theorists stress the need to approach social studies from a critical literacy perspective. The idea that the current social studies curriculum supports a small privileged class while ignoring all other classes is one that is oftentimes associated with the present curriculum taught today (Kumashiro, 2001, p. 4). Additionally, researchers theorized that students bring stereotypes, myths, and a partial knowledge of various histories and cultures to the classroom. They concluded that in order to better develop informed citizens, curriculum should be based on student needs, social values, and democracy to help students
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