Review of ‘Enabling Critical Pedagogy in Higher Education’

Enabling Critical Pedagogy in Higher Education’, provides practitioners and educational professionals with a holistic overview of the subject. The book highlights pragmatic ways in which critical pedagogy can be integrated into daily practice, as well as large scale curriculum changes. Key concepts are broken down in a dynamic and digestible way and essential tools are provided to create more stimulating and anti-oppressive learning environments.
Through the lens of Enabling Critical Pedagogy, education is envisioned as an informal, shared and negotiated experience in which the roles of student and educator are flexible and interchangeable. Within this space, rich, organic learning can truly take place. The book explores the multifaceted and multidisciplinary application of critical pedagogy and suggests that by enabling such practice, educators can empower the production of authentic knowledge and the development of critical thinkers.
The book offers an exciting reimagining of institutions and the frameworks in which they operate. Mike and Alan emphasise the significance of platforming minoritised narratives such as those of queer, indigenous and working class communities – whose voices have been stolen and suppressed by academia. They critique the white, patriarchal, Eurocentric and classed nature of higher education and prepare the reader to challenge the downfalls of current neoliberal, colonial teachings and methodologies.
Mike and Alan discuss the potential obstacles of enabling critical pedagogy in higher education. They point out that learners are often unaccustomed to such interactive, inclusive and autonomous academic environments in which they can equally challenge, and be themselves. Mike and Alan give readers the confidence to step out of their comfort and employ courage and passion in order to redefine the passivity of education. They encourage readers to become responsible practitioners by acknowledging the intersections of their own privilege and oppression, which in turn empowers an understanding of the unique context of each individual learner or group. They address creative, compassionate and comprehensive solutions to de-standardise, de-colonise and de-centre hetero-patriarchal norms within academia and voice non-dominant epistemologies and ideologies. The book is landmarked with poignant questions; allowing a chance for both reflection and an experience of critical pedagogy in practise.
From a student perspective, higher education lacks a sense of togetherness, transparency and accountability. We are in need of more liberating learning environments in which we can thrive and question ourselves, our peers and the very institutions we are part of. Environments that recognise marginalised voices and the wealth of knowledge in the room and address the need to engage with our compliance in exporting ideologies across the colonial world. The current process of learning does not allow space for students or practitioners to come together in collective force to share stories, struggles and cultures and can easily become hostile, exclusionary and simply inefficient.
The book instills faith in oneself as a practitioner and student and offers the possibility of genuinely fulfilling experiences in higher education. Readers are left with the message of, “we don’t know if we don’t try”. Whether it be creating an inclusive space for honest dialogue within daily practice, or becoming actively accountable for academias debt to the colonial world  – the book offers a sense of hope that pedagogues can create radical change and transformation within higher education.
Hannah Poklad,
Freelance Photographer & Leeds Beckett Youth and Community Work MA Level 7 Student

Hannah Poklad reviews Enabling Critical Pedagogy in Higher Education’ by Mike Seal and Alan Smith and edited by Joy Jarvis and Karen Smith.

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ISBN : 9781914171093
Edition No : 1
Publication : Sep 3, 2021
Extent : 96 pgs

By: thecriticalblog
Title: Review of ‘Enabling Critical Pedagogy in Higher Education’
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Published Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2021 12:45:15 +0000


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