I recently completed my masters in music education through Boston University. During my studies, I learned about a theory called Critical Pedagogy. I was immediately fascinated and realized that I had believed in this theory throughout my entire career, but never had a name. I am dedicating this blog to my thoughts on Critical Pedagogy and my new experiences with it within my classroom.
So, first, let me explain Critical Pedagogy (aka “CP”).
Critical Pedagogy is a synergetic environment, created by Paulo Freire, in which the teacher learns from the students and the students learn from the teacher (Abrahams 2005, 6). Learning ensues through experiences related to the history of the students’ daily lives and their environment, in which students are free to create the unthinkable and expand the unknowable. Critical Pedagogy is a form of learning that allows and encourages the students to go beyond the knowledge of the teacher and transforms students as well as the teacher (2005). The use of personal experiences through this curriculum encourages interdependent and transformative thought, practice, and application. It is my intent to apply these ideals of synergy in a “safe” environment this year: an extracurricular activity.
So now, let me explain my “Lab”
My Lab for experimenting in CP is an after school group called “Orchestra Electrified.” This orchestra consists of 7th and 8th grade orchestra members at a school in Fairfax County. The intent is for this orchestra to be mostly student-run and for me to act as a Critical Pedagogue, stepping in when I need to do so. It is my hope that by the end of this school year, the students will no longer need me…. We’ll see how this goes!
Finally, my goals:
1. Students will lead all rehearsals, sectionals, and performances.
2. Students will choose music, arrange music, and compose music.
3. Students will think critically about music in multiple aspects: historical context, composer intent, and musicians’ interpretation among others.
4. Students will gain confidence and knowledge through this experience.