Roundhouse Student Journal

Critical pedagogy in contemporary universities: a Habermasian perspective

Abstract

A specific conceptualisation of critical higher education pedagogy drawn from Jurgen Habermas’s theory of communicative action will be considered for its desirability and feasibility.  It is a conceptualisation of critical pedagogy which constructs students as future citizens and emphasises the development of ‘communicative reason’ in relation to both learning and teaching.  If we think that the goals of such a critical pedagogy are desirable, it is necessary to think about what in the university environment  constrains and enables  a shift towards it in actual policies and practices.

Dr Monica McLean is Reader in Higher Education in the School of Education at the University of Nottingham.’ She employs social theory to investigate higher education pedagogical policies and practice resulting in the book Pedagogy and the University:  Critical Theory and Practice .She is principal investigator for the ESRC-funded project which uses the theory of the sociologist Basil Bernstein to explore ‘Pedagogic quality and inequality in university first degrees’.

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