Thought explorer or memory champion?

Everyone has a level of intellect that allows them to perceive the world and capture knowledge through uniquely tailored glasses. Diverse perspectives on a single topic, rather than relying solely on one or a few significant points of view, can help to create a more comprehensive picture of it. The agency of each mind is a topic that critical pedagogy must address.

Critical pedagogy is not a contemporary interest; the Socratic approach suggested a dialectic method of inquiry to evolve knowledge through conversations. It utilized cross-investigation of an assertion and premise to uncover conflict or inconsistency in a reasoning process. Socrates tried to help students question domination and the theories and procedures that lead to critical consciousness. Similarly, in some traditions like some periods in Islamic intellectual tradition, “disputation” as a formalized process of scholarly discussion was a method employed for critical and didactic objectives.

In each case, the purpose had always been illustrating the superiority of reason over passion and knowledge over ignorance. The idea was that the knowledge that gains collectively is more comprehensive and provides more opportunities to democratize societies. Everyone’s voice shall be heard, and there is room for every opinion to emerge, discuss, and potentially help to develop knowledge.

In our time, the uncertainty of advances in sciences is more revealed, and the idea of absoluteness in any discovery is vanishing. We are more aware of relativity in achievements, and we took great lessons from the history of science in how any discovery can be shattered by one after. No ready answer is now accepted, and there is often an inquiry about it.

Critical pedagogy’s role is to passionately activate students’ minds to think of more interesting questions rather than surrendering passively with ready answers since, in most cases, there is no such thing as one true static answer. Many human achievements were created by looking into anomalies and interrogating new ways to look at a question. I believe the fascinating aspect of science is the personalized influencing; each person can impact its evolution with her background, perspective, and interpretation. By encouraging and valuing individual views, instructors are promoting a potential discovery towards hidden domains. Doubting is an essential step in such a process and everyone, including instructors, needs to be conscious of opportunities that doubting can bring.

everything looks different when you change the scale.

4 replies to “Thought explorer or memory champion?

  1. Thank you for the blog Sara,
    I totally agree with you teaching should always encourage critical thinking and questioning of facts. This is how we grow our knowledge and this is how development should take place.
    A teachers job is to transfer their knowledge to the student so that they can improve on it, not to dump the knowledge without any debate or discussion

    Ashit Harode


  2. Hi Sara,
    I love that you brought in some other philosophies into this – really interesting way to blend these different schools of thought. Crazy to think that hundreds of thousands of years ago we were already thinking about the way that we learn and still be thinking with a similar mindset. I like to believe that with time, we begin to be ok with these changes in education and not just in the content itself but also in the way that we present it. As educators we have to facilitate and embrace these different challenges that are going to eventually pop up along the way.


  3. Hi Sara,

    Thank you for your thoughts on this. I like that you brought different philosophies into this and gave examples of other methods (disputation). It is interesting to mix these different philosophies and see what kind of teaching we get. We should encourage critical thinking amongst our students and provide them with the tools and information they need to learn. I like how you mentioned interrogating new ways to look at questions. This is something we should be encouraging in our classes.


  4. Hi Sara,

    Thank you for generating this thoughtful post! I totally agree that critical pedagogy should include critical thinking and just memorizing or transferring information. I think that this topic was also explored through the TED talk by Darke Pink that we listened to last week. It is great to see all these aspects across the class come together.


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