Critical Thinking versus Critical Pedagogy

Updated: Jul 25, 2019

CPAs and soon-to-be CPAs are in for a treat. You must have touched on these twin concepts before once or twice in your lives—consciously or unconsciously. Now, this would be a real eye-opener…a mind-opener, if you ask me.

It is unquestionably a tall order to be critical and think critically especially when you must tackle the issue of “criticality” in the diverse milieu of Critical Thinking and Critical Pedagogy.

Delving on Dr. Burbules’ and Mr. Berk’s psyches, I do believe they are one in mentality that Critical Thinking and Critical Pedagogy both put the idea of internalizing the most genuine significance of becoming critical and/or being a deeper thinking person at the forefront of these two principles which are similar in some angles yet different in countless manners.

For one, both Critical Thinking and Critical Pedagogy champion the ideal that it is best to think twice, thrice, or a hundred times before believing that something is true based on what other people equally say and believe in. In like manner, you must dig (think) deeper and subject every “commonly accepted truism” to various tests that would pass the parameters and standards of facts, accuracy, and appropriateness—all of which point to the true meaning of truth.

I do agree with the authors that we cannot just fall naïve to the traps of dazzling accounts, loud declarations, across-the-board generalizations, and wondrous advancements—which all seemed affirmative at first heard and looked—but may eventually be proven illogical, unfounded, and unacceptable in the long run. This is exactly the heart of what the term “critical” really means—to exhaust all thinking faculties in order to avoid shams that could automatically sprout from anywhere, almost anytime, in all forms and sizes in this crazy interconnected world that we are living in right now.

Furthermore, both principles zero in on the outcome of creating more “critical thinking classrooms” paying special attention on the educational setting and how the culture of criticality can shake and break the plain and lousy traditions of schooling in terms of thinking-learning approaches for the sake of both the mentors and the learners. In a nutshell, Critical Thinking and Critical Pedagogy hope to bring in a-not-so new advancement towards the accomplishment of learning—by thinking intensely to avoid being deceived.

As regards differences, while Critical Thinking underpins the personal challenge to be extra critical against wobbly arguments, fleeting sensationalism, and unsubstantiated accusations, Critical Pedagogy, on the other hand, is more focused not on assessing the so-called “truth content” but in dealing with social justice.

Issues also abound against the two ideals but the most notable, I assume, would be its chauvinistic perspective as all authors who espouse these two principles are males.

Being a maverick educator myself, I am very much open to the total institution of Critical Thinking and Critical Pedagogy in every subject in school although I feel it must definitely be a given in the classroom setting. Unfortunately, the problem lies either in the capability of the instructor to facilitate or the capacity of the learners to absorb the internal-external process encompassing these two profound thoughts. In the Philippine educational scene, all mentors are confronted with the challenge to engage their students in higher order thinking as one skill-step in a long and winding curriculum. Hence, Critical Thinking and Critical Pedagogy already exist in the Philippine program of study—although, most of the time, in “paper” only.

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