Critical Pedagogy: Critical Thinking as a Social Practice

  • Stephen Cowden
  • Gurnam Singh


Much of the literature on critical thinking focuses on the ways in which human beings develop the capacity, through complex cognitive processes and skills, to evaluate or make sense of information. Within the formal educational context, it is often associated with pedagogical strategies aimed toward nurturing and developing learners’ capacity for logical enquiry and reasoning. Though such insights are clearly very important, a narrow focus on what might be termed the “science of learning” can result in a negation of an obvious but very important point, namely, to what end and for what purpose should we be seeking to nurture critical thinking. Put another way, what is the moral, ethical, and political dimension of learning to think critically? And it is this question that forms the main purpose of the present chapter. By invoking the idea of critical thinking as a social practice, we examine the educational approach known as critical pedagogy and consider its relevance to higher education today. Critical pedagogy in its broadest sense is an educational philosophy that seeks to connect forms of education to wider political questions by arguing that processes or acts of learning and knowing are themselves inherently political.


Critical Thinking Public Sphere Critical Pedagogy Truth Claim Symbolic Violence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Martin Davies and Ronald Barnett 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Cowden
  • Gurnam Singh

There are no affiliations available

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