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What is Critical Pedagogy?

Critical Pedagogy for Music Teaching and Learning is a teaching model that views teaching and learning as a conversation among teachers and their students. It advocates a shift in the power structure by acknowledging that students come to the music class, rehearsal or private lesson with information gleaned from their own life experiences. The goal of critical pedagogy is to use that knowledge as a bridge to new learning. This results in a change of perception for both the students and their teachers. Critical pedagogues claim that when students and their teachers “know that they know,” the phenomenon of “conscientization” has occurred. When that happens learning has occurred.

Paulo Freire developed Critical Pedagogy in Brazil in the 1960’s to teach illiterate adults to read Portuguese. Freire advocated interactive teaching through dialogue. Acknowledging that children come to formal music learning experiences with some prior knowledge gleaned from life experiences is an important stance. Applying this pedagogy ensures that those musical learnings, no matter how limited, are meaningful and long-lasting.

What is online learning in the Westminster Center for Critical Pedagogy?

The online format provides opportunities for live synchronous classes using video conferencing software, with everyone online together and asynchronous classes where everyone is working independently at their own pace and in their own time. Using SKYPE or iCHAT video formats, participants will have access to the instructor and to their classmates and will be able to interact through group projects. When appropriate, it enables the instructor to "visit" each classroom, ensemble rehearsal or private voice lesson to provide ongoing feedback to each participant as appropriate. When SKYPE visits are not possible, participants will submit teaching vignettes recorded on a disc. A webcam and mic are required for these courses. If these are not already built into the computer, participants must purchase them additionally. Participants will find a laptop most appropriate for these courses and may use a MAC or PC platform. Course materials will be available online for purchase at Westminster Music and Books. Course sizes are limited to ensure that each participant receives a personal attention.