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Offering theoretical and practical knowledge to help critical adult educators in their attempts to enact critical pedagogy in their own classroom, this volume explores critical theory, feminism, critical postmodernism, Africentrism, queer theory, and cultural studies. Picking up on the themes first raised by Elizabeth Ellsworth, critical theory and classic critical pedagogy do not get a particularly easy ride. None of the authors claims that critical approaches are a simple solution to the tangles of late modernity. In every case the authors see critical pedagogy as complex, insightful, challenging, limited, and difficult to put into practice. But in every case, they see critical perspectives as offering the hope and potential of a more just world.
The idea that critical perspectives on teaching are difficult to enact in the classroom is not new. And what do we mean by critical perspectives anyway? In this volume some of the most exciting scholars in adult education—whether established or emerging—provide insights into what it means to be critical and how it affects the concrete practices of teaching adults.
This is the 102nd issue of the quarterly higher education report New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education.
Editors’ Notes (Jennifer A. Sandlin, Ralf St.Clair).
1. Blundering Toward Critical Pedagogy: True Tales from the Adult Literacy Classroom (Alisa Belzer)
Sometimes critical practice can create as many challenges for educators as it addresses.
2. Class and Teaching (Tom Nesbit)
Class is an underexplored dimension of the adult education classroom.
3. Consumerism, Consumption, and a Critical Consumer Education for Adults (Jennifer A. Sandlin)
One of the most promising areas for critical adult education practice is consumer education.
4. Teaching with the Enemy: Critical Adult Education in the Academy (Ralf St.Clair)
Critical adult educators in the academy are limited in their practices and will have to find ways around the limits.
5. Toward a Postmodern Pedagogy (Deborah Kilgore)
Critical postmodernism can tell us a great deal about knowledge, students, instructors, and power.
6. Challenges to the Classroom Authority of Women of Color (Ming-yeh Lee, Juanita Johnson-Bailey)
Two professors who are women of color examine the theoretical and practical underpinnings of feminist pedagogy.
7. Africentric Philosophy: A Remedy for Eurocentric Dominance (Lisa Merriweather Hunn)
Africentrism can provide essential insights into creating a nonoppressive practice.
8. Breaking the Cult of Rationality: Mindful Awareness of Emotion in the Critical Theory Classroom (Jamie L. Callahan)
Looking at critical theory as a rational endeavor may mean overlooking the significance of emotion.
9. Activism as Practice: Some Queer Considerations (Robert J. Hill)
Queer critical postmodernism challenges the way we divide up and think about the world.
10. Using Critical Personal Narratives: A Poststructural Perspective on Practice (Valerie-Lee Chapman)
The stories we tell reveal how language, power, knowledge, and instructional practices construct our identities and behaviors.