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ERIC Number: ED508713
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 30
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 36
Making Sense of Critical Pedagogy in Adult Literacy Education
Degener, Sophie C.
Office of Educational Research and Improvement
In the field of adult education, there is much debate about how programs can best serve students. Some educators and researchers believe that adult education programs should reflect a critical pedagogy, providing services that are culturally relevant, participant driven, and socially empowering. Noncritical programs are criticized for ignoring the political, social, and economic factors that have conspired to marginalize people in the first place. Students in these programs are seen as passive recipients of the teacher's knowledge, with little sense of their own agency in transforming their lives. This chapter challenges the assumption that adult education programs must be defined as solely critical or noncritical and shows how a bridge between the two camps might be built. The principal frame for this chapter is critical theory. Critical theory in literacy (also called critical literacy) looks at how one's identity is inscribed by literacy practices. A person's level of literacy, the nature of the printed material that this person reads and writes, and the role that literacy plays in his or her community all contribute to how that person is perceived by him- or herself and by society. The content of this chapter is also informed by Vygotsky's (1978) theory of social constructivism, which takes the view that an individual's intellectual development results from social interactions within specific cultural contexts. (Contains 9 notes.) [Chapter 2 in: Annual Review of Adult Learning and Literacy. Volume 2; copublished with Jossey-Bass, Inc.; see ED457341.]
Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Available from: ED Pubs. P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. e-mail:; Tel: 877-433-7827; Fax: 301-470-1244; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Basic Education; Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A