ISSN : 2241-4665
Κριτικές του άρθρου
ISSN : 2241-4665
Ημερομηνία έκδοσης: Αθήνα 8 Μαΐου 2018
“ Η Κριτική Παιδαγωγική στις Φυσικές Επιστήμες της Ελλάδας”
Μπούσιου Π. Κωνσταντίνου
« The Critical Pedagogy in the Natural Sciences of Greece »
Bousios P. Konstantinos
Critical Pedagogy, though due to a variety of interpretations and positions, cannot be defined in a particular and precise way, constitutes a wider social movement aimed at creating a stream of pedagogical ideas aimed at empowering the powerless and overthrowing existing social inequalities and injustices. Its pedagogical practices aim at wider social changes based on the principles of racial, ethnic and economic justice. Its main representatives are: Paulo Freire, Michael Apple, Peter McLaren and Henry Giroux. Freire seeks to transform students from subjects of educational processes into individuals responsible for autonomy and emancipation. Apple suggests that in order to understand how social reproduction takes place within schools, we must study the ideological and cultural practices that take place within the classroom. By adopting a Marxist framework, Revolutionary Education aspires to help teachers understand or overcome the forms of oppression associated with the teaching and learning process. According to Giroux, school is a political space that plays an important role in the production of ideas and identities and allows control of their representation, distribution and consumption. Critical pedagogues consider that the "formal" and "hidden" curriculum distinguish and discriminate in favor of specific knowledge and social groups. Current Curriculum in Natural Sciences for Compulsory Education in our country, adopt proclamatory part of the ideas of Critical Pedagogy. Today's school, despite its individual improvements, has failed to adequately prepare its students for the ever-changing demands of a sophisticated society. It is often a place of coercive work where the joy of learning, research and discovery, creation, are lacking. It often treats students as empty containers for filling, and rewards those who memorize, reproduce and repeat. The question is whether this is being implemented with essentially positive results in the science education of our country.
This work is divided into three sections. In the first section we try to define what is critical pedagogy, what are its main influences, what it aims to do and how to attribute the positions of its main representatives. In the second section, we explore ways of interconnecting critical pedagogy with Natural Sciences’ Curriculum. In the third section, after studying the Curriculum and the Cross-Thematic Curriculum Framework for Natural Sciences, we examined whether critical pedagogical positions are involved and whether they are applied in practice.
1. CRITICAL PEDAGOGY
1.1. Basic theoretical influences
The concept of Critical Pedagogy over the last decades is one of the main subjects of study at a global level and has caused a large number of discussions on deadlocks and its potential as a current . Critical theorists use various theories and sciences to form a framework of understanding and empirical view of social and economic structures in relation to the relationships between individuals and groups as well as cultural developments .
Critical Pedagogy appears in the early 1970s in the U.S.A. and is more aware of growth in the middle of the next decade. As has been pointed out, it is essentially an extremely complex task of synthesizing traditions, transforming theories, political conclusions and educational policies which, to one degree or another, oppose the dominant modern social and educational (neoliberal and neoconservative) policies, a "radical" pedagogical act .
However, the concept of critical pedagogy cannot be attributed in a particular and precise way, basically because of its synthesis and complexity. In practice, critical pedagogy has so many manifestations as its supporters, which makes it difficult to formulate a single, coherent definition of the concept .
The first use of the term Critical Pedagogy is found in Henry Giroux  "Theory and Resistance in Education". During the 1980s and 1990s, Henry Giroux's work with Paulo Freire, Stanley Aronowitz, Michael Apple, Maxine Greene, Peter McLaren, Bell Hooks, Donaldo Macedo, Michelle Fine and Jean Anyon was undoubtedly one of the most central and dynamic moves to renew the debates on democratic education in America. However, Giroux was the first to firmly claim that critical pedagogy emerged from the long historical heritage of radical social thinking and progressive educational movements that aspired to link the practice of education to the democratic principles of society and to the benefit of oppressed communities .
Basic influences on the formation of critical pedagogy have been practiced by educators and activists of the 20th century. The ideas of American philosopher John Dewey had a particular influence on progressive educators who were trying to promote democratic principles in education. According to McLaren , Dewey's work is based on his attempt to link the concept of atomic and social (collective) intelligence to democracy and freedom. By doing so, he put forward a "language of possibility" - a philosophical structure which played a major role in the development of critical pedagogy .
McLaren  connects Critical Pedagogy with the Frankfurt School recognizing at the same time that there is an entire "critical" theoretical tradition that has given theoretical tools to Critical Pedagogy.
Gounaris and Grollios , although referring to McLaren's view and to the connection of Critical Pedagogy with the tradition and trends of Critical Theory, follow the entire literature on the production and evolution of Critical Pedagogy in relation to the socio-political context, concluding that the beginnings of Critical Pedagogy are found in Freire's work and in the elaboration of the theory of resistance by Giroux. From then on, various trends have been developed within the framework of Critical Pedagogy. The trend associated with Marxism, is represented by the work of Paulo Freire, Henry Giroux, Stanley Aronowitz, Ramin Faramandpur and Peter McLaren. Some of these theorists have also used aspects of the "progressive", as they call it, postmodernism  as well as aspects of cultural studies.
The central assumptions of critical pedagogy can be summarized in the following :
(a) "Significances" create the existing structures of values that eventually embody social relations of oppression, alienation and subjugation (knowledge is based on linguistic relations that are socially and historically structured, and in this sense the category of language is decisive in shaping subjectivity).
(b) The concept of meaning-object, signifier and signifier is never stable, nor transcendent, but mediated by capitalist production, consumption and social relations.
(c) Compression has many "faces", stems from social discrimination of gender, race and status, but focusing on one of these discriminations at the expense of others prevents them from understanding their interrelations.
(d) At the same time, the person creates and is created, by the social universe of which he is part, and emphasis is placed on human dignity and integration.
Critical pedagogy consists, in the educational level, a project that invites students, scholars and teachers to analyze the relationship between their expressed experiences - pedagogical practices - the knowledge that (re) generates in the more general socio-cultural-economic arrangements. Critical pedagogy is intertwined with the exploration of the formation of the "subjectivities" of trainees within the developed capitalist social formations, aiming to generalize non-racist, non-sexist, non-xenophobic pedagogical practices, directed towards changing the wider social structure, based on the principles of racial, ethnic and economic justice .
1.2 Main representatives
Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, with his work, has had a major influence on the development of critical pedagogy. His texts have inspired a large number of progressive and democratic educators. His book "The Pedagogy of the Oppressed" and the adult literacy program he has applied in Brazil make him a universal physiognomy. Freire's pedagogy emphasizes the unity between theory and practice in an education oriented towards the liberation of the individual in a given society .
Giroux, McLaren, Shor, Torres, and Macedo studied and deepened Freire's liberating pedagogy and critique literacy theory in order to apply them to schools, workplaces, homes, universities and colleges in North America. They investigated the possibilities and practices of his work and argued that with these practices we have active people who shape economic, social and cultural formations for themselves and for others .
There are many philosophical trends that have influenced Freire and formed the philosophical basis of "Pedagogy of the Oppressed". These trends are: phenomenology, existentialism, Christianity, humanism, Marxism and Hegelianism .
Freire, using the context of critical pedagogical theory, believes in the reform of the school, with the ultimate aim of liberating and humanizing people. He believes that through education, man can acquire critical awareness that will lead him to act in order to reform society. Freire's pedagogic work affected Apple, McLaren, Giroux, and others critical critics .
1.2.2. Michael Apple
Apple, studying the concerns and positions of the American Revisionists, New Sociology, Marxist Sociologists and Philosophers, who gave a new perspective to pedagogical science, broadened the positions of critical pedagogy with its reflection on the social role of education in capitalist societies and the understanding of modern educational and social reality.
In the 1980s, Apple lends weight to the theory of resistance and examines the dual nature of cultural sovereignty. Schools foster the economic and cultural reproduction of the conditions of society . Informal and contradictory processes in the institution of a school, if not recognized and not addressed as factors of structural crisis, lead to the legitimation of the dominant ideology. Involving his reflection on the relations of education with concepts such as state, status, culture, ideology, hegemonies, reproduction, resistance and knowledge, he notes that while there are important links between the cultural, political and economic sovereignty of a society, the education system cannot be considered as a mirror that passively reflects its interests. Instead, reactions and tensions are emerging that lead to the expansion of democratic processes and are a field of contradiction between capital and capitalist society .
Apple, in the 2000s, believes and argues that the creation and development of democratic and critical education is a collective effort that can be applied in practice rather than an invention of critics of critical pedagogy. It considers that restrictive and hypocritical perceptions of democracy must be rejected and replaced by moral and practical correctness, as well as social and economic arrangements based on the principle of equality .
McLaren connects Critical Pedagogy with the Frankfurt School, recognizing at the same time that there is an entire "critical" theoretical tradition that has given theoretical tools to Critical Pedagogy.
Peter McLaren disputed and criticized the relationship of critical pedagogy with the postmodernism axioms .We note that the concept of "progressive" postmodernism - formulated mainly by McLaren in the 1990s - is based on the logic that a face of the postmodern "attacks" and "degrades" hegemony and sovereignty, such as white race hegemony, homogenizing and universally hegemonic Eurocentric thinking, the mastery of men, of every nature of dominant versions of the West that have been exploited by bourgeois ideology. Thus, from this point of view, postmodernism not only is not competitive in plans and attempts of social emancipation, but if it is combined with class analysis, it can enrich modern Marxist theory and further contribute, in the context of Critical Pedagogy, to understanding how capital and the law of value shape identities, concepts and practices in the school environment. This understanding is a precondition for critical awareness and educational and social change  .
1.2.4. Henry Giroux
Giroux is considered one of the most creative theorists of 21st century education. Initially, Giroux examines education in the light of the theory of the Frankfurt School. It then supports reforming, processing and criticizing its perceptions, based on new historical conditions in the spirit of liberation and emancipation that created them .
Giroux  argues that pedagogy is not defined as something that happens in schools but as something central to any political practice that deals with questions such as how people learn, how knowledge is generated, and how the subject's positions are generated. Through the study of different theoretical positions of pedagogy, it places critical pedagogy in a political context, emphasizing the sociological and cultural dimension of education.
Giroux sought to consolidate a radical democracy with social justice, freedom and equal relations in the educational, economic, political and cultural spheres. He argued that places do not only undermine the possibility of a radical democracy but support the dominant way of economic production. Using the scientific and interdisciplinary tools of social studies has made pedagogical theory a democratic act.
He investigated the relationship between pedagogy and politics and argued that this relationship is central to any social movement attempting to make social transformations and liberation struggles. For Giroux, critical pedagogy must assert that education produces not only knowledge but also political subjects and that ethos is central to it. So, it is necessary to create new forms of knowledge, to regain a sense of alternative proposals, and finally to develop the theory of teachers as transformational intellectuals who occupy specific social and political positions .
Critical pedagogy analyzes the relationship that develops between power and knowledge. In this context, it is considered that the dominant curriculum separates knowledge from the question of power, treats it technically and mechanically, as something to be conquered .
Ben-Peretz  argues that this knowledge is an ideological construct that interlaces with specific interests, is historically and socially grounded and class-defined. Critical educators argue that knowledge should be studied whether it is oppressive and exploitative and not whether it is "true". Teachers are required to look at the knowledge of how to manipulate or marginalize specific views of the world, as well as how to understand the way the world is constructed. School knowledge should be emancipatory rather than preserve the values of market realism. It should help to create favorable conditions for self-identification of the pupil in the wider society.
Gotovos, Maurogiorgos and Papakonstantinou  consider that critical pedagogues accept that the curriculum represents much more than a school manual, or a teaching program. The curriculum partially prepares students for dominant or predominant positions in existing society. It discriminates in favor of specific forms of knowledge and realizes the dreams, desires and values of selected groups of students, often discriminating on the basis of race, social class and gender.
Critical pedagogues accept that students are shaped both through standardized learning situations and through other processes such as management rules, classroom organization and generally all informal or non-pedagogical processes used by teachers .
Apple  reports that the hidden curriculum is parallel to the school curriculum that is specific to each school and department and includes the teaching modes, the classroom style of learning, the messages passed on to students from the environment, the governance structures, teacher expectations and scoring procedures.
Critical pedagogues consider the curriculum as a form of cultural policy .
The education policy of each nation-state is reflected in the existing curriculums . With existing curriculums and Cross-Thematic Curriculum Framework (CTCF) for Natural Sciences, the Greek school seems to adopt a large part of the positions of progressive pedagogy. At least, there is a saying about a "comprehensive school", a school that is supposed to remove the hierarchy between thought and action, academic and practical knowledge.
In addition, exploratory learning is preceded and there is no school manual that does not contain group and experiential activities. Encouraging students to take part in interdisciplinary works where they are asked to search for the material and method with the discreet assistance of their teachers is supposed to be used in school activities such as environmental education and projects in the secondary or on flexible area in primary education. In matters of discipline and evaluation, no one can seriously argue that the situation has changed significantly, but there is a literature on supposedly internal control, self-discipline, self-evaluation.
Studying the general and specific objectives outlined in the curriculum and the CTCF for Natural Sciences, we find that they are characterized by intense academicism, uneven and clear structure of objectives and pursuing maximalist intentions and low level of cognitive objectives, i.e. objectives related to the level of memorization (while objectives related to the levels of analysis, synthesis and evaluation are missing).
The existing curriculum contradicts itself. While proclaiming that it is provided in a unified form from nursery school up to the third grade of high school, this is practically falsely contradicted. Natural Sciences begin in essence from the Grade 4 of primary school (instead of kindergarten) and would expect to continue as the third grade of a high school in a unified form. Instead there is a program of classes E and F and one for high school. In high school, it is simply a sum of physics, chemistry, biology, geography classes, independent of each other with clear academic orientation and difficult content.
In these, "cross-thematic integration" is promoted, but in fact it is "interdisciplinarity", since on the basis of each subject it is defined the issues with which the pupils will deal.
Thus, the interconnections between them are prespecified, and means, relevant skills, abilities, attitudes, which are required by students to assimilate syllabus, are predetermined. The development of any critical and creative thinking aims unilaterally in the mechanistic understanding of the world. Thus, the school does not become learner-centered, experiential, creative and does not turn into an area of authentic learning, joy and life with the teachers and the students really involved .
The teaching methodology proposed for the individual lessons consists of a set of methodological proposals that are common (learning through exploration and guided discovery, discussion - dialogue with students, laboratory exercises, constructivism) and a variety of other proposals that are not harmonized.
To evaluate the teaching and the educational system in general, current curriculums are only limited to the pupil's assessment for which they claim to be a necessary educational process. Its aims are : (a) identifying achievement of the learning objectives, (b) recording the individual and collective course of the pupils, (c) identifying learning difficulties, (d) cultivation of research spirit and problem-solving capacity, (e) accountability, collective work and self – evaluation, and (f) reinforcement of self-confidence, self-esteem and acquiring metacognitive skills.
To what extent, however, and how effective the current teaching practice makes active learning, exploratory learning, group discussion, constructivism, and everything else proposed by the curriculum and the CTCF of the Natural Sciences? Teachers can overcome the fact that they are children of an educational system in which, for years, the achievement of cognitive goals and the selective functioning of their pupils through standardized exams dominate and act to change their beliefs about learning and teaching of Natural Sciences?
However, both internationally and in our country, there is a significant inconsistency between the proclamation and the applied speech. There is growing evidence that teachers do not use practices, as indicated in the curriculums and in School Manuals. Laboratory work is not being used effectively by teachers, i.e. it does not achieve the purposes for which it is designed .
The way teachers use lab work could be influenced by their perceptions of it. Although some studies    and other empirical researches published in conferences and scientific journals, have investigated the interaction between teachers' perceptions of goals of the lesson of Natural Sciences, and the use of laboratory work in the course and practice, the nature of this interaction has not been fully understood .
Through this study, we conclude that critical pedagogy is a social, radical and democratic movement based on the theoretical and practical strand of socio-political and educational transformation.
It is important to investigate whether any critical pedagogical positions that appear to be contained in our country's new curricula are effectively implemented or falsified and merely consist rhetorical commitments.
The view of critical pedagogy still remains important and it is the one that can transform our schools into what must be done in the future.
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