Critical pedagogy is a teaching philosophy that enables students to ask questions and challenge domination and help them strengthen their beliefs and practices in that field. The ultimate objective of higher education is to enhance students’ critical thinking and form their own ideas. Actually, critical thinking is really important and essential in higher education. In universities, students should be motivated to challenge any ideas as long as this challenge is reasonable and logical. For students from middle schools and high schools, learning some knowledge is vital and following the instructions of teachers or authorities will be appropriate but for students in higher education, learn to challenge an idea should be highly encouraged.
As an instructor, the most exciting moment in my class is that students can propose some questions that require much thinking. In a university class, instructors are not the center of the class but the students. If no one asks questions in a class, this class is really a failure because the instructor either does not explain everything clearly or explain everything in a difficult way. I always encouraged my students to propose and ask questions and tell everyone in my class that the only stupid question is that you do not ask question if you have one.
In order to promote students’ critical thinking, a good start would be group discussions. In a small group, every student has the opportunity to talk and express their own ideas. The more they talk and discuss, students are more able to form their own ideas. Then, it would be great if students can bring their own ideas into the class and discuss with other students and instructor. It would be better if instructors can evaluate students’ ideas from the foundation of the subject. I always prefer to explaining everything from zero and let students understand their questions step by step. Finally, students are also encouraged to again criticize their own ideas or instructors’ evaluations. The entire logic of critical pedagogy should be “ideas-criticize by others-criticize by themselves-revise ideas” and then re-start the process again.