Section

Theory and practice of learning and teaching

Abstract

This study investigates teacher educators’ perceptions of and challenges affecting the use of critical pedagogy in higher teacher education in Tanzania. The study employed a qualitative case study design and collected in-depth data through semi-structured interviews and direct classroom observations. The findings showed that critical pedagogy is a significant approach for developing students’ abilities to do critical reflection. However, critical pedagogy demands building a friendly relationship with students and encouraging dialogic interactions; all these lead to critical reflection in return, ensuring better understanding of the subject content. Most importantly, the findings report several challenges related to the presence of crowded classes, the use of lecturing teaching style and the use of English as a language of instruction, the use of unsuitable assessment format that is university guided and lack of teaching resources. These challenges impede the effective use of critical pedagogy in teaching. To overcome such challenges, policy makers and institutional leaders need to rethink of providing teaching resources and encouraging the use of critical pedagogy in teaching and learning at higher teacher education programmes. The study concludes that by practising what teacher educators perceive to be critical pedagogy, classrooms will be transformed into places of liberation. Further, while this qualitative study does not intend to make any generalisation, the findings might be of interest to international teacher educators who are interested in employing the critical pedagogy approach effectively.

Practitioner Notes

  1. Critical pedagogy is a significant approach for developing students’ abilities to do critical reflections.
  2. Critical pedagogy demands building a friendly relationship with students and encouraging dialogic interactions; all these lead to critical reflection in return, ensuring better understanding of the subject content.
  3. Several challenges such as the presence of crowded classes, the use of lecturing style, the use of unsuitable assessment format, and the lack of teaching resources all impede the effective use of critical pedagogy in teaching.
  4. Policy makers and institutional leaders need to rethink of providing teaching resources and encouraging the use of critical pedagogy in teaching and learning at higher teacher education programmes.
  5. By practising what teacher educators perceive to be critical pedagogy, classrooms will be transformed into places of liberation.

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