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Critical pedagogy in English universities: the relationship between theory and practice

Clark, Lauren Beth; (2020) Critical pedagogy in English universities: the relationship between theory and practice. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Higher education in England has become increasingly marketised and bureaucratised over the last 30 years. The economic purpose of higher education put forward by government policy instrumentalises the work being done in universities through league tables and quality frameworks, promoting competition and surveillance. These changes impact on pedagogy, the student experience, and the role of academics. Aiming to explore the pedagogical practice of self-identifying critical pedagogues in English universities in this era of marketisation, this research focused on the pedagogical practice and decision-making of ten critical pedagogues from eight different universities in England. In an attempt to implement a research approach that was congruent with critical pedagogy, this research was informed by a critical qualitative research approach, which involved participant observations and reflective dialogues with participants focusing on their practice. As a result of thematic analysis, a framework for conceptualising different manifestations of critical pedagogical practice emerged, identifying hegemonic co-investigators, critical co-investigators, and critical experts. Effects of the marketisation of the university at the macro, meso and micro levels affected self-identifying critical pedagogues’ ability to put their pedagogical beliefs and values into practice, often leading to strategic compromise (Skelton, 2012a) and feelings of isolation. Analysis suggests that critical educators often focus on implementing either a critical curriculum or a critical pedagogy and feel that they are isolated and misunderstood by their colleagues. Building a community in the classroom and within their institution was seen as important to implementing a critical pedagogical approach, and while participants practiced critical pedagogy in different ways, the purpose underpinning their practice united them as they push at the boundaries of the university.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Critical pedagogy in English universities: the relationship between theory and practice
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: Critical pedagogy, university, marketisation, pedagogy, Paulo Freire
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10112866
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