UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Is Freire's critical pedagogy applicable to China's higher education? a philosophical examination Zhong, Yaying


The purpose of this study is to identify the assumptions of China’s civic education and compare these assumptions to the key concepts involved in Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy, particularly his ideas of (1) critical consciousness, (2) humanization, and (3) dialogue. Based on the specific social and political contexts in which each of these pedagogies arose, the thesis will explore the limitations and potential of applying Freire’s critical pedagogy to enhance university students’ critical and civic consciousness in China. To this end, the thesis will present a comparative study of Freirean critical pedagogy and the Chinese culture of pedagogy in order to explore the following questions: What are the key concepts that support Freire’s conception of transformative education? What are the key concepts of China’s civic education? How do Freire’s and China’s concepts relate or compare to each other? How might Freirean ideas of critical consciousness and social transformation be informed or extended in relation to the challenges posed by China’s conception of civic education? What challenges or implications arise when attempting to use or implement Freire’s ideas of critical pedagogy within China’s higher education system (e.g., to teach for transformation)? These questions will be answered by exploring the points of commonality and difference between the worldviews framing the civic education in China’s higher education institutions and Freire’s critical pedagogy.

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