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Thinking critically about critical thinking: towards a post-critical, dialogic pedagogy for popular visual culture

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The influence of critical theory in art education has become commonplace, but its use in addressing students' popular culture in kindergarten to Year 12 classrooms is problematic. The now numerous reports by art teachers of their successfully inculcating critical consciousness towards popular visual culture appears to have more to do with a reforming zeal or advocacy than evidence. Moreover, in echoing the modernist origins of critical theory, their attempts to facilitate critical thinking often take the form of unproblematic and authoritarian pedagogy. Lessons learned from media education in the United Kingdom are employed to recommend that art teachers reject prima facie evidence of critical thinking among their students and learn to appreciate the complexity of student negotiations with popular culture. Taking their cue from media educators, it is proposed that art educators adopt a post-critical pedagogy based on Bhaktin's notions of dialogue.
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Keywords: dialogic; media education; pedagogy; popular culture; post-critical

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, USA.

Publication date: 2008-12-01

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  • The International Journal of Education through Art is an English language journal that promotes relationships between art and education. The term 'art education' should be taken to include art, craft and design education. Each issue, published three times a year within a single volume, consists of peer-reviewed articles mainly in the form of research reports and critical essays, but may also include exhibition reviews and image-text features.

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