Framing critical pedagogy as transformative practice

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Milatovic, M 2014, 'Framing critical pedagogy as transformative practice', paper presented to the SCU Scholarship of teaching symposium, Lismore, NSW, 23 September.


With the increased casualisation of the academic workforce, corporatisation of universities, the rise in tuition fees and budget cuts, teachers and educators in Australian and British tertiary institutions face new pressures and challenges. Since the increase in tuition fees and attendant changes to higher education, student complaints in UK tertiary institutions alone have risen up to 10% in the last year (Abrams, 2014). What this growing frustration reveals is a move towards a ‘customer service model’ of education which impacts both staff and students in interrelated ways. Based on this model, knowledge and learning are conceptualised as a commodity or a product to be purchased. What does improving student experience and retention rates mean in such contexts? How can one effectively teach and encourage critical thinking in an increasingly corporatised university? How does the emphasis on students’ feedback affect one’s teaching practice and impact students’ learning? My presentation aims to address some of these concerns through the use of critical pedagogy as a transformative practice which destabilises the reduction of education to commodity and offers spaces of affirmation. Placing emphasis on critical thinking, community engagement, and social transformation, critical pedagogy includes both teachers and students in the learning process and transforms the classroom into a dialogic and collaborative ‘space of possibility’ (hooks, 1994). Abrams, Fran. (2014) “University complaints by students top 20,000”. BBC News. 3 June 2014. Web. Accessed