Is critical pedagogical praxis possible in a contemporary university? A teacher educator perspective

Year: 2012

Author: Clayton, Kathleen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


This presentation reports on preliminary findings of a doctoral research project focused on the ways in which critical pedagogical praxis can be nurtured in higher education.  It builds on a presentation delivered at last year's AARE conference when the project was still in the planning stages.  The project, which involves a collaborative, critical self-inquiry by an established group of academics working in a particular university setting, examines the conditions which constrain and enable university educators' critical pedagogical praxis in their setting.  The preliminary findings are drawn mainly from analysis of scholarly conversations, observation, interviews, and reflective writing, in light of selected practice theory (Kemmis & Grootenboer, 2008; Kemmis, Edwards-Groves, Wilkinson, Hardy, in press; Schatzki, 2002, 2003).

The author is a member of the participating group of academics.  As part of her participation, she is examining her pedagogical practice as a teacher educator, and the conditions that affect, and are affected by, that practice.  This presentation focuses specifically on findings that relate to observations about the relationship between her pedagogical practice and the conditions within the sites of that practice (Schatzki, 2002; 2003).  Analysis of preliminary findings has revealed significant and interesting tensions between the author's pedagogical practice, aspirations to embody or enact critical pedagogical praxis, and the evolving social-political, economic-material, and discursive-cultural arrangements (Kemmis & Grootenboer, 2008) which characterise the sites of pedagogical practice in her teacher education context.  The presentation will explore such tensions in terms of challenges and possibilities for enacting, fostering and sustaining individual and collective critical pedagogical praxis within the author's setting and more broadly.  As such, implications for teacher education practices and professional learning of teacher educators will be considered.


Kemmis, S., Edwards-Groves, C., Wilkinson, J., & Hardy, I. (in press). Ecologies of practice. In P. Hager, A. Lee & A. Reich (Eds.), Learning practices. New York: Springer.

Kemmis, S., & Grootenboer, P. (2008). Situating praxis in practice: Practice architectures and the cultural, social and material conditions for practice. In S. Kemmis & T. J. Smith (Eds.), Enabling praxis: Challenges for education (pp. 37-62). Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense.

Schatzki, T. (2002). The site of the social: A philosophical account of the constitution of social life and change. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press.

Schatzki, T. (2003). A new societist social ontology. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 33(2), 174-202.