Monday, June 12, 2023

Relating Critical Theory to Classroom Content Areas

Relating critical theory to critical thinking can focus on classroom activities. With so many different cultures living in California, teachers and administrators drive student engagement by relating many content areas to a variety of cultures' "funds of knowledge

1. The need to forego identity thinking as described by Theodor Adorno (placing people in groups or categories with predetermined roles) in order to give opportunities to others who are not in the dominant culture.

The unit about creating firebreaks in fire-prone areas of California taught us the importance of indigenous cultures active in scientific processes. Conventional thinking might conclude that firefighters developed these methods. Teaching students who assisted in the development scientific processes helps students to understand that the dominant culture is not responsible for all of the ideas used in technology. Our example from Week One proves that methods of creating firebreaks were first developed by indigenous people. Students can research both methods to write a compare/contrast essay of the methods used by both groups. 

2. Lev Vygotsky's ideas of cooperative learning and the ZPD theory, leading to increased critical thinking.

3. Socrates idea of questioning common beliefs: See lesson at

4. Article relating Plato's ideas about social justice applied to science. See

5. Aristotle's idea that valid syllogistic reasoning can help with research. See video at

6. Literature and media criticism based upon Aquinas ideas about learning how criticisms is a necessary stage in developing ideas. Using peer reviews to improve critical thinking when writing. See

7.  Ideas for developing and applying Paulo Friere's social justice theories in the classroom:

Integrating social justice into STEM education: