The philosophy of education: Freire’s critical pedagogy [invited chapter]

Jennifer L Johnston*, Nigel Hart, Annalisa Manca

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Multiple social, educational, and clinical discourses influence medical education but few more so than the strongly positivist biomedical tradition, the Foucauldian clinical gaze, and societal privilege. Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy offers a radical reorientation for medical education, focusing on power and structural inequalities. Freire denounced the mindless banking models of education, instead advocating the development of conscientização (critical consciousness), a phenomenological way of being in the world and with the world that flattens power structures and empowers learners to address inequality. Using a case study of teaching undergraduate medical students within the clinical context of General Practice in a UK medical school, we demonstrate and model the affordances of this clinical domain to move past the banking model approach, building disruptive dialogic and dialectic educational activities. Personal clinical storytelling and the use of pedagogy as an activist endeavours to embrace knowledge as generative, shared, interactive, co-constructed, and goal-orientated. We end this chapter with a series of suggestions for others to move beyond the banking approach in medical education toward the development of critical consciousness in future doctors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationApplied philosophy for health professions education: a journey towards mutual understanding
EditorsMegan L Brown, Mario Veen, Gabrielle Maria Finn
ISBN (Electronic)9789811915123
ISBN (Print)9789811915116
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2022


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