Critical Social Pedagogy in Mathematics Teacher Education

Babawande Emmanuel Olawale, Vusi Mncube, Clive Harber


There is no how-to recipe for implementing pedagogical approaches, as each school, learner and teacher has a unique perception of the nature of critical mathematics education. It is therefore the duty of educators and school administrators to cultivate critical teaching and learning experiences that can connect the standardised school curriculum to the reality of learners’ everyday lives. As such, this study investigated the pedagogical approaches which mathematics teacher educators employed in the development of democratic citizens in South African universities. Underpinned by the constructivist paradigm, the study employed a qualitative research approach and a case study design. Data were generated from a total of six mathematics teacher educators and 75 second- to fourth-year student teachers majoring in mathematics education across three different universities. The findings from the study revealed that there are contradictions between pedagogical philosophies and the mathematics teacher educators’ ideal image of their practice in the classroom. The nature of mathematics teaching, and the fear that learners come to class with different knowledges from their personal experience and have disparate opinions, hinder critical and social engagement within mathematics education classrooms. Based on the findings, it is recommended that mathematics teacher educators employ a problem-posing pedagogical approach which allows for the appropriation of knowledge in the form of self-reflection, a synergy of care, and self-determination which seeks to foster democratic values and critical consciousness in the development of democratic citizens.

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Copyright (c) 2021 Babawande Emmanuel Olawale, Vusi Mncube, Clive Harber

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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