The Pedagogy of the Student: Reclaiming Agency in Receptive Subject-Positions


  • James Sheldon University of Arizona


Objectification, Dehumanization, Student-Centered Teaching, Animacy, Active learning


In this article, I bring feminist theories, queer theories, and disability studies into dialogue with critical pedagogy by exploring the ways in which Freire constructs receptivity on the part of students as undesireable.  Using Freire’s schema of objectification, I first look at how disabled people are objectified and then use this as a springboard for exploring Freire’s figuration of the student as a passive receptacle of knowledge.  Making an analogy between Freire’s receptacle-students and its roots in Plato’s theory of the receptacle, I draw upon feminist theorists in order to challenge prevailing conceptions of the receptacle and to argue for tactically claiming receptivity as a subject position.  Rather than merely taking on an active, masculine role, I suggest that both students and teachers need to be receptive to the Other and to the possibilities of being changed by the knowledge that they receive.  Finally, I use these ideas of receptivity to explore the possibility for disabled subject positions within critical pedagogy.

Author Biography

James Sheldon, University of Arizona

Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies






Distinguished Graduate Student Paper