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

James Sheldon


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.


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

Full Text:


JCT: Journal of Curriculum Theorizing is an interdisciplinary journal of curriculum studies. It offers an academic forum for scholarly discussions of curriculum. Historically aligned with the "reconceptualist" movement in curriculum theorizing and oriented toward informing and affecting classroom practice, JCT presents compelling pieces within forms that challenge disciplinary, genre, and textual boundaries.

The journal is published by the Foundation for Curriculum Theory and is associated with the Bergamo Conference on Curriculum Theory and Classroom Practice, held in the autumn of each year. JCT is indexed in The Education Index.

NOTICE: As of December 2008, the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing (Volume 24, Issue 1) and all future issues
are available freely and exclusively online to all individuals and institutions. More Information...

Contributors to the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing retain copyright to their work.

All other content: Copyright © Foundation for Curriculum Theory. All rights reserved.

ISSN: 1942-2563