Asee peer logo

Liberation in Education: What Role Do Liberatory Praxis and Theory Play in Fostering Critical Thinking?

Download Paper |


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Social Justice, Social Responsibility, and Critical Pedagogies

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Yousef Jalali Virginia Tech

visit author page

Yousef Jalali is a Ph.D. student in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He received a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering and M.Eng. in Energy Systems Engineering. His research interests include ethics, critical thinking, and process design and training.

visit author page


Christian Matheis Virginia Tech

visit author page

I serve as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Government and International Affairs in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. Concurrently, I serve as a Teaching and Research Associate for the Intercultural Engagement Center at Virginia Tech. My research specializations include ethics, political philosophy, and philosophy of liberation. Within these areas, I concentrate on public policy, feminism, race, migration and refugees, and similar topics.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The revolutionary changes in ABET EC 2000 accreditation criteria promoted the address of critical thinking in engineering curricula by emphasizing such outcomes as ethics, social and global context, communication, lifelong learning and contemporary issues in addition to technical work in design and problem solving. However, the mainstream notion of critical thinking as used in the educational settings is often connected with the conceptions of reasoning and logic. Critical thinking is often seen as a skill in line with decision making and problem solving applications. The extent and degree of success of addressing critical thinking is still under question.

Liberation as its own field of praxis and theory which has been excluded from formal education, can provide a unique contribution in changing status quo. For the oppressed to get engaged in the process of discovery and transformation, critical thinking is such a crucial component. In this paper, liberation as a program of praxis and theory will be introduced. Then considering different stages in a liberatory process, the role of critical thinking in liberation struggle will be discussed and evaluated. Finally, paper focuses on contribution of liberatory scholars and in particular Paulo Freire and Gloria Anzaldúa in addressing promising components of critical thinking such as relation, communication, and imagination. This paper aims to raise awareness regarding liberation scholarship as a resource for researchers and practitioners in engineering education.

Jalali, Y., & Matheis, C. (2017, June), Liberation in Education: What Role Do Liberatory Praxis and Theory Play in Fostering Critical Thinking? Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28629

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015