Define: As defined by Ledwith (2005), “Conscientisation is the process whereby people become aware of the political, socioeconomic and cultural contradictions that interact in a hegemonic way to diminish their lives” (pg. 97). Conscientisation is the process of becoming a critical thinker and unpacking dominant thought and oppressive thought which results from the cycle of socialization (Ledwith, 2005).

Apply: Conscientisation happens when a critical awareness is formed. The application of this sense of awareness leads to collective action. This concept can individually fostered through community groups, specifically dialogue and direct action experience. When individuals have experiences/dialogue conversations that engage them in critical thought, conscientisation is taking place. This theory can also be implemented through personal discipline in engaging in material/experiences that will encourage critical thought and the dismantling of previously held dominant and oppressive worldviews.

Adapt: This theory/concept could be adapted within a high-school class curriculum. A high school teacher can engage his/her students in this process by participating in social justice education training sessions, and then facilitate dialogues within the classroom. These dialogues can be focused on oppression and social justice issues that have a large effect on the community/students. These dialogues will encourage students to engage in the process of conscientisation by thinking critically about their lives and the ways in which they have been socialized.

Source: Ledwith, M. (2005). Community Development (pp. 56-111). Portland: Policy Press.

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