Heutagogy and criticality: towards a symbiotic relationship


  • Christine Adams University of Tasmania
  • Ronald Barnett University College London Institute of Education




heutagogy, criticality, dispositions, higher education, adult education


The world is in motion, is interconnected and is imbued with large, conflicting and often hidden forces (natural and human). It is a world of double indeterminacy, present in systems and their interactions (complexity) and in discursive formations and their interactions (supercomplexity). This double indeterminacy may exceed an individual’s resources for action, there being no stable position of knowing or being. Pedagogies, therefore, are required that bring on individual’s capacities autonomously to see into the world beneath its immediate appearances, and form anew their thoughts and their actions. Two paths open, and two literatures largely held apart, have to be brought together. On the one hand, a teaching approach is called for that turns on open pedagogical situations, in which learners have both autonomy and responsibility; and here beckons the idea of heutagogy. On the other hand, more than critical thinking, the engendering of criticality is required, which includes the three separate moments of (i) critical dispositions, (ii) a critical spirit and (iii) powers of critical action. Ultimately, in realising their full educational potential, heutagogy and criticality stand in a symbiotic relationship, with each entailing the other: heutagogy without criticality is aimless; criticality without heutagogy is groundless. 






Research Articles (peer-reviewed)