Growing up as a Jewish kid in the South Bronx, Ira Shor quickly came to understand the lived experience of being white working class as well as the specificities of racial and ethnic discrimination in New York in the 1950s and 1960s. These experiences, like those of so many other men and women now involved in critical pedagogy, shaped his sociopolitical perspectives and his conception of the role of a teacher. With these ideas in mind, Shor became fascinated with the work of Paulo Freire, and to some degree Shor’s critical pedagogy has always been intimately involved with what it means to apply Freire in the classrooms of North America. In this context, Shor has carefully worked to integrate critical notions of social critique with techniques of pedagogy in ways that create new educational possibilities. Joined together these two notions help produce a thoughtful, just, and democratic education. Such an education engages students in a way that subverts the exploitation of the subordinate classes, the manner in which social structures reproduce themselves in the everyday life of the classroom, and the process by which authority regulates the poor. Keeping these ideas in the front of his consciousness, Shor calls for (and employs in his own teaching) a dialogical pedagogy. In such teaching the teacher starts with student experience— student responses to themes, texts, and/or problems. In this context the teacher engages students in a critical discourse about these issues. Such a pedagogy, Shor maintains, disconfirms a teacher-centered, authoritarian form of teaching and replaces it with a dialogical one. Indeed, teaching of this kind helps focus critical pedagogy’s questioning of the status quo as it enacts its democratic dimension. At the very core of his democratic, decentralized pedagogy, Shor is dedicated to the proposition that the classroom is the venue for the construction of knowledge, not merely for its inculcation. This assertion is inseparable from his profound discomfort with the teacher-driven, authoritydependent nature of many classrooms claiming a variety of ideological positions—critical pedagogy included. In this context, Shor insists that teachers develop an epistemological relationship to subject matter. Entering into this relationship, teachers monitor student knowledges and interpretations of subject matter and experience, expressing their own insights at appropriate times in this process of student engagement. Critical teaching of this variety is a compelling art form in the hands of an adept teacher such as Shor. When it is running on all cylinders, Shor posits that a “third idiom”is created. Such an idiom is distinct from both the everyday language of students and the academic language of teachers. It is a critical language constructed as a synthesis of these different ways of thinking and talking in the lived world of the classroom. As such it comes out of the conflicts and the collaborations of teachers and students and emerges as something new—a power-mediated hybrid discourse. In some ways, Shor’s work in critical pedagogy has become, in a right-wing socioeducational Zeitgeist, a guidebook for resistance to the standardization and deskilling of contemporary schooling. In an era of hyperbanking pedagogy, Shor challenges the relationship between information-transmitting teachers and passive student receivers. Such challenges position him as the critical pedagogical champion of the democratic classroom. Up front about both its benefits and its difficulties, he is unafraid to speak and write of his own failures in the complex process. Positioning oneself as a teacher in opposition to the hegemonic culture inscribing classrooms is never a comfortable role for teachers or students. In this sometimes discomforting role, Shor asserts, one must struggle to find strategies that encourage rather than discourage students from thinking of themselves as critical agents shaping their own education. When students are able to think of themselves as such empowered agents, Shor maintains that both students and teachers develop their capacities as democratic agents and social critics—everyone becomes involved in the learning process. Achieving the best balance of teacher and student input into the critical classroom is central to Shor, as he pushes the boundaries of the democratic classroom as a sophisticated form of group process (Shor, 1980, 1987, 1992, 1996; Shor and Freire, 1987; Shor and Pari, 1999a, 1999b).