This study investigates critical pedagogical approaches within local contexts of refugee and asylum seeker English language classes within Ireland. Intrinsic to this study is cognisance of the landscape of the setting both in Ireland and worldwide. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says that the current time is unprecedented in terms of the scale of displaced peoples, asylum seekers and refugees. In Ireland, the asylum system is an issue which is highly controversial and fraught with political, social and economic implications. This study draws on the literature from the disciplines of critical pedagogy and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in order to investigate the ESOL class as a site in which to enable participants to develop skills of personal and social empowerment. The study investigates challenges faced by ESOL teachers as well as some of the chosen teaching styles of this group, taking a grounded theory approach to data analysis. Current usage of and attitudes towards critical pedagogical approaches are examined, giving rise to a theory grounded in data. At this precarious time in history, approaches to education which are participatory, flexible and questioning are more important than ever. The study finds that the majority of teachers use at least some critical approaches in their teaching contexts. The teaching styles cited by respondents are analogous to critical pedagogical styles. Attitudes towards critical pedagogy as a concept are mixed, with some respondents expressing uncertainty as to the appropriacy of the approach in some contexts. However other informants suggest that criticality can be effective in refugee and asylum seeker English language classes by enabling participants to take control of their learning in an learner-centred and participatory way. Teacher education into the nature of ideologies of power is seen as essential to the success of a critical pedagogical approach within the ESOL class. The study makes a number of recommendations based on findings from the literature review and evidence from the research component of this study. It believes that students and teachers are best placed to guide the future direction of ESOL in Ireland, and that a critical pedagogical approach can be an ethical, inclusive and sociocultural tool to achieve the aims of same.