This paper considers the question of the role of teachers with respect to knowledge, an issue that has been reopened as a consequence of the widespread interest in outcomes‐based education. Proponents of an outcomes‐based education are sometimes guilty of defending a role for teachers that is limited to facilitation. Against this rather passive understanding of the role of teachers, the paper defends a notion of teachers as critical mediators of knowledge. The role of teachers as mediators of knowledge is developed from debates in epistemology about knowledge and truth. The role of teachers as socio‐cultural critics, analogous to the role of art critics, is developed from debates around knowledge, values and the politics of curriculum design. These two roles are synthesised into teachers as critical mediators of knowledge. Copyright © 2000 The Journal of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain.