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October 15/16, 07 - Agenda. Time Activity 8:30 Seminar: Students go directly to Seminar Rooms to start the class. 9:45 Announcements: - Reading Assignments - Seminar Reading Groups - Quote Cards - World Religions 9:30 Break 9:50 Lecture: Chapter 4: (Cpp. 27)

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october 15 16 07 agenda
October 15/16, 07 - Agenda

Time Activity

8:30 Seminar:

Students go directly to Seminar Rooms to start the class.

9:45 Announcements:

- Reading Assignments

- Seminar Reading Groups

- Quote Cards

- World Religions

9:30 Break

9:50 Lecture: Chapter 4: (Cpp. 27)

“Critical Perspectives on the Politics of Teaching

and Pedagogy“ (Barakett & Cleghorn) & Other sources.

11:15 End of Class

chapter 4 critical perspectives on the politics of teaching and pedagogy
Chapter 4: “Critical Perspectives on the Politics of Teaching and Pedagogy“

The Politics of Teaching:

  • Teachers - both commonsense and taken-for-granted knowledge.
  • This knowledge: - acquired - during teacher training & through their own socialization (the same socio-cultural system where they end up teaching)
  • The idea that schools, organized in traditional ways, are the appropriate places fro students to learn - is generally unquestioned.
chapter 4 critical perspectives on the politics of teaching and pedagogy1
Chapter 4: “Critical Perspectives on the Politics of Teaching and Pedagogy“
  • Generalized belief that “we live in a meritocracy”
  • Meritocracy: a system of stratification based on personal achievement
    • where individual efforts and ability lead to higher education = society’s dominant ideology.
  • Ideology: - a set of beliefs and values held by a group
chapter 4 critical perspectives on the politics of teaching and pedagogy2
Chapter 4: “Critical Perspectives on the Politics of Teaching and Pedagogy“


  • Ideology - a belief system that legitimates the dominant group.
  • A system generated and controlled by the owners of material production
  • The economic dominance of the ruling class controls the world of ideas
chapter 4 critical perspectives on the politics of teaching and pedagogy3
Chapter 4: “Critical Perspectives on the Politics of Teaching and Pedagogy“


  • His conceptualization is valued because it grounds ideology in material experience and in observable human behaviour
  • Problematic - because - it implies that societal ideas and beliefs are deliberately manipulated in a calculated way so as to indoctrinate the subordinate class.
chapter 4 critical perspectives on the politics of teaching and pedagogy4
Chapter 4: “Critical Perspectives on the Politics of Teaching and Pedagogy“
  • According to Marx:
    • Ideology serves the powerful group by presenting the powerless or subordinate groups with a definition of reality that is false
    • As this definition becomes part of the shared belief system it provides order to the surrounding world
chapter 4 critical perspectives on the politics of teaching and pedagogy5
Chapter 4: “Critical Perspectives on the Politics of Teaching and Pedagogy“


  • Extends Marx’s notion of ideology
  • Ideology and control are more powerful and effective when they are cloaked in beliefs that make it appear legitimate through the educational system
  • One of the major roles of an education system is to disseminate the dominant ideology through the populace
chapter 4 critical perspectives on the politics of teaching and pedagogy6
Chapter 4: “Critical Perspectives on the Politics of Teaching and Pedagogy“

Gramsci’s concept of hegemony:

  • Shows how ideology originates and operates in a subtle fashion - a preponderance of influence

Hegemonic aspect of ideology:

  • Arises from its ability to build social consensus
chapter 4 critical perspectives on the politics of teaching and pedagogy7
Chapter 4:“Critical Perspectives on the Politics of Teaching and Pedagogy“

2. Appeals to a selective interpretation of the past & people’s commonsense assumptions about the world

Example - “The American Dream” (myth)

  • The success stories of a minority of new Americans
  • The Puritan ethos: hard work = success!!!
chapter 4 critical perspectives on the politics of teaching and pedagogy8
Chapter 4: “Critical Perspectives on the Politics of Teaching and Pedagogy“

During the19th century:

  • industrialization & the institutionalization of education for all
  • Ideology became translated into educational values.
  • Reward for had work in school - translated into achievement of higher social status.
chapter 4 critical perspectives on the politics of teaching and pedagogy9
Chapter 4: “Critical Perspectives on the Politics of Teaching and Pedagogy“

Barakett & Cleghorn:

  • Ideology is dynamic rather than static
  • A living belief that is bound up and brought to life in the consciousness of the student
  • Shapes the student’s perception of self and society in significant ways (lenses through which life is seen)
  • Within the institution of the school - the dominant ideology affects and develops the consciousness of the student, shaping perceptions of their world
  • Education - not a distant mechanism sorting & selecting workers
  • It tends to operates this way because people have come to believe that his is part of the school’s task
chapter 4 critical perspectives on the politics of teaching and pedagogy10
Chapter 4: “Critical Perspectives on the Politics of Teaching and Pedagogy“

Thus Education:

  • Aids in the reproduction of the ideology
  • It reproduces social and economic inequality
  • Perpetuates patters of success and failure
  • It is unquestioned since it is considered “normal”
  • The primary institution for controlling ideology is the school.
  • This is what the authors mean by: “the politics of teaching and education”
chapter 4 critical perspectives on the politics of teaching and pedagogy11
Chapter 4: “Critical Perspectives on the Politics of Teaching and Pedagogy“

“When the institutionalized ways of doing things become part of the intrapsychic make-up of the individual, the system supports the dominant group.”

Intrapsychic:being or occurring within the psyche, mind, or personalityMerriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.

teaching and pedagogy
Teaching and Pedagogy

Pedagogy: - the production of knowledge, identities, and values.

“Pedagogy [refers] to the integration in practice of particular curriculum content and design, classroom strategies and techniques, and evaluation, purpose and method. All of these aspects organize a view of how a teacher’s work within an institutional context specifies a particular version of what knowledge is most worth, what it means to know something, and how we might construct representations of ourselves, others, and our physical and social environments.”

teaching and pedagogy1
Teaching and Pedagogy
  • The shift away from teaching, the transmission of knowledge, to pedagogy, the production of knowledge, leads to the view that pedagogy is a form of cultural politics.
teaching and pedagogy2
Teaching and Pedagogy
  • Those in power determine what others out to/may learn
  • Simon: “talk about pedagogy is simultaneously talk about the details of what students and others might to together and the cultural politics such practices support…. We cannot talk about teaching practices without talking about politics”
teaching and pedagogy3
Teaching and Pedagogy
  • Culture not only as a way of life but as a form of production that involves relations of power and legitimization of certain meanings and experience.
paulo freire 1921 1997
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997

Philosophical Documents in Education: by Reed, R.F. & Johnson, T.W. (2000)

  • he practices what he preaches
  • offers us a utopian vision of what life should be
  • articulates a progressive pedagogy for attaining this desired goal
  • his democratic vision is grounded in the poverty and oppression that characterized his native area of Recife, Brazil.
paulo freire 1921 19971
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997

“Freire’s thought represents the response of a creative mind and sensitive conscience to the extraordinary misery and suffering of the oppressed around him.”

Shaull (1972)- foreword to ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed”

paulo freire 1921 19972
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • Living in abject poverty as a child, Freire experienced and understood what he later named the “culture of silence” that characterizes the dispossessed.
  • Culture of silence:- a culture of passivity, which is created in the classroom by teaching practices and curricula that stem from the power of the dominant class.
paulo freire 1921 19973
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • Victimized by the economic, social, and political paternalism of the dominant classes, the poor and dispossessed are not equipped to respond to the world’s realities in a critical fashion.
  • The dominant classes devised an educational system for the purpose of keeping the masses “submerged” and contained in a “culture of silence.”
paulo freire 1921 19974
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • Freire shared the plight of the “wretched of the earth”,
  • His family lost its middle-class status during the worldwide depression of the 1930’s
  • He realized that the “culture of silence” could and should be overcome.
paulo freire 1921 19975
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • Aware that the extant educational system fostered and sustained this culture of silence, Freire retained his faith in the power of a genuine education to enable and empower even the most wretched to first recognize their oppressed condition and then participate in its transformation.
  • To assist those submerged in this culture of silence, Freire combined theory and practice into what is best known as a “pedagogy of the oppressed.”
paulo freire 1921 19976
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • It is important to note that this pedagogy did not emerge full-blown out of the mind of Freire but evolved as he worked with the dispossessed of his own country.
  • Dialogue: An approach to teaching that is characterized by cooperation and acceptance of interchange ability in the roles of teacher and learner.
paulo freire 1921 19977
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • In developing a pedagogy that centres on dialogue, that is, “the encounter between men, mediated by the world, in order to name the world,” Freire remained true to his basic beliefs that all human beings merit our respect and are capable of understanding and transforming the world of which they are a part.
paulo freire 1921 19978
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • Experiencing firsthand the hunger and poverty that characterized Recife during the 1930’s, Freire fell behind in school and was thought by some to be mentally retarded.
  • Though he suffered no serious or permanent damage from his malnourishment, the experience affected him greatly.
  • While still an adolescent, Freire devoted himself to working among the poor to assist them in improving their lot in life.
paulo freire 1921 19979
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • This led to the study of law and to working as a labour union lawyer“among the people of the slums.”
  • In trying to help the poor understand their legal rights, Freire became involved in adult literacy programs during the late 1940’s.
  • Working with such programs for more than a decade, Freire rejected traditional methods of instruction, finding them much too authoritarian to be effective in teaching adults to read.
paulo freire 1921 199710
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • As he began doctoral study at the University of Recife, Freire read and made use of the insights of such great minds as Sartre and Mounier, Eric Fromm, Mao, Martin Luther King, Che Guevara and others
paulo freire 1921 199711
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • However, his educational philosophy remained grounded in these experiences of working with the dispossessed of Brazil.
  • Though he first articulated his philosophy of education in his doctoral dissertation, Freire continued to advocate for a “problem-posing” approach to teaching as a member of the faculty of the University of Recife and of Harvard University.
paulo freire 1921 199712
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • In contrast to the “banking” method of education– where one privileged to know the truth deposits it in the appropriate amount and form into the empty and limited minds of the unwashed or dispossessed
  • Freire advocates an education or pedagogy that enhances and expands every human being’s ability to understand and transform the world of which she or he is a part.
paulo freire 1921 199713
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • In teaching Brazilian peasants to read, Freire did not lecture to them.
  • Instead, by beginning with a concept or concepts with which they were already familiar, Freire helped the peasants understand that they too were makers of culture and they could contribute to the transformation of their own reality.
paulo freire 1921 199714
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • Beginning with a series of pictures “designed to demonstrate the fundamental differences between nature (the natural world) and culture (all that is created or transformed by men and women).”
  • Able to assist illiterates in developing rudimentary literacy skills within thirty hours.
paulo freire 1921 199715
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • As the peasants began to learn the symbols for the words that name concepts familiar to them, their view of their world gradually expands.
  • Through this process they begin to understand that “their world is not fixed and immutable,” but is a reality in process that can be transformed.
paulo freire 1921 199716
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • Freire’s “pedagogy of the oppressed” is more than just literacy training.
  • Nothing less than a liberating process that enables and empowers each human being to achieve humankind’s ontological* vocation, that is, “to be a Subject who acts upon and transforms his world…”

[*Of or relating to essence or the nature of being]

paulo freire 1921 199717
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • As human beings regain the right to rename their worlds, individually and collectively they consciously engage in the uniquely human activity of constructing and reconstructing their own worlds.
paulo freire 1921 199718
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • Though Freire’s ideas are grounded in the poverty and oppression of his earlier years, the utility of his approach transcends national, class and ethnic boundaries.
  • According to Freire, the transforming power of words enables all of us to live fuller, more humane lives.
paulo freire 1921 199719
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • Caulfield (1991) explains that:
    • “Words,” for Freire, “have meaning only in relation to their effect on human beings and the world in which we live.”
  • For example, the word Chernobyl connotes much more than merely a geographic location in what was once the Soviet Union.
paulo freire 1921 199720
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997
  • Many of us probably correctly associate the word with the worse nuclear accident in human history, but to appreciate the richness of such a statement, its many layers of meaning need to be connected to each person’s personal reality.
  • Bolger (2005) - Similar significance to the term 9/11 today!
  • From Freire’s point of view, it is the educator’s task to assist individuals in expanding the connection between concepts or issues of importance to them to a larger evolving reality.
paulo freire 1921 199721
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997

Caulfield suggests:

In order for students to comprehend truly the meaning of Chernobyl, they would probably need to discuss among themselves (with the teacher’s help) the effects of radiation on neighbouring grasses, vegetables, animals, and people, perhaps through generations.

paulo freire 1921 199722
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997

Indeed, how could they grasp the threat suggested by Chernobyl unless they researched Hiroshima and Nagasaki; they might also inquire into the long-term effects of radiation exposure to Americans living near atomic testing sites in Nevada in the 1950’s.

Only then would student begin to comprehend the significance of a statement like “Chernobyl was the site of the first serious nuclear accident.”

paulo freire 1921 199723
Paulo Freire: 1921-1997

Read & Johnson conclude by saying:

“Such a progressive approach to pedagogy is a far cry form the “banking” education so prevalent in educational institutions throughout the world.”

paulo freire
Paulo Freire:
  • Concerned with social transformation & the development of libratory education
  • Focused on:
    • educational practices
    • the empowerment of teachers
    • teachers as agents of empowering students
    • social class empowerment.
paulo freire1
Paulo Freire:
  • Freire’s work:
    • seen as highly political
    • has become the foundation for the development of a more liberating pedagogy.
paulo freire textbook
Paulo Freire: Textbook
  • Influenced both critical and feminist pedagogists
  • Freire is Brazilian
  • His philosophy reflects the societal conditions of Brazil
paulo freire textbook1
Paulo Freire: Textbook
  • Experience comes from an impoverished society
  • A society with a large gap between a small, wealthy and educated elite and a large, extremely poor, uneducated peasant class
  • Audience with those who have experienced oppression and who are concerned with increasing inequality.
paulo freire textbook2
Paulo Freire: Textbook

Theory of Liberation: - a view that educational practice could and should be emancipatory for all.

  • It is not only the people who are processed in schools but also knowledge that is selected, organized, and then processed as well
paulo freire textbook3
Paulo Freire: Textbook

Critical Consciousness:

  • Individuals have the power to come to an understanding of their own situation in the world
  • Freire believes that teachers and students are both involved constructing and reconstructing meaning - thus are agents for transforming educational practice
paulo freire textbook4
Paulo Freire: Textbook

His theory of liberation called for:

  • A focus on social change and a fracturing of the status quo
  • Questioning the selection and organization of knowledge
  • Treating of knowledge as being socially constructed
paulo freire textbook5
Paulo Freire: Textbook

Freire’s theory of liberation called for:

  • Understanding why and how certain dominant categories of knowledge persist and how they are related to interest and occupational groups
paulo freire2
Paulo Freire:
  • Understanding the influence of the elite’s traditions
  • Freire views education as a radical project for economic, political, and cultural change in which power relations are transformed
paulo freire3
Paulo Freire:
  • Pedagogy (classroom management, teaching style, classroom activities, evaluation) is the means or process by which curriculum (subject content, knowledge) is communicated
  • All pedagogy, therefore, is essentially political
culture and schooling freire s perspective
Culture and Schooling: Freire’s perspective
  • Achieving social change through education
  • Function of culture is more than passing on a heritage - its function is political
  • Dominant culture functions:
    • to legitimize existing modes of social relations and production
    • To provide the motivational structures that link individual needs with social needs
culture and schooling freire s perspective1
Culture and Schooling: Freire’s perspective
  • Culture provides a society with the symbolic language for interpreting the boundaries of individual and social existence
  • Freire concerned with making knowledge accessible to the poor and other oppressed people and to transform pedagogy so the view of the elite change as well
  • Deviates from the standard, deterministic view of pedagogy
culture and schooling
Culture and Schooling
  • Suggests that new understandings can be constructed by the higher classes even though their perceptions of social reality may differ from those who are oppressed
  • Does not see schools in purely mechanistic terms
  • Schools do not simply process students for the realms of leisure and work
  • Freire places ideology within the sphere of individual consciousness
  • Suggests that ideology shapes people’s perception of reality, which are defined by the dominant class
culture and schooling1
Culture and Schooling
  • The same dominant class who control educational access, processes, and content
  • Problem is that there is passivity among the oppressed
  • Pedagogical practices are thus saturated with mechanisms to maintain the position of the elite
  • The result is that those who do not have control are robbed of the possibility of developing a critical consciousness
culture and schooling2
Culture and Schooling
  • When the poor do not receive teaching and knowledge it ensures that they remain passive
  • Freire refers to this as the “culture of silence”
  • In Freire’s view, this suggestion that ideology is part of consciousness it becomes a contradictory force because consciousness is composed not only of the dominant ideology but also of critical, good sense
culture and schooling3
Culture and Schooling
  • Thus consciousness is characterized by a constant struggle between people’s capacity to think critically and the power of hegemonic ideology
  • Our consciousness is revealed through “dialogue”
culture and schooling4
Culture and Schooling
  • Dialogue - purpose is not only to validate the voices and subjective experiences of the oppressed but also to expose both the subjective and the objective nature of ideology - the beliefs and practices that influences our thoughts and action
  • By critiquing our thoughts through dialogue we become critically conscious actors engaged in the construction of a more humane world
culture and schooling5
Culture and Schooling
  • Freire’s concept of “dialogue” relates to the concrete situations and lived experiences that inform our lives on a daily basis
  • It leads to recognition of one’s own capital and how it can be used to reclaim one’s own identity
  • Freire’s pedagogy does not teach reading and writing passively - it is a pedagogy that questions
  • The content of instruction is rooted in the cultural capital of the learners and made problematic through critical dialogue
culture and schooling6
Culture and Schooling
  • Freire calls for students to:
    • learn how culture functions in the interest of the dominant classes
    • examine the form and content of the approved texts to reveal ideologies, images and ideas they present
    • political implications and social consequences noted
    • see that they can engage in social and political reconstruction
dialogue as a form of pedagogy
Dialogue as a form of Pedagogy
  • the student and teacher are equals
  • both are subjects in a world characterized by ideological and structural forces that shape and influence thought and action
  • in or to be successful in recovering, validating, and critiquing the experiences of students, then teachers must not impose knowledge on students in the traditional manner of “banking” education
  • Banking education = teachers considering students to be empty receptacles to be filled with knowledge
dialogue as a form of pedagogy1
Dialogue as a form of Pedagogy
  • This fashion of education leaves students to memorize the knowledge and rarely question or analyze their learning to reveal its underlying interests
  • a dialogical form of pedagogy - questions the knowledge and seeks to validate the knowledge students already possess - gained through their individual lived experience
dialogue as a form of pedagogy2
Dialogue as a form of Pedagogy
  • students mediate their learning and experiences by commonsense and their own identities which are shaped by their class, race, ethnicity, and gender.
  • exploration of the subjective experiences reveals the choices and the actions the individuals make to counter or resist the forces that see to both shape and limit them
perception of knowledge
Perception of Knowledge


  • Liberation means being able to construct your own meanings, frame of reference and self-determining powers through an ability to understand reality
  • The act of knowing is more than a technical issue - it is a political issue
  • Knowledge used to legitimize belief and value systems
perception of knowledge1
Perception of Knowledge
  • “Objective” knowledge mystifies - leaves people as spectators - removes underlying norms, values and interests from public debate.
  • We need to “demystify” knowledge & question the processes used to constitute and legitimate knowledge and experience
  • Must transcend the realms of intellectual habit and commonsense.
  • an awakening process
  • the path towards critical consciousness - the reinterpretation of what is considered to constitute knowledge
  • individuals exist not only in the world but with the world - cannot separate ourselves from our own personal world nor form the structural and ideological barriers of the external world
  • this dialectical view provides a basis by which individuals cannot only become conscious but, most importantly, critically conscious and, ultimately, act to create a more humane world
  • critical consciousness lies in the ability to decipher how social forces both enable and limit individuals
  • The art or practice of arriving at the truth by the exchange of logical arguments.
  • The Marxian process of change through the conflict of opposing forces, whereby a given contradiction is characterized by a primary and a secondary aspect, the secondary succumbing to the primary, which is then transformed into an aspect of a new contradiction.
  • dialectics - A method of argument or exposition that systematically weighs contradictory facts or ideas with a view to the resolution of their real or apparent contradictions.
  • The contradiction between two conflicting forces viewed as the determining factor in their continuing interaction.
  • “Native consciousness” - an inability to analyze these forces and link them to dominating interests
  • At this stage, the individual is considered a determined being because although he/she possesses a consciousness it is not his or her own but that of his or her oppressor
  • Freire refers to this as a subject-object dialect
  • As part of the subject-object dialect, knowledge is critical to the liberation of oppressed individuals, they will come to know that it is a social construction and that they can participate in its construction
  • A critique of school knowledge demystifies the supposed objectivity of knowledge and its links to the interests of the dominant groups
schools as centres of liberating praxis
Schools as Centres ofLiberating Praxis

Praxis: - The combination of reflection and action.

  • Freire sees schools as the place where social change can occur.
  • Yet schools seldom question the knowledge and thus maintain the status quo = a political process
schools as centres of liberating praxis1
Schools as Centres ofLiberating Praxis
  • Inherent in any educational design are value assumptions about the nature of humankind and specific forms of knowledge
  • These notions - validate certain subjective understandings while devaluing others
  • School practices that shape the individual and collective consciousness of student can be questioned.
schools as centres of liberating praxis2
Schools as Centres ofLiberating Praxis
  • Issues of power relations between individuals and society can be addressed.
  • School knowledge can be critiqued
  • The student’s perception of her/his oppression can be validated.
schools as centres of liberating praxis3
Schools as Centres ofLiberating Praxis
  • The power of hegemonic ideology can be overcome.
  • Schools can be centres for change
  • It is here that the individual can begin to learn that she or he can participate in the organization of his or her society.