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Pedagogy of the Oppressed

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  1. Pedagogy of the Oppressed Paulo Freire

  2. Understand the teacher/student relationship Freire proposes • Understand the ‘banking’ and ‘problem-posing’ conception of education • Define the concepts: Dialogical Action & Praxis • Better understand Freire’s pedagogic system Objectives

  3. Biography • A long-time adult educator and native of Brazil, Freire worked to help the disposessed peoples of urban and rural Brazil to find a voice. • In 1964, following a military coup, his work was considered a threat to social order. Freire was arrested and exiled. • It was during his time in prison that he began his first book, Educacao como a Pratica da Liberdade, (Education as the Practice of Freedom ).

  4. Biography He continued working with the poor while living in Chile, and later as a professor at Harvard's Center for Studies in Education and Development. In 1970, he published his first work in English, which outlined the foundation of his principals, Pedagogy of the Oppressed : Man's ontological vocation is to be a Subject who acts upon and transforms his world, and in so doing moves toward ever new possibilities of fuller and richer life individually and collectively. Every human being, no matter how "ignorant" or submerged in the culture of silence he or she may be, is capable of looking critically at the world in a dialogical encounter with others. Provided with proper tools for this encounter, the individual can gradually perceive personal and social reality as well as the contradictions in it, become conscious of his or her own perception of that reality, and deal critically with it.

  5. Biography In 1979, Freire was invited to return to Brazil, where he joined the faculty at the University of Sao Paulo. In 1988, he became the Minister of Education for Sao Paulo, enabling him to institute reform though out most of Brazil. Freire's work has inspired others worldwide to join in the fight for social reform, cautioning them not to see his philosophy as methodology, but rather to reinvent the philosophy to fit their reality. Freire died in May, 1997. **Adult Literacy

  6. Oppressor/Oppressed: The Struggle for Humanization The struggle for humanization, breaking the cycles of injustice, exploitation and oppression lies in the perpetuation of oppressor versus oppressed. In these roles, those who commit the injustice, the oppressors, do not only deny freedom to those they oppress, they also risk their own humanity, because oppressor consciousness "tends to transform everything surrounding it into an object of its domination". These roles are so ingrained in society that in the "initial struggle for liberation," the oppressed frequently strive to imitate the oppressor. They see that role as the "ideal model of humanity". To break the cycle, a revolution of ideas must take place, freedom can only occur when the oppressed "eject this image and replace it with autonomy and responsibility” But how do the oppressed reach this realization, how do they "resolve the oppressor-oppressed contradiction"? Example: “The Second Sex”

  7. Educational Banking A careful analysis of the teacher-student relationship at any level, inside or outside the school, revels its fundamentally narrative character. This relationship involves a narrating Subject (the teacher) and patient, listening objects (the students). The contents, whether values or empirical dimensions of reality, tend in the process of being narrated to become lifeless and petrified... The teacher talks about reality as if it were motionless, static, compartmentalized, and predictable. Or else he expounds on a topic completely alien to the existential experience of the students. His task is to 'fill' the students with the contents of his narration.

  8. Educational Banking Freire's answer was through "the pedagogy of the oppressed, a pedagogy forged with not for the oppressed... By confronting "reality critically, simultaneously objectifying and acting upon that reality", the oppressed can begin transformation from objects to Subjects. But this is only the first stage. The oppressed unveil the world of oppression and through the praxis commit themselves to its transformation. The pedagogy ceases to belong to the oppressed and becomes a pedagogy of all people in the process of permanent liberation. Those who adopt Freire's pedagogy need to be aware that it is not made up of techniques to save the world. Instead, he felt that "...the progressive educator must always be moving out on his or her own, continually reinventing me and reinventing what it means to be democratic in his or her own specific cultural and historical context" .

  9. Educational Banking Freire describes a situation all too common in today's classes. It is from this kind of didactic teaching that Freire draws his metaphor of banking as a concept of education. In it, teachers make deposits of information which students are to receive, memorize, and repeat. A transmission of knowledge from the knowledgeable to the know nothings...Subject to object. "The more students work at storing the deposits entrusted to them, the less they develop the critical consciousness which would result from their intervention in the world as transformers of that world“. Libertarian, progressive education needs to "begin with the solution of the teacher-student contradiction, by reconciling the poles of the contradiction so that both are simultaneously teachers and students“.

  10. Concept of banking education • the teacher teaches and the students are taught; • the teacher knows everything and the students know nothing; • the teacher thinks and the students are thought about; • the teacher talks and the students listen - meekly; • the teacher disciplines and the students are disciplined; • the teacher chooses and enforces his choice, and the students comply; • the teacher acts and the students have the illusion of acting through the action of the teacher; • the teacher chooses the program content, and the students (who were not • consulted) adapt to it; • the teacher confuses the authority of knowledge with his own professional • authority, which he sets in opposition to the freedom of the students; • the teacher is the Subject of the learning process, while the pupils are mere • objects. • (Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed [New York: Continuum], p. 59.)

  11. Educational Banking Banking education seeks to maintain the contradiction. It does not engage students in critical thinking, instead, it requires the students to be passive and to adapt thereby serving the purposes of oppression. It inhibits creativity, it resists dialogue, it is fatalistic in nature. Progressive educators help students to reach conscientizacao (conscientization). Conscientization meaning breaking through prevailing mythologiesto reach new levels of awareness--in particular, awareness of oppression, of being an object in a world where only Subjects have power. The process of conscientization involves identifying contradictions in experience through dialogue and becoming a Subject with other oppressed subjects--that is, becoming part of the process of changing the world.

  12. Problem Posing Education Instead of banking methods, progressive educators employ problem-posing methods. "In problem—posing education, people develop their power to perceive critically the way they exist in the world with which and in which they find themselves; they come to see the world not as a static reality, but as a reality in process, in transformation." Teacher-students and student teachers are continually reflecting on themselves and the world, establishing "an authentic form of thought and action.” It is in this way that education can be constantly remade, instead of being static. It helps people to look ahead, to hope and plan for the future. "Problem-posing education does not and cannot serve the interests of the oppressor. No oppressive order could permit the oppressed to begin to question: Why?"

  13. Dialogical Action Banking education, which emphasizes the teacher's role as the active one in the teacher-learner relationship is an anti-dialogical approach. It serves the oppressor by denying the learner an active role in the learning. Paulo Freire felt that for the learner to move from object to Subject, he or she needed to be involved in dialogical action with the teacher. Dialogic action has two basic dimensions, reflection and action. Action + Reflection = word = work = praxis Action without Reflection = activism (acting without thinking) Reflection with Action = verbalism = "blah"

  14. Transformation Verbalism is an empty word, word without action, and transformation cannot happen with action. Transformation is also impossible with activism, because without reflection, there can be no commitment to transformation, it is empty action. With action and reflection you get praxis, which enables transformation to take place. Dialogue cannot exist without humility. You cannot dialogue if you place yourself above another, seeing yourself as the owner of truth. Dialogue requires faith in humanity. "Faith is an a priori requirement for dialogue. Founding itself upon love, humility and faith, dialogue becomes a horizontal relationship of which mutual trust between the dialoguers is the logical consequence"(p.71). Dialogue requires hope in order to exist. "Hopelessness is a form of silence, of denying the world and fleeing from it“ (p.72).

  15. Dialogical Action Second, Paulo Freire was concerned with praxis -action that is informed (and linked to certain values). Dialogue wasn't just about deepening understanding - but was part of making a difference in the world. Dialogue in itself is a co-operative activity involving respect. The process is important and can be seen as enhancing community and building social capital and to leading us to act in ways that make for justice and human flourishing. Informal and popular educators have had a longstanding orientation to action - so the emphasis on change in the world was welcome. Paulo Freire argued for informed action and as such provided a useful counterbalance to those who want to diminish theory.

  16. Dialogical Action For the dialogical, problem-posing teacher student, the program content of education is neither a gift nor an imposition--bits of information to be deposited in the students-- but rather the organized, systematized, and developed 'representation‘ to the individuals of the things about which they want to know more"(p.74). Dialogue is a give and take of ideas, a sharing. You cannot dialogue and attempt to impose your own ideas on another. You can dialogue about their ideas and yours. Through cooperation, dialogic Subjects are able to "focus their attention on the reality which mediates them and which—posed as a problem--challenges them. The response to that challenge is the action of dialogical Subjects upon reality in order to transform it".

  17. Education for Critical Consciousness. • “Vocabulary words were of a generative nature, and came from the experience of and reflected the needs of those being taught to read. • How and why questions took precedence over questions of who and what. • Instead of domestication, education became an act of liberation,… “conscientization” or education for critical consciousness.

  18. Education as Cultural Action for Freedom • The poor live in a “culture of silence” dominated by the ideas and values of others. • Freire saw learning as a process of liberation; • for him, education is an act of cultural action for freedom • an act of knowing and not memorization. --Paulo Freire

  19. Critique •First, many are put off by Paulo Freire's language and his appeal to mystical concerns. The former was a concern of Freire himself in later life - and his work after Pedagogy of the Oppressed was usually written within a more conversational or accessible framework. •Second, Paulo Freire tends to argue in an either/or way. We are either with the oppressed or against them. This may be an interesting starting point for teaching, but taken too literally it can make for rather simplistic (political) analysis. •Third, there is an tendency in Freire to overturn everyday situations so that they become pedagogical. Freire's approach was largely constructed around structured educational situations. While his initial point of reference might be non-formal, the educational encounters he explores remain formal.

  20. Understand the teacher/student relationship Freire proposes • Understand the ‘banking’ and ‘problem-posing’ conception of education • Define the concepts: Dialogical Action & Praxis • Better understand Freire’s pedagogic system Objectives