Meet FreireClick here for a biography of Paulo Freire
Pedagogy of the Oppressed: The Nature of the Oppressed and OppressorFreire describes the relationship that exists between the oppressor and theoppressed and the systems that are inherently perpetuated by the nature ofthese relationships. Freire argues that the oppressed can only become freewhen they recognize their oppressed state and let go of the fear of being trulyfree. This struggle to become free takes place through a deep and intrinsicallymotivated desire to be human. “This struggle [to be human] is possible only because dehumanization, although a concrete historical fact, is not a given destiny but the result of an unjust order that engenders violence in the oppressors, which in turn dehumanizes the oppressed.” (Freire, p. 26)Freire argues that the oppressed and the oppressor work within a cyclicalrelationship wherein the oppressed may become the oppressor upon gainingtheir freedom. The struggle is to find and maintain humanity: “…the oppressed must not, in seeking to regain their humanity, become in turn oppressors of the oppressor, but rather restorers of the humanity of both.” (Freire, p.26)Yet Freire also recognizes the fear that freedom can engender. Indeed, to befree means to shed what is known and what is comfortable. “The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines are fearful of freedom. Freedom would require them to eject this image and replace it with autonomy and responsibility. Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift.” (Freire, p. 29)“The oppressed suffer from the duality which has established itself in theirinnermost being. They discover that without freedom they cannot existauthentically. Yet, although they desire authentic existence, they fear it. They
Pedagogy of the Oppressed:“The pedagogy of the oppressed is anArgue?their What does Freire instrument forcritical discovery that both they and their oppressor aremanifestations of dehumanization.” (Freire, p. 30)Freire argues that the oppressed must recognize andthen fight against their oppression. “As long as the oppressed remain unaware of the causes of their condition, they fatalistically “accept” their exploitation.” (Freire, p. 46)“The pedagogy of the oppressed, as a humanist andlibertarian pedagogy has two distinct states. In the first,the oppressed unveil the world of oppression and throughthe praxis commit themselves to its transformation. In thesecond stage, in which the reality of oppression hasalready been transformed, this pedagogy ceases tobelong to the oppressed and becomes a pedagogy of allpeople in the process of permanent liberation.” (Freire, p.37)
Are we the Oppressors?Read THIS article and consider the structures ofthe Charter School Movement. Do some CharterSchools maintain oppressive practices andcontribute to the cycle of the oppressed,oppressor dichotomy within the U.S.?
Are we the Oppressors?Take a moment to consider the followingquestions: Thinking about the ways in which our education system works within hierarchies of power and the ways in which our education system views students, are we the oppressors? Does our participation in the education system maintain oppressive policies? How do we, as educators working within a rigid bureaucracy, work to change this within our classroom without losing our jobs? Are we afraid of freedom in the ways that Freire argues the oppressed fear freedom?
The Banking Concept of EducationThe banking system describes a form of education based on theassumptions that educators “deposit” knowledge into our students,the depositories. The system relies on the following assumptions: 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 or her own profession authority which he or she sets in opposition to the freedom of students The teacher is the subject of the learning process while the pupils are mere objects.
Inquiry Based LearningFreire claims that the banking approach toeducation dehumanizes students as well asteachers as both parties participate in anoppressive system.Freire would argue that rather than treat ourstudents as deposits for our knowledge, weengage them in their education so as to free themfrom the oppression of the banking system.
Inquiry Based LearningClick here and here for two examples ofinquiry based learning. What does or would inquiry based learning look like in your own classroom? Do you agree with this approach to education or would you argue that Freire was wrong in his claim that the banking system dehumanizes our students? Is there a middle ground that would better serve students and maintain both teacher and student humanity?
Critique of FreireFreire fails to mention many of the larger issuesfacing schools Testing Standards Curriculum Role of Parents Etc.Click here to read Sol Sterns critique ofFreire
In our Country…Let‟s explore three topics: The achievement gap (along both racial and class) The school to prison pipeline Is education the civil rights issue of our time?
The Achievement GapRead the following three articles and consider ifthe existing (and ever growing achievement gap)is the result of a system of oppression: Black Students face more Discipline Education Gap Grows The Achievement Gap (If you want even MORE background)
The School to Prison PipelineRead the following three articles and consider the oppressivenature of our school system and the cycleof oppression itengenders: The New Jim Crow Michelle Alexander interviewed Awesome Infographic
Is Education the CivilRights Issue of our Time?Read the following articles and consider whethereducation is the civil rights issue of our time: Why Inequality Persists? Is Education the Civil Rights Issue of our time?
ReferencesAlexander, M. (2010, February 8). Michelle Alexander: The new jim crow. The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 10, 2012, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelle-alexander/the-new-jim- crow_b_454469.htmlLewin, T. (2012, June 12). Black students face more harsh discipline, data shows. The New York Times. Retrieved July 13, 2012, from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/education/black-students-face-more- harsh-discipline-data-shows.html?_r=3Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. In Foundations of Education (pp. 25-67). New York, NY: Continuum.MrMatthewjherbert. (2009, June 18). The socratic seminar. YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. . Retrieved July 11, 2012, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxZMGK6IdEs
Noguera, P. (2012, May 24). Opinion: confronting challenges of American education, „civil rights issue of our time. In America- You Define America What Defines You - CNN.com Blogs. Retrieved July 10, 2012, from http://inamerica.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/24/opinion-confronting-challenges- of-american-educationcivil-rights-issue-of-our-time/Sokolower, J. (n.d.). Rethinking schools online. Rethinking Schools. Retrieved July 10, 2012, from http://www.rethinkingschools.org/restrict.asp?path=archive/26_02/26_02_s okolower.shtmlStern, S. (n.d.). Pedagogy of the oppressor. City Journal. Retrieved July 12, 2012, from http://www.city-journal.org/2009/19_2_freirian-pedagogy.htmlStrauss, V. (2012, May 16). Why education inequality persists — and how to fix it - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post. Washington Post: Breaking News, World, US, DC News & Analysis. Retrieved July 11, 2012, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/why-education- inequality-persists--and-how-to-fix-it/2012/05/15/gIQAXEIeSU_blog.htmlTavernise, S. (2012, February 9). Education gap grows between rich and poor, studies show - NYTimes.com. The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Retrieved July 9, 2012, from
Txafmama. (2010, October 12). Inquiry-based teaching model. Youtuube-Broadcast Yourself. Retrieved July 10, 2012, fromhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLQPXd8BiIA&feature= topicsThe deceptive promise of charter schools: A New Orleans case study « education for the 99%. Education for the 99%. Retrieved July 11, 2012, from http://education4the99.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/the- deceptive-promise-of-charter-schools-a-new-orleans-case- study/Good Feed Blog. (2012, June 1). Awesome infographic: educate or incarcerate? The Good Men Project. Retrieved July 10, 2012, from http://goodmenproject.com/good-feed- blog/awesome-infographic-educate-or-incarcerate/