Paulo Freire and Critical Pedagogy

“To the oppressed, and to those who suffer with them and fight at their side” (Paulo Freire). 

Freire states that thinking educational practice and liberation are intertwined. Education can be humanistic and remove the shackles of the oppressed, by liberating themselves and the oppressors as well.

Education should not be divorced from politics and the act of teaching and learning are political components. The education process is therefore not a neutral process. Freire’s belief was to provide native populations with an education which was both new and modern (rather than traditional) and not simply an extension of the culture of the colonizer. Just look at World Bank and their “education for all policy’, all linking in with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and UNESCO and using national qualification frameworks devised for the western world, is this what Freire would call ‘the colonizers”?

In education the freedom to say ‘why’. Remember when higher education was a place to question authority, broaden your knowledge and political convictions not just become a ‘work ready’ product of the education system.

No one is born fully-formed: it is through self-experience in the world that we become what we are.” (Paulo Freire)

Critical pedagogy

“Critical pedagogy is a philosophy of education and social movement that has developed and applied concepts from critical theory and related traditions to the field of education and the study of culture. Advocates of critical pedagogy view teaching as an inherently political act, reject the neutrality of knowledge, and insist that issues of social justice and democracy itself are not distinct from acts of teaching and learning. The goal of critical pedagogy is emancipation from oppression through an awakening of the critical consciousness, s a philosophy of education and social movement that has developed and applied concepts from critical theory and related traditions to the field of education and the study of culture” (Wikipedia, 2017).

Critical pedagogy  is a continuous process of:

  • unlearning,
  • learning,
  • and relearning,
  • reflection,
  • evaluation.

For Freire the goal of creating not only a better learning environment but also a better world is the focus. It’s interesting to read and reflect at where we are at today, as if you consider the world of higher education you could be forgiven in thinking that maybe the key focus of education in it’s ability to transform at a personal and society level has been forgotten in a business driven education system. Or is critical thinking alive and well and we are actually more aware of critical pedagogy and social movement due to the nature of connectivity and the internet?

Banking

To the oppressed, and to those who suffer with them and fight at their side” (Friere, 2000).

“Education thus becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor. Instead of communicating, the teacher issues communiques and makes deposits which the students patiently receive, memorize, and repeat. This is the “banking” concept of education, in which the scope of action allowed to the students extends only as far as receiving, filing, and storing the deposits” (Freire, 2000).

If the structure does not permit dialogue the structure must be changed.” (Paulo Freire)

“In the banking concept of education, knowledge is a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those whom they consider to know nothing. Projecting an absolute ignorance onto others, a characteristic of the ideology)of oppression, negates education and knowledge as processes of inquiry”  (Freire, 2000).

The passive nature of “banking”in education according to Freire is the attempt to control students thinking and action, and inhibits the creative ideology of generations. This makes for a passive society. Get revolutionary people!

Keywords: critical pedagogy; banking; praxis; critical thinking; power; oppressed.

References

Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Freire Institute (2017) Paulo Freire.

Wikipedia (2017) Paulo Freire.

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