Pedagogy of the Oppressed Reflection by Paulo Freire
Length: 975 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)
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Introduction and Overview of the Book
Brazilian Paulo Freire wrote the book Pedagogy of the Oppressed in 1968. The book quickly began a conversational topic among educators, students, policy makers, administrators, academics and community activists all over the world. Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed has been translated into many languages and is banned in a number of countries.
In his book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire discussed the problems that lay in education and proposed solutions to the problems. Freire faulted the capitalist of education and set a revolution in education. In his book Freire said that a problem-prosing education is what was needed to revolutionize education. The book Pedagogy of the Oppressed introduced Freire's concepts and theories surrounding education during the 20th century. Many of concepts discussed as the foundation of education include: the "banking theory," "conscientization," "dialogical method," and "transformative education." In his book, Freire shows that the practices in education that were being used were dehumanizing and producing unproductive students to the world. He proposed the idea that education should be a "dialogical process" in which students and teachers are learning from their experiences.
Throughout Freire's book, he argued for a system of education that emphasizes learning as an act of culture and freedom. The first chapter defined the "oppressor" and the "oppressor" and the actions that occur between them. Freire expressed his ideas that society scares the freedom out of the poor and powerless. According to Freire, freedom is the outcome of the informed action, which he referred to as the praxis.
The second chapter described the "banking" approach to education in which Freire suggested that students were considered empty bank accounts and that teachers were making deposits into them and receiving nothing back. The banking concept distinguishes two states. In the first, the educator cognizes a cognizable object and prepares a lesson. During the second, he expounds to his students about it. (67) Freire argued that the underclass could be empowered through literacy. He also pointed out that education could be used to create a passive and submissive citizen, but that it also has the potential to empower students by instilling in them a "critical consciousness." (45) Freire wanted the individual to form himself rather than be formed.
Although I found it too difficult to read and comprehend a large portion of Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, I did further research on the Internet to get a grasp on his concepts and ideas thoroughly.
As I began to read what others got from the book I was able to make my own connections, agreements, and objections to the book. My first thoughts were that Freire was ahead of his time with ideas that are widely discussed and executed in classrooms today. Although much of Freire's work was rejected at the time it was published, majority of his concepts and ideas were correct and lead to what education is today. For example, Freire's banking concept is exactly what we do not want teachers to do today. We want to produce students who can think together and independently. We also want students to be able to construct ideas thoroughly and with ease. I think the reason his work was banned and rejected by educators at the time of first publishing the book, throughout the world and continued to resurface is because people were not happy with the truth being told out loud. They did not want to face the reality of their situations and directly deal with them.
Freire's concepts are very closely related to attributes as a teacher. As I read and researched Freire's work I was felt that his concepts and ideas are closely connected today's education. I feel that teachers are using student pre-selected knowledge and their experiences to drive our instruction. On a personal level I was able to see how Freire's concepts and ideas are implemented into my own students, classroom, and my teaching styles. One example I thought about while reading Freire's "Banking" concept was a name I call some of students, "the blank slates." "Blank slates" are students who do not, cannot, or just will not think for themselves. These students have common characteristics with Freire's "Banking" concept because, my "blank slate" students come to class and listen to me, and when they leave and return the following day they only can give responses that I have "deposited" in them. Freire's work also focused on the importance of knowing, understanding, emphasizing, and relating to our students. This is the central force behind my classroom. As an educator as a low income at risk middle school I have learned that I cannot begin to really teach until my students have formed respect and trust for each other and me in my classroom. Every year a new respect and trust factor must be created with a different bunch of students. I feel that I am able to easily create a mutual respect and trust with my students by showing them I truly know, understand, relate, and emphasize with each and every one of them. I also agree with Freire's concept of society created education. I think that all students come to the classroom with a life of experiences. I do not feel that it is the educator's job to teach students everything about life. It is the responsibility of the family to open their students' eyes to the world around them. Then it is the responsibility of society to teach a student from right and wrong. Finally, it is the responsibility of the teacher to provide the student with the essential skills that are needed to further themselves in society.