Critical Pedagogy

Critical Pedagogy

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Critical Pedagogy


"Education must be understood as producing not only knowledge but also political subjects." This statement by Paulo Freire is very bold, and can be translated in many different ways. First, the word knowledge can be understood in many different ways. By definition, knowledge is defined as: the acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles. This knowledge according to Freire would be entirely based on a receptacle idea of education, and just "filling us up" with facts that our teachers know. In some countries this knowledge would mean only the information that the government or the rulers would like the citizens to know. In this sense, education is used to create subjects that are all exactly the same. It creates subjects that usually would not deviate from the normal pattern, and would definitely not rebel against the system. Knowledge can also be something that each person establishes individually by experience and by learning from teachers who do not teach in the banking method, but in a method to help students understand concepts, principles, and ideas.

The idea of education creating political subjects is also up for argument. A subject can be defined as: a person who is under the domination of a sovereign or a state. This means someone who is forced to live their life according to a government, and obey certain laws. No one should have to be forced to live and think only in a way that is acceptable to a government or political power. Everyone is an individual, and can ultimately make decisions for him or herself. If one’s way of thought is dominated or ruled by anything or anyone, then the individual is the one who is allowing this to happen to himself. He does not want to be free. He does not want to be an individual.

People who wish to be individuals will never allow their thoughts and minds to be dominated by a political power. They may be persecuted for their deviance from the accepted way of life, but they will never allow someone else to rule the way they think. This has been shown through many great historical figures. For example, Mahatma Gandhi was forced to be a political subject under the rule of political leaders, and was persecuted because of his thoughts and actions. Throughout his hardships he persevered, and did not let anyone control his thoughts and his mind.

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It is these of people who make a difference in this world. It is these people who endure during hardship.

The idea of the receptacle idea of education was best displayed in my high school government class. The teacher was a radical man, with some very strange ideas and thoughts. For example, he believed that our government today is very corrupt, and that all politicians are evil people. Furthermore, he believed that we should all view government from a his angle, and all have this same corrupted view of our government system. This is an example of where education produces political subjects. He was trying to create students that would go out into the world with the same viewpoints as he did, and turn out exactly the way he did. Education, according to Freire, was not created for the purpose of creating political subjects who do not, and cannot think for him or herself. Education was created to enlighten people to new ideas and concepts, to help us find our individuality, and ultimately to help us understand the world.
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