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Renat Shiryaev
Renat Shiryaev

Pedagogy Of The Oppressed ((HOT))

Dedicated to the oppressed and based on his own experience helping Brazilian adults to read and write, Freire includes a detailed Marxist class analysis in his exploration of the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized. In the book, Freire calls traditional pedagogy the "banking model of education" because it treats the student as an empty vessel to be filled with knowledge, like a piggy bank. He argues that pedagogy should instead treat the learner as a co-creator of knowledge.[1]

Pedagogy of the oppressed


In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire expresses a maturing Marxist-influenced analysis of the political nature of education that clearly places literacy and critical education within the context of the struggle of the oppressed to go beyond capitalist modernization and toward a revolutionary transformation.[4]

Freire states that once the oppressed understand their own oppression and discovers their oppressors, the next step is dialogue, or discussion with others to reach the goal of humanization. Freire also highlights other events on this journey that the oppressed must undertake. There are many situations that the oppressed must keep wary about. For example, they must be aware of the oppressors trying to help the oppressed. These people are deemed falsely generous, and in order to help the oppressed, one must first fully become the oppressed, mentally and environmentally. Only the oppressed can allow humanity to become fully human with no instances of objectification.

Chapter 3 is used to expand on Freire's idea of dialogue. He first explains the importance of words, and that they must reflect both action and reflection. Dialogue is an understanding between different people and it is an act of love, humility, and faith. It provides others with the complete independence to experience the world and name it how they see it. Freire explains that educators shape how students see the world and history. They must use language with the point of view of the students in mind. They must allow "thematic investigation": the discovery of different relevant problems (limit situations) and ideas for different periods of time. This ability is the difference between animals and humans. Animals are stuck in the present unlike humans who understand history and use it to shape the present. Freire explains that the oppressed usually are not able to see the problems of their own time, and oppressors feed on this ignorance. Freire also presses the importance of educators not becoming oppressors and not objectifying their students. Educators and students must work as a team to find the problems of history and the present.

Freire lays out the process of how the oppressed can truly liberate themselves in chapter 4. He explains the methods used by oppressors to suppress humanity and the actions the oppressed can take in order to liberate humanity. The tools the oppressors use are termed "anti-dialogical actions" and the ways the oppressed can overcome them are "dialogical actions". The four anti-dialogical actions include conquest, manipulation, divide and rule, and cultural invasion. The four dialogical actions, on the other hand, are unity, compassion, organization, and cultural synthesis.[1]

In his 1989 book Life in Schools, Peter McLaren emphasized that the teacher's politics are foundational to the pedagogy articulated in Freire's book.[11] Building on McLaren, others said that the fourth chapter is the lynchpin holding the project together, and that the emphasis on the first two chapters severs Freire's method from his ideology and his politics from his pedagogy. The reasons for its neglect stem from the chapter's explicit concern with the revolutionary party and leadership, which Derek R. Ford argued flows from the Leninist conception of the party.[12] Tyson Lewis similarly said that "Freire himself clearly saw his pedagogy as a tool to be used within revolutionary organization to mediate the various relationships between the oppressed and the leaders of resistance."[13]

In 2006, Pedagogy of the Oppressed came under criticism over its use by the Mexican American Studies Department Program at Tucson High School. In 2010, the Arizona State Legislature passed House Bill 2281, enabling the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction to restrict state funding to public schools with ethnic studies programs, effectively banning the programs. Tom Horne, who was Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction at the time, criticized the programs for "teaching students that they are oppressed".[17] The book was among seven titles officially confiscated from Mexican American studies classrooms, sometimes in front of students, by the Tucson Unified School District after the passing of HB 2281.[18]

Pedagogy of the Oppressed is one of the foundational texts in the field of critical pedagogy, which attempts to help students question and challenge domination, and the beliefs and practices that dominate.

A revolutionary leadership must accordingly practice co-intentional education. Teachers and students (leadership and people), co-intent on reality, are both Subjects, not only in the task of unveiling that reality, and thereby coming to know it critically, but in the task of re-creating that knowledge. As they attain this knowledge of reality through common reflection and action, they discover themselves as its permanent re-creators. In this way, the presence of the oppressed in the struggle for their liberation will be what it should be: not pseudo-participation, but committed involvement.

In one sense, Freire's philosophy of history supplies grounds for hope, especially for oppressed peoples. "[D]ehumanization," he counsels, "although a concrete historical fact, is not a given destiny but the result of an unjust order." On the other hand, this perspective may lead to despondency and anguish when oppression seems to have the upper hand. What if man's historical vocation were not liberation, but enslavement? A terrible thought. "[T]o admit of dehumanization as an historical vocation," writes Freire, "would lead either to cynicism or total despair." In that case, "the struggle for humanization...would be meaningless." Freire thus places a great burden on his readers as agents of history. The task is one of painful struggle. The results are uncertain.

The first stage of education thus begins with an awakening awareness that oppression is in fact man-made, unjust, and transformable. It ends with the success of the revolution. The second stage might be described as the "post-revolution," except that Freire takes a rather dynamic view of revolution according to which "there is no absolute 'before' or 'after,' with the taking of power as the dividing line." However that may be, once power has been taken, the goal of education ceases to be liberation from oppression, since the oppressor-oppressed contradiction will have then been transcended. The goal, rather, is communal struggle against persistent ideas that limit human freedom.

Because the oppressors will be bent on maintaining their status, they can never take part in the changes that must occur; only the oppressed can bring about change. The situation of oppression is "a dehumanized and dehumanizing totality affecting both the oppressors and those whom they oppress," but it is only "the latter who must, from their stifled humanity, wage for both the struggle for a fuller humanity." "Only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed," he adds, "will be sufficiently strong to free both" the oppressed and their oppressors.

Freire wrote his book at a particular time with a particular set of oppressed people in mind. He knew what oppression was because he witnessed it firsthand. Freire himself suffered from poverty and hunger during the Great Depression and was imprisoned for 70 days in Brazil after the 1964 coup. But Freire's book is not read today by people who suffer from the same kinds of oppression that Brazilian agricultural laborers suffered during the mid-20th century. Rather, it is read by American college students and their teachers who, if they suffer from oppression at all, suffer from something less physical and more subtle than what Freire had in mind.

Another problem with Freire's teaching is that, while it aims at eliminating alienation, it can only increase it. Indeed, an explicit goal of Freire's pedagogy is "the overcoming of alienation" by making the world fit for liberated human beings. But Freire's method of combating alienation is to "confront reality critically, simultaneously objectifying and acting upon that reality." To "objectify" means to distance oneself from, to take a critical attitude toward, to see the world as an object different from, or alien to, the subject that is "I." In other words, "to objectify" means "to alienate."

What about their comrades, though? Don't the oppressed enjoy genuine relationships with those who stand by their side and assist them in the fight against oppression? Not really. While Freire does insist on the importance of community, he simultaneously isolates the individual in his vocational labors. On the one hand, the "pursuit of full humanity...cannot be carried out in isolation or individualism, but only in fellowship and solidarity." Yet on the other hand, no one can be liberated by another, no one can receive independence "as a gift"; one must earn it for oneself. This leads Freire to his paradoxical position that "I cannot think for others or without others, nor can others think for me." This is a strangely isolating and impossible teaching. Each of us has a vocation that only we can achieve for ourselves. It cannot be accomplished by others, nor yet without others. Freire may recognize the need for solidarity and comradeship, but he describes us as fundamentally alone.

But while both humanization and dehumanization are real alternatives, only the first is the people's vocation. This vocation is constantly negated, yet it is affirmed by that very negation. It is thwarted by injustice, exploitation, oppression, and the violence of the oppressors; it is affirmed by the yearning of the oppressed for freedom and justice, and by their struggle to recover their lost humanity. 041b061a72


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