Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pedagogy of Freedom

Pedagogy of Freedom, written by Paulo Freire was published in 1998 and is by many considered to be his most important book after the Pedagogy of the Oppressed . The book is based on the needs which the world has to learn a new, more communicative way to construct educational theory. Freire challenges the readers to reach for new and unused opportunities. He explores in the book both ethics and democracy, and describes how these can trigger solutions for those who have been exploited, humiliated, indignated and threatened into silence. 

 He speaks of an "Ideology of Freedom" in a world characterized by globalization which Freire considers to be a threat to culture as we know it today, and by massmedia that operates with a hidden manipulation in the world. Beneath the surface of the book is still a strong undercurrent, as in all his books, about passion, love and care.Already in the first chapter, he speeks quite clearly about education. He argues that there is no teaching without learning. If students do not learn, it is the teaching that there is something wrong with, not the students. Teachers have a methodical stubbornness to teach in a way that make them feel safe, not in the way that gives students the best learning. Every teacher must start where the student is not where he / she is. He says that being a teacher, is full of risk, since the teacher must accept what is new, while rejecting what seems discriminatory and exclusionary. Instructional goals should be to build up a critical reflection on practice among students.

Then he goes on in the second chapter that teaching is not about the automatic transfer of knowledge. Teaching is a formative process in which the focus has to be on a recognition of a legitimate respect for the student's independence (autonomy). The teacher must focus on what is unfinished within the student and that both student and teacher are always underway. The education system must show a respect and tolerance towards tha fact that students fight for the right to have meaningful education (ie learning). The teacher should not focus on transferring knowledge from a book to the student, but develop students' ability to perceive reality as it is. This must be done, says Freire through joy and hope, and with the conviction that change is always possible both in individuals ans in society. The most important thing a teacher can do, is to arouse students' curiosity. A teacher can not really teach a student anything, just create conditions which make the student curious about and develop an ability to perceive reality (ie learning something about reality).

Freire is in chapter three concerned about teaching not being a metaphysical magical stunt, but a normal human action characterized by generosity from the teacher. This requires the teacher to listen to the students and have an openness to dialogue while also showing loving care for the students.The formation of education is scientific when students understand the link between theory and practice through a process where the assumption is that the individual in every way is always unfinished. We are all walking along the same way. Education should always be objective, but Freire argues that all objectivity has an element of subjectivity. Education must therefore be dialectical, with an interaction between the objective and subjective.

A more humane society, which Freire is constantly concerned about, is not just about having a job, enough food on the table, and adequate housing. It must also include a cultural freedom, an opportunity for individuals to choose their own values ​​and rules of conduct that are contrary to common social norms, require participation in the political and civil society to demand full participation of all citizens in all parts of society through all phases of life. All citizens in a society must be educated to be curious so that they not only ask "why" but also "what" questions. The foundation stone of the whole educational process is curiosity. A student who has reached this goal is ready to for power in society, which after all, says Freire in his book, the goal of any education agency.

Kaare T. Pettersen
Source: Freire, Paulo. 1998. Pedagogy of Freedom. Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Freedom. London: Rowman & Littlefield

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