Sunday, November 28, 2010

Paulo Freire: A Quick Reflection


Copyright © 2002 José Cossa

Freire’s Pedagogia do Opremido is a political and educational treatise that aims at presenting a challenge to educational systems that embraced any sort of dominant consciousness.  I concur with Freire’s argument that there is a type of education that aims at perpetuating a state of domination of one group over another because schools are a vehicle of cultural and ideological transfer and the methods used to ‘educate’ are reflections of the agendas of the system of education – This we saw in colonial times and, if we scrutinize today’s society we will soon learn that this characteristic is still prevalent.

Freire’s argument against banking education presents a weapon of defense for the oppressed, if liberation is desired.  I agree that adopting the method of banking education reflects one’s attitude of superiority over another because if one did not think of other humans as inferior then the attitude would be that of co-learning rather than imposition on the premise of other’s need to learn some sort of objective reality.

I could not help but think that Freire reaction could have been an adequate response to speeches by Antonio Salazar (1967) against the liberations and wars in the Portuguese colonies.  The loss of Brazil had become worrisome for Portugal and Salazar was campaigning to protect the remainder of the colonies, i.e., Mozambique and Angola; While Salazar ‘promoted banking education’ as a means of preserving Portuguese sovereignty, Freire proposed the contrary.

The pedagogical method proposed by Freire, liberation education based on problem-posing methodology, is for me an adequate model to allow universal participation in the knowledge arena; however, this will always constitute a challenge because systems of education carry ideologies of the dominant class, whether such a class is easily recognizable or not.  In the case of independent states we can testify to the cyclical nature of this process where education was once of a banking nature during colonial rule, then claimed as a liberating force, and eventually returned to a banking nature when used to promote ideologies of the ruling parties.  I must say that, indeed, one’s freedom can become one’s bondage – when the oppressed reaches the state of consciousness must be careful not to become oppressive to others.  Freire’s pedagogy is for all humans who believe in the dignity and historicity of other humans.
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