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Pedagogy of the Oppressed

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Topics: Education, Teacher
In “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, Chapter 2, Paulo Freire is contrasting different educational processes. Freire discusses his beliefs of how modern education is forced by the state onto students and the greater public, as a violent oppression. The ruling elite’s attempt to moderate the student and population at large, by controlling their thoughts and culture through a process of instruction of an ideal perception of reality that they preconceived for the oppressed. Freire’s way of explaining this course of oppression is seeing educators as a banking concept, were the objects, ideas, and actions that make up the views of the ruling elite are deposited into the student from the teacher. He describes the banking concept as promoting a strict dichotomy and thus reactionary regime between two poles. In his problem-posing scenario the teacher and the student interact with a free flow of ideas, around and around, coming to an understanding of reality together. Student and teacher constantly change roles; student, teacher, teacher, student, and on and on. Teaching and taught co-join allowing the student to self-educate themselves on the exact nature of a universal reality and become revolutionary in life being able to cause reality to change around them to become what they want rather than accepting life as presented to them by the oppressors.
Freire is promoting a concept of education that is recurring in its relationship between teacher and student, where they are not only interchangeable, but also coexisting. The teacher learns from the student while simultaneously teaching, and the student does the same. Their new view of reality is coauthored and continuously expanding, though still individual to themselves as additional to their own historic reality. Freire’s belief is that depositing a state sponsored view of reality formulated by a ruling elite is oppressive and violent, and ultimately subjugates the student into a subservient class to the elite. Liberation from the oppression of the elite and the banking concept, education is achieved by revolution caused by his process of problem-posing education. In the new relationship between student and educator, reality becomes part of the student and teacher, no longer separated by an artificial construct of them and us, right and wrong, or good and bad. When fully immersed in reality with a full dialog between student and teacher based on logical deduction, both are able to affect reality and change their conditions to meet their desires rather than adjusting their ambitions to the demands of society and the ruling elite. Freire expresses this as consciousness within, around, and outside of the student/observer. The liberation that follows allows the student to create their own reality, in which includes valuation, determination, and humanism.
In any high school History class you can find that the idea of ‘the banking concept’ is quite believable. Certain people write the books that we must study, and in most cases we find only one side to the story, the side that makes America seem as if it does no wrong. Most teachers express their ideas of the past and we are forced to accept it, because most students don’t know any better. In these same classes we have students that challenge the teacher and open the views of all the students in the classroom, which allows a flow of may new ideas.

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