Pedagogy of the Oppressed

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Pedagogy of the Oppressed examines the struggle for equality and liberty within the educational system and proposes a new pedagogy. One of Paulo Freire’s fundamental arguments in Pedagogy of the Oppressed is that education is political. Freire describes a sharp difference between the two forms of education, both of which are explicit and intentional, education for “liberation” and education for “domestication”. Freire argues that oppression is not incidental to society but is integrated. Freire states, “The solution is not to integrate them into the structure of oppression but to transform that structure so that they can become beings for themselves” (48). Inequity, according to Freire, produces benefits for dominant groups through exploitation. Freire addresses the common practice of blaming the victim—the single parent, the homeless, refugees, etc. in order to provide a scapegoat. For these individuals, the solution is to somehow fix the structures that prevent them from becoming “beings for themselves”. Freire dismisses the idea that knowledge is simply a deposit and calls this notion of education “banking education”. Freire believes that knowledge has to be constructed and produced in dialogue and cannot simply be bestowed. If knowledge is to be liberating, Freire argues, it must be grounded in ways that incorporate experience and enables learners to actively take part in its construction. It seems to me as if the central concern in Freire’s work is the necessity for human agency. In order to obtain this, it is necessary for the educator to intervene in the student’s lives and guide them out of the “culture of silence” through dialogue. The idea is the following: The person who critically thinks and reflects is able to create himself or herself from the inside out. He or she is able to transform reality and liberate himself/herself from the oppression of traditional pedagogy. It is absolutely necessary, Freire argues, that the individuals, the

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