Saturday, October 24, 2015

Freire’s Empowering Education

Freire’s Empowering Education

Freire believes that education is not neutral and does not take place in vacuum; it takes place in the context of people’s lives. Freire maintains that we need to ask the following questions: Who does education serve and for what purposes? Does education encourage the students to become a social subject or the agent for social changes, or does it push them to become  an object or one who accepts restricted roles within the status quo. Does education just impose a fixed role or norm on the students or does it engage them in questioning the taken for granted that happen in daily life and participate in social and political life of the society. Freire essentially views education as the practices that invite the students to believe in themselves and their potential as a learner who already possesses some valuable knowledge.
Human liberation is Freire’s ultimate goal in educating people. He sees oppression as the inevitable theme in social and historical contexts. Thus, the oppressed should be liberated from the oppressor and their tools that exist within the status quo. In education, to help liberate the people, the teachers must not practice the “Banking education,” and should instead use a “dialogue approach” in which both the learners and the teacher participate as equals and colearners in constructing social knowledge. The group must engage in critical thinking by “posing problems in such a way as to have participants uncover root causes of their place in society– the socioeconomic, political, cultural, and historical context of personal lives. (Wallerstein & Bernstein, 1999, 56). Freire’s notion of empowering education is more than critical thinking in that the people or the learners must go beyond the perception of the above self and contexts; they must take social actions (praxis) that will help them overcome powerlessness and achieve control over their own lives.
Wallerstein, N. & Bernstein, E., (1999). Empowerment Education. in Shor, I & Pari, C. (1999). Education is Politics: Critical teaching across differences, K-12. NH: Boynton/Cook Publishers, Inc.
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