Reflections on Teaching Pedagogy

Critical Pedagogy Theorist

“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.”

Paulo Freire

            The Critical Pedagogy educational model first gained the attention of scholars during the 1960s. This movement in educational thinking is based upon ideologies such as Marxism, feminism, and post-colonialism. A fiercely reflective branch, the Critical eye points towards the very foundations of education and how we know what we know. The movement grew alongside of the civil rights movement and the feminist wave of the 1960s. This was a time that people wanted change and to no blindly follow the status quo anymore.

            Paulo Freire was a Brazilian educator and philosopher most noted for writing, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” in 1968. He was a man who believed in curriculum as a praxis, in which education encompassed students lives inside and out of school, along with society as a whole. Education was not just a means to an end, but an experience and a way of achieving a better society for all. Freire believed that society was inherently unjust, and that education should be committed into action. It was the responsibility of the students, teachers, and society to make an even ground for every person. This model is very focused on the student as a learner, and thus plans must always be contextually shaped for each leaner and the environment. 

            In Freire’s quote, he speaks about reflecting on the institutional systems that we have in place today, and the way it effects different people. Our society today is built on the success of some and the oppression of others, and ignoring this will not make it go away. It should be no surprise that our schools were built to reflect the values of our society. Sexism, Racism, Colonialism, Ableism, and many other isms are intertwined with the branches of our educational institute. When Freire speaks of conflict between the powerful and the powerless, he is speaking of those who are oppressed and finally fighting back. While some may say politics have no place in school, may not be reflecting on the system enough. School is politics. School is the place that socializes children in order to understand how the world works.

            While the many forms of ism are not directly taught, they are taught through the hidden curriculum and implanted into students subconscious. When a teacher refuses to communicate about these issues within the school branch, they are uplifting structures already in place. There is no such thing as being “neutral” in shaping the younger generations minds. We either deal with the problems within our schools, or subconsciously tell students that those oppressed should stay that way.

24 January 2019

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