A Look at ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ by Paulo Freire

To many, Paulo Freire has changed their lives and perceptions on freedom and has brought a fresh perspective on personal liberation and acceptance of different conditions than those placed on them. As I read the book many questions arose in my head, one of them being about my own life and what has oppressed me so far; indeed, I live in a “free” country and have rights, but how true is this in real life?

In many ways my education was oppressive. I studied in a Catholic Roman private school were only females were allowed and most of the teachers were either women or nuns; in fact, probably the only male around us was the priest who gave our mass every Wednesday morning. My education was very rich and I had the opportunity to learn from philosophy to crafts, nevertheless, the freedom I had as a student was very minimal. Students’ opinions were not appreciated, diversity among ways of thinking and understanding information was considered unimportant and challenging teachers’ views was seen as disrespectful.

However, I now see my past learning experience as a model to be judge and use or dismiss according to the results provided. Currently, I have had the chance to diversify and have found very liberating to be able to change my studies and expand my knowledge; moreover, it has been a huge change from strict and disciplinary typo of schooling to one where open minded views and the possibility of self-choosing it’s the standard.

According to Paulo Freire: “Liberating education consists in acts of cognition, not transferrals of information”(Freire, P. 79). This is a statement I deeply agree with. As educators, we should strive for excellence and students’ love for learning but most of all make sure they can find concepts and discover on their own; personally, I believe the best lesson we can give our students is to always search for different possibilities and to put everything in context which would motivate them to investigate and find answers by themselves, as well as use their knowledge in different areas.

By following Freire’s ideas, I think that we can give a new perspective to those students who have lived in an environment where their ideas and dreams have not being supported or have been considered impossible. To my opinion, an educational revolution is needed in our current society due to the fact that our students are placing more importance on the profit they could gain from their studies and not in the knowledge they could gather from them. I think that the diverse demographics we have in the United States is a huge reason why is so difficult for some to have a more homogenous view on educational needs; nevertheless, all human beings deserve the opportunity to fulfill their own expectations and cultural differences should not get in the way of progress.

Is my personal belief, that oppression is coming from the pressure society is placing of students to get into fields that have more financial results than those that they consider important. In a society where consumption and acquisition of things have become the standard, is very difficult to place educational goals as a priority; moreover, it becomes into the path to follow and creates a distance between the student and the learning. Students should impose their desires over the economical possibilities a certain type of study may give him/her; through this, they will be achieving the inner freedom they need in order to become successful for themselves and find happiness in their knowledge.

Reference:

Freire, Paulo (1973). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: The Seabury Press.

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