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Paulo Freire and critical pedagogy

Published: 2017.05.15 - 15:59:58   /  /  Miguel Darío García Porto  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

Paulo Freire and critical pedagogyThere are times when you read and the ideas expressed in that reading are so revealing that they remain engraved in your heart and in your mind forever, and that happened to me with the educational philosophy of the Brazilian expert on issues of education: Paulo Freire.

This influential twentieth-century education theorist pointed out that: "Study is not measured by the number of pages read in a night, nor by the number of books read in a semester. Studying is not an act of consuming ideas, but of creating and recreating them", and later he would go deeper into this same conception: "Knowledge does not lie in 'accumulating knowledge', but in learning through critical awareness.

Two decades later, on May 2, of his death in São Paulo, Brazil, since he died in 1997, one continues to question and rethink the educational methods that are still used in the world and Freire’s proposal in that respect.

His pedagogical thinking continues in our day and calls the educational systems to a relevant transformation.

Critical pedagogy - a system proposed by the eminent Brazilian teacher - has been considered today to be the new path of pedagogy, one in which the two parties involved are invited to build society from the awareness of social problems, which we live daily and they directly and indirectly affect the classrooms.

The author argues that education in each country must become a political process, each subject makes politics from any place where they are, and the classroom cannot be indifferent to this process.

The teacher must be the entity that leads the learners to think about the society in which they are developing their learning process, they must build from the previous knowledge that these lead to the classroom, as they are a visible and reliable reflection of social realities.

For their part, the learner must build knowledge as a political act, from the relationship with the teacher and other learners in the classroom, to pass from being passive social beings to active, critical and thinking social beings of the society in which they are involved.

Paulo Freire in his book "Pedagogía del oprimido" criticizes the education that takes the learners as recipients, in which knowledge will be deposited. This type of education he referred to as bank or traditional pedagogy of the oppressors, since the educator is the only possessor of knowledge and it is they who will transmit the knowledge to the students, in such a way that they become passive subjects and therefore in oppressed subjects. Instead of communicating, the educator makes communications, mere incidents, receives patiently, memorizes and repeats.

As part of this type of teaching, one of the activities that the teacher usually develops is the narration and he tells us that: "Narration, whose subject is the educator, leads the learners to the mechanical memorization of the narrated content. Moreover, the narrative transforms them into 'vessels', in containers that must be 'filled' by the educator. The more you fill the containers with their deposits, the better educator will be. The more they are allowed to 'fill' docilely, the better educated they will be."

Freire considered that banking education should change to an education with a critical view of the world we live in, since it does not allow the awareness of the reality and the liberation of the students and only serves the ruling or oppressive class.

At present, it is considered that his contributions on critical literacy emancipation or critical pedagogy are an obligatory reference in the new sociocultural approaches to reading and writing in the contemporary world, and an essential reference to the type of education we want.

Paulo Freire’s key principles

• It is necessary to make a pedagogy about the question. We are always listening to a pedagogy of response. Teachers answer questions students have not asked.

• The act of writing involves rethinking, innovating and transforming.

• My vision of literacy goes beyond ba, be, bi, bo, bu. Because it implies a critical understanding of the social, political and economic reality in which the literate is.

• Teaching requires respect for knowledge of learners.

• Teaching requires listening.

• To say the true word is to transform the world.

• We all know something. We all ignore something. That is why we always learn

• Culture is not exclusive attribute of the bourgeoisie. The so-called "ignorant" are educated men and women who have been denied the right to express themselves, and are therefore subjected to a "culture of silence".

• Literacy is not learning to repeat words, but to speak your word.

• Education does not change the world, it changes people who are going to change the world.

• I never accepted that educational practice should be limited only to reading the word, to reading the text, but it should include reading the context, reading the world.

• Every educational event is a political act.

• You cannot teach love. The only way to teach love is to love. Love is the ultimate transformation.

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