Week 4 Lecture Notes, January 22 , 2014
• Freire gives us a conceptual foundation in critical pedagogy.
What Does ‘Critical’Mean?
• It’s not the same as being negative.
• To reveal what is hidden.
• Seeks a positive transformation of society.
• To create equality, fairness, justice and inclusion.
• To fight oppression, violence and unfairness.
What Does ‘Pedagogy’Mean?
• Greek “to lead the child”.
• Dictionary definition: “The art, science or profession of teaching”.
• So what is critical pedagogy?
• Born and educated in Brazil.
• One of the most influential educators of the twentieth century.
• Taught literacy to Brazilian peasants.
• Taught at Harvard and in Europe.
• Founder of “critical pedagogy”.
Work in Brazil:
• Worked with peasants in Brazil.
• Professor of philosophy.
• Held senior government positions.
His views were very controversial and he was thrown in prison and then exiled.
• His views are still met with hostility today.
Pedagogy of the Oppressed:
• His most famous book.
• Sold almost a million copies.
• About how education can change the relationship between the oppressor and the
o Why education is important.
• Advocate for new relationship between the teacher, student and society.
Education is Political:
• Like constructivism.
• It’s easy for a teacher to overlook the political aspect of education when only focused on
one student, or class. • But education is always political:
o Teaching is never neutral.
• Education is a political act and always has a political impact.
• Schools recreate inequality in society.
Freire believed schools recreate problems.
• Recognize that schools may promote inequality and exclusion even when they seem to be
• Ideology in schools seems like common sense, what is ‘normal’?
o Most effective when invisible.
Freire’s Conception of Education:
A. To promote political awareness among the oppressed, poor and illiterate.
B. To promote political liberation for the oppressed, poor and illiterate.
• Similar to John Locke (review overhead from last week).
• ‘Depositing’knowledge into students heads.
• Knowledge always flows in one direction, from the top down (teacher to student).
• Turns students into passive containers to be filled.
• Portrays the world as frozen and unchangeable.
o Everything is as it is.
• Education must reproduce the world as it is.
• “This is just the way the world is”.
• Reality is said to be “motionless, static, compartmentalized and predictable”.
• To encourage the oppressed to submit to power by conditioning them to believe that they
don’t have the ability to change their world.
• Goal: to immobilize and dis-empower oppressed people.
o Start with making passive, make them accept inequalities in life.
Passive students = passive population.
• Critiques “banking” approach.
• The teacher is also a student.
• The student is also the teacher.
• The teacher is the one who is taught.
• The student is the one teaching.
• Creation of a “student-teacher” and “teacher-student”.
• Both are jointly responsible.
• Questioning relationship.
• Both are co-investigators and co-creators: