Paolo Freire

’s Model Of Education Essay, Research Paper

Paulo Freire, and educator from Brazil, preached a style of learning that raised many questions and confrontations. He spoke of rising to the needs of the oppressed and our duty to give them the education they need to succeed. He believed in having the poor rise together and make themselves known. He saw it as the job of those who are educated to take to the impoverished and enlighten them by means of an equal, one on one relationship, where dialogue is stressed. He also saw the importance of venturing into the world and gaining life experience. All of these components represent the Freireian model of education, a style being noted by many top educators.

Freire’s model of education includes a structure involving stress being placed on the importance of dialogue. Freire believes that in the relationship between teacher and student, there needs to be an emphasis on a shared learning process instead of the typical lecture style many teachers use. Drawing from my own experience, I agree with Freire. Lessons in which there is some feedback wanted from the teacher by the students always give me a better understanding of the lecture at hand. If I were to sit in a classroom and be talked at, not only would I be annoyed, I would also gain less from the style of instruction. In the purely lecture style, the teacher is unable to correctly ascertain whether or not the students really understand the material since she/he is looking for no feedback from them. This style of teaching also prevents any sort of self-confidence to be learned from the lesson since students aren’t able to put forth their own thoughts and opinions on the subject matter.

I have had many teachers who desire their students to not just be able to spit back the information they are given in lectures, but to be able to understand the material to the point where they could manipulate it and apply it in ways other than the format the teacher presented. This is an excellent idea, however, if teachers simply talk to the students and ignore any feedback they might have, students are going to be unprepared when the time comes for them to manipulate that information. However, if teachers would lean more towards Freire’s model of an equal interaction between student and teacher, students would be more likely to have already had the opportunity to apply the information they’ve received and give it back to the teacher in their own words, helping them to understand it better.

Freire also places an emphasis on helping those who have been oppressed since he believes their education has been most ignored. He talks of how those who are poor, or plagued by oppression, should unite, since unity will help them achieve a sense of empowerment faster than their individual voices. Standing alone and trying to forge a new path towards enlightenment, one they’ve been denied for so long, would most likely only cause them more harm than good. It is only with the force of a group that they will achieve their goals, be noticed, and in turn benefit from the new found awareness society will have.

Freire realizes that his ideas are not understood by everyone when he says, “Workers also understand my work, as well as those who have some experience of oppression. But I acknowledge there might be a problem of cross-cultural translation with

U.S. readers.” He sees that those people in the United States that are above any oppression due to their social standing, find it hard to believe that there are people in this world who want an education but have been deprived of one. Instead, we as a society tend to perceive that those lacking in education must have given up the opportunity on their own and that any oppression they experience because of it is a direct result of their own foolish actions.

Although Freire’s theories on education are the cause of some confrontation between educators, he believes that his work makes the most sense. People learn better when they are feeling as if they are getting a sense of empowerment from the lesson, and that they aren’t being looked down upon. Freire found the best way to address this was to write his books for those that are highly educated, since they are the ones that hold the key to decide whether the minds of the oppressed will remain locked forever. He even says, “I did not write for the peasants but for those who can work with them. If a graduate student in education cannot read my books, then you cannot understand Sartre, Hegel, and not even Dewey. And your universities have to start all over again!” This simply implies that they ball is now in our court and if we continue to ignore the problem, those in need of education will be oppressed forever. Perhaps as a society we don’t understand what benefits we will achieve by educating those who have been “lost in the shuffle” so to speak. Since I am guessing that this number of oppressed is not a small margin, it is safe to say that our entire society would benefit by their being educated. Not only would their being educated benefit the economy, for obvious reasons such as more job opportunities and less unemployment, there is the chance that crime rates would drop. Since most crimes are committed by the impoverished or uneducated, if we were able to give these people substance and hope in their lives, they might be more likely to stray from crime and follow a straighter path.

Freire also is sure to include that a large number of his theories are developed from personal experience, that nothing he points out is simply another version of something you’d find in every education textbook. As he writes, “To understand my books you have to have experience with the people–not just with books! What I describe I did.” This is a very noteworthy aspect of his style of education to entertain. If someone were to emerge from their years of education only to find that any experience they can draw upon is from someone else’s narration of their individual experience, like in a book, then they will not really have the emotion to go along with the experience, or the hands on attitude that comes with facing a problem and having the relief of getting through it. In other words, without having really gone into the world and experienced life, one would still be seen as unsuccessful in Freire’s eyes, since only with a well balanced education along with life experience can one achieve success.

Although Paolo Freire worked mostly with the impoverished of Brazil, there is no question in my mind that his ideas are valid and could shed some hope in our own society. It is time we realize that education is the prime motivator for living a healthy, more meaningful life. If those of us who have the ability could take the time to help teach those in need, using a style like Freire’s that they would benefit from, there is surely going to be some positive changes in our society. Freire is seen as one of the greatest educators, and it is clear why. His ability to step away from the situation and look towards the ignored shed light on a subject that was in desperate need of attention.


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