Tag Archives: Invisible hand

On Paulo Freire`s `From Pedagogy of the Oppressed`

Oppression? In my last blog I felt a strong need to understand, “What is oppression and who is being oppressed in education?” In my search to define this I read and discussed extensively Paulo Freire`s `From Pedagogy of the Oppressed.` Freire writes extensively about the "Banking Concept" in education (page 52-60) and about the oppressed. He explains that teachers should be revolutionary in their approach to teaching using a Problem-Posing approach to teaching (p. 59) where student and teacher exchange their roles consistently. Teacher becoming student and student becoming teacher and vice-verca solving problems together.. Freire feels that by forcing people to conform to a system rather than changing the system to encompass all people we, as educators, dominate and oppress the students. I separated Freires ideas into a Micro and Macro view. A Micro view could be taken from the teachers viewpoint (between teacher and student) and the Macro view from society as a functioning whole. The Macro View If we, as a society, all live in total liberation we eventually will live in anarchy. As a teacher to support anarchy would be to destabilise our own society. There is no complete freedom in a functioning society where people live in a safe environment and can pursue their own happiness. Third world countries can live in more liberation than we do in Switzerland, but does that mean I want to live there? No. So there is a collaboration in our system, they keep us safe and we still can live our lives in the most part the way we choose to. The Micro View Yes, I want to teach students to think for themselves using a problem-posing approach to teaching. This is teaching societies to evolve and not to stagnate by conserving what some have and what others do not. Teaching a society of people to evolve allows us to cooperatively and creatively collaborate and improve our living conditions.  Do we live under that pretense that all oppression is harmful? At first I thought that maybe the Swiss system oppresses foreigners by forcing them through an integration process in the school system but in actuality they are preserving a way of life, one that the majority of the people want to keep and evolve in a positive way without rebellion and excess welfare. No one says that a Slovakian, or any other foreigner, in the Swiss school system must forget his/her heritage, culture or history but they must learn to function in our system to live here. They have a choice today and can rise to any level they desire, or sink as they wish. The Invisible Hand (Adam Smith 1776) will drive the people to better themselves in capitalism where they are freer than in any other system we know today. References: Darder, A., Baltodano, M.P., and Torres, R. D.. (2009). The Critical Pedagogy Reader. New York: Routledge Freire, Paulo (1970). `From Pedagogy of the Oppressed` in The Critical Pedagogy Reader by Darder, A., Baltodano, M. and Torres, R. (eds.) (2009) New York: Routledge.