Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paolo Freire (1921-1997)

As the starting point of his theory, Freire choses the thesis " that humans are subjects in and with the world". According to him, consciousness is determined by the socio-economic and political context, and also by cultural conditioning through one's upbringing, education and religion. In other words, it is an interchange between economical and cultural structures.
In addition to that, he distinguishes the level of critical consciousness, which involves making connections with the socio-economic contradictions in society. That means looking at reality and recognizing such contradictions as a real fact.
The culture of silence is one of the most important concepts in Freire's theory. He explains that the oppressors overwhelm the oppressed with their values and norms, which effectively silences people. Therefore, in this scenario, critical consciousness must be developed in schools by educators who dare face these long term situations and make learners be aware of their own values and rights.
On the contrary, some thinkers state that Freire's ideas are utopical, and cannot apply to the present state of things. Social classes are strongly set, making the idea of equality almost impossible to occur. Nevertheless, it is our duty as teachers to educate people for freedom and responsibility to change the world towards fair opportunities.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Maria Montessori was the first woman physician in Italy. She worked very hard to achieve her goals. She started teaching children in 1907. Although the conditions were not the best, she found an alternative way to traditional teaching.
While working with her children, she realized that they learned using their senses, so she started to develop games and tools that allowed children to learn subjects like maths and language by using different materials.

Maria Montessori was a great educator and an incredible human being who believed in the human race and never gave up fighting the injustices of life. Having a sad and complicated life, she devoted herself to education.
Maria Montessori is a model to follow. The respect and admiration to other human beings, especially to children, is one of the things that surprised me the most. She is certainly one of those people who made a great impact on me. 

Friday, October 07, 2011

Freire is a brazilian educator who works with illiterates. He relates education to social issues such as racism, sexism and explotation of workers . It is very interesting his struggle: he wants the learners to be critical people who have freedom because they have learnt to liberate themselves from oppression. In order to empower learners, he considers dialogue and communication are essential tools.

When I read about Freire, I realized that what he asserts should be taken into account by teachers because helping learners to develop into independant self-regulated individuals must be a priority. If we help students to express themselves in a critical way, they will be able to modify the unfair society we are living in. That is why the activities that teachers plan must encourage creativity, freedom, criticism and social interaction. I have learnt that we should we aware of this when we work not only with adults, but also with teenagers and children.