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.