A Pedagogy for Liberation: Dialogues on Transforming Education

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 1987 - Education - 203 pages
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Two world renowned educators, Paulo Freire and Ira Shor, speak passionately about the role of education in various cultural and political arenas. They demonstrate the effectiveness of dialogue in action as a practical means by which teachers and students can become active participants in the learning process. In a lively exchange, the authors illuminate the problems of the educational system in relation to those of the larger society and argue for the pressing need to transform the classroom in both Third and First World contexts. Shor and Freire illustrate the possibilities of transformation by describing their own experiences in liberating the classroom from its traditional constraints. They demonstrate how vital the teacher's role is in empowering students to think critically about themselves and their relation, not only to the classroom, but to society. For those readers seeking a liberatory approach to education, these dialogues will be a revelation and a unique summary. For all those convinced of the need for transformation, this book shows the way.
 

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Pedagogy comes from ancient Greek paidagogos – a slave who supervises the education of slave children in the trade they were directed. The word paidia refers to children. The Latin derived its word pedagogy from Greek meaning – ‘education’ which is much more widely used in modern context – also meaning the study of being a teacher or process of teaching.
The content of conversational mode of this book makes it an interesting read in terms of an elder guru (Freire) educating a younger learner (Paulo) with guru keeping an open mind to learn. My problem with the book comes with the rhetoric of empty talks, empty words – magniloquence to say the least.
Under the framework of pedagogy, trying to fit different concepts – in this case Liberation – Freire stretches imagination to extremes. Liberation of subjects and objects – as referred by Freire where he does not seem to move beyond that clause of a teacher and pupil - disturbs.
Freire - partly successful implementation in Brazil in opening multiple children schools, imprisonment, invited and respected worldwide - lead to theorizing and cuddling to the concept of Pedagogy for next 20 years, without self-criticism on the narrowness of reach of pedagogy – does not shows openness, nor shows a scientific insight to progress. I understand that the contextualization of all theories of Freire happened in South America with a flourished criticism of religious Church affiliations under the Marxist influence. It was lapped up by North American liberal educationalist with the freshness of Freire’s innovating concepts around consciousness, oppression, culture, freedom – moving from the realm of outer world of education (1967) to the inward world of heart (1990) – shows a unique quality few possess – surely it showcases evolution of Freire’s thoughts. But the whole process is not over. Friere died in 1997. In history, Freire will be remembered as a footnote on bringing concept ‘pedagogy’ to forefront. But since Freire first wrote his views till he died and beyond that - when this review is written after more than a decade after his death – the world has moved ahead from pedagogy to andragogy and will move ahead further in coming years with new philosophies.
One with intellect is not the least to be zapped by words – spoken or written. How can one hold on a position of an open teacher (subject) – ready for change and listening to pupil (object) and using conversation to teach beyond moving from the box of teacher-pupil? I find that overtly intellectualizing – leaning to stupidity. The conversations suffer from lack of direction, and dialogues seem disconnected.
I read few other writings of Freire and found that he indulges in palaver rhetoric in language replete with academic abstractions and newly coined expression - time and again - a self serving egoist hobby of elite male urban intelligentsia. I think that is the reason he sounds so patriarchal and sexists with ‘I know’ cogito ergo sum. His talks are uni-directional – unmoving in its sense of growth through time - thus “Un-liberating”! True Liberation does not come with practices or theories. Liberation survives only by de-evolving everything contributing to the essence of liberation.
Putting things into perspective helps – just for example - today’s fad of everyone around democracy; without realizing that in 3524 AD world would be crazy about some other cult word “helunderought” to keep themselves occupied and busy with new philosophies, theories, writings, debates and discussions.
Just because one is able to talk, speak and write with conviction does not make the content interesting or true. Through this review anyone’s quest of knowledge should be to not take authority, reputation and higher knowledge base as something neoteric.
Yes, good to read books - it is part of understanding what humans are able to put forward in terms of a thoughts. Not necessary that human thought is un/helping the earth to move faster or slower, or a sun to rise or
 

Contents

The Dream of Liberating Education
1
Rigor and Motivation in a Liberating Course
4
Modeling a Critical Theory of Knowing
7
The Politics of Reading
10
The Myth of ValueFree Learning
12
How Can Teachers Become Liberating Educators?
17
A Trip Towards Liberating Education
21
Resistance and Support
24
Starting With Reality to Overcome It
106
Empowerment Is A Social Act
108
Class and Empowerment
111
The Teacher as Artist
115
Do FirstWorld Students Need Liberating?
121
A Culture of Sabotage
123
The Limits of Education
129
Beyond the Limits of Education
133

Teachers Learn With and From Students
30
Liberating Methods Reveal Dominant Ideology
35
Education in Movements and Communities
38
Lecture versus Discussion Formats
39
TeacherTalk versus Dialogue Domination versus Illumination
44
Dialogue and Subject Matter
48
What Are The Fears And Risks Of Transformation?
53
Limits and Lessons
57
Acting In Spite of Fear
60
The Fear of Student Resistance
67
Is There Structure and Rigor in Liberating Education?
75
Democratic and Directed
79
Understanding versus Memorizing
87
Freedom and Limits in a Liberating Classroom
90
TeacherStudent Differences
92
What Is The Dialogical Method?
97
Dialogue and Situated Pedagogy
103
Schoolwords versus Reality
135
How Can Liberating Educators Overcome Language Differences With The Students?
143
Abstract versus Concrete Speech
147
Transforming the Academic Idiom
152
The Teachers Directive Responsibility
156
The Inductive Moment in Critical Discourse
158
Humor in Dialogue
161
Facing Racism and Sexism in a Dialogic Class
163
The Dream Of Social Transformation How Do We Begin?
171
The Right To Challenge Inequality and Domination
174
Invitation Not Manipulation
176
A Practical Agenda For Day One
180
Making the Future Possible
184
Resources for Transformation
189
INDEX
193
Copyright

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Page v - The school is not a neutral objective arena; it is an institution which has the goal of changing people's values, skills, and knowledge bases.
Page v - Among schools there was one important difference, which followed from a single variable only: the social class of the student body. If the school principally served poor adolescents, its character, if not its structure, varied from sister schools for the more affluent. It got so I could say with some justification to school principals, Tell me about the incomes of your students' families and I'll describe to you your school.

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