Monday, March 21, 2016

Paulo Friere's "Pedagogy of the Oppressed"



In Paulo Friere's "Pedagogy of the Oppressed", he illustrates a method of teaching in which an individual learns to grow from their cumulative experiences. Justin Wyllie's review of this work discusses Friere's background as an educationalist, and how his South American roots influence his views on the oppressed. In the beginning, Wyllie says, "While the revolutionary theory is Marxist the context is unmistakably South American" (Wyllie 1). He discusses Friere's approach and who he aims his attention at. 

He outlines the argument by addressing the overarching themes of the four chapters right up front. Chapter one dealing with the revolutionary background, the oppressed in relation to those who oppress, as well as the the pursuit of the oppressed over time. The second chapter highlights the educational approach that many oppressors choose. The third describes Friere's experience with the "educational programs with the rural poor in various South American countries". Lastly, the fourth chapter compares the two theories of 'antidialogical' and 'dialogical'. Antidialogical aims to suppress the anxiety of reality, and dialogical aims to aid in "the discovery of reality through critical thought and free communication" (Wyllie 1).

Wyllie quotes Freire and says "oppression and its causes objects of reflection by the oppressed...from that reflection will come their necessary engagement in the struggle for liberation". Wyllie says that this is a  "pedagogy for the revolution" (Wyllie 1).

Would Friere consider conventional educational methods to be oppressive? How would he begin to educate oppressed people in urban areas to educate them about their own situation while still being sensitive? Clearly poverty influenced Friere in a negative way and helped him to develop this theory, but how would he think differently if he was raised in  a different environment with different living conditions?

Although the famous image of the fist is generally one that represents power to the working class, I thought it would be interesting if I used the image to represent the oppression that the proletariat is subjected to. 

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