Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paulo Freire

Section 14 Group 5
LorieAnne Rizzoch (Chapter 1)
Nicole Yorgensen (Chapter 3)
Heather Scarselli (Chapter 4)
Bernadette Van Riper (Chapter 2)

Chapter 1: Chapter one is all about the set up. There are two types of people, the oppressed and the oppressors. Or the rulers and the ones they rule over. There is a key understanding of the significant roles each party pla earn. Without the oppressed, the oppressors have nothing to rule over. Like on page 44, they have to earn freedom by conquest, it’s not a right to be born into like it is for people of our time. Try and imagine a society where everything was run for you and you had no choice in your life. How do you over come that, by taking over? They have to educated, and unite each other so as a whole they can overcome and pursue the right to be human and have freedom.

Chapter 2: Friere begins chapter 2 explaining a compare contrast of two methods describing the relationship between teacher and students followed by the outcomes. The first method the Friere describes in the banking method of education. The first definition he gives us is as follows –“Education becomes an act of depositing, the students as the depositories the teachers as depositors. This type of education is “suffering from narration sickness”. (p. 71) The banking concept of education brings us to a non-progressive world of dictatorship and power in the wrong hands, the hands of the oppressors. To the oppressors, describes this concept of education in that, “knowledge is a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those who are considered to know nothing.” (Friere, 72) The consequence becomes a stifling of progression and active learning in education as the more students accept this passive role the teachers impose on them. The students become more compliant to adapt to the world as it is and to the fragmented view of reality deposited by the teacher/oppressor.” (Frier p73) “Banking education anesthesizes and inhibits creative power.” This creates students who are empty vessels to be manipulated and controlled by the oppressors as we have experienced in our past history with examples such as the times slavery and rule of Hitler. In the allegory of the cave this concept is presented in which the cave dwellers have no concept of what reality of the outside world is. In this way students fail to become a generation of free thinking individuals who will strive enhance and surpass the aspirations so many strong leaders have fought for in our world. The oppressors conclude that the oppressed, the students, are ignorant, and with arrogance justify their own existence giving them unwarranted power. “Friere expresses this as a characteristic of the ideology of oppression, negates education and knowledge as inquiry.” (p72) Plato sums up this concept as he expresses in “The Republic," an image of ignorant humanity. As in “The Allegory of the cave”, the oppressed are trapped in the depths and not even aware of their own limited perspective.In contrast to this method, the next concept of education that Friere introduces is problem posing education. Plato would express this concept as, the way out of the cave. It introduces liberating education for students. “Problem posing education breaks the vertical patterns characteristic of banking education and the teacher and the student become “jointly responsible for a process in which both can grow.”(p. 80) This concept of education does not subdivide activity of teacher from student, but on the contrary, the educator constantly reforms his or her reflections to the reflections of the students. They create a level of knowledge together allowing the “students to feel increasingly challenged and obliged to respond to the challenge.” (p.81) The rare individual, who was once oppressed, escapes the limitations of that cave (escapes from the oppressors) and, through a long, tortuous intellectual journey, discovers a higher realm, a true reality.” Such a person is then the best equipped to govern in society, having a knowledge of what is ultimately most worthwhile in life and not just a knowledge of techniques” (Plato, Allegory of the cave). These techniques are described in the banking method as a way of teacher instruction to the alienated student. Through the problem posing method, the oppressed have a chance to become people who are willing to fight for a just world where all live in harmony, share ideals and decisions to create a united purposeful world. Friere concludes that “any situation in which some individuals, (the oppressors) prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence. To alienate human beings from their own decision making is to change them into objects.”(p.85) How can the oppressors consider themselves human while striving to prevent others from being so? Our past does not dictate our future. The past should be used as a clear path for individuals to contribute freely to better our nation as a whole. Our future is the way to strive for taking progressive steps forward. The times of people being subjected to domination and dictatorship should soon no longer exist. Friere explains this that people subjected to domination must fight for their emancipation. In this way it enables teachers to overcome authoritarianism , the students are no longer alienated and are able to freely engage in learning. This process leaves no longer allows opportunities to serve the interests of the oppressor.

Chapter 3: Chapter three. for the most part is all about interaction. Freire explains that dialogue is an encounter between men and women and is an act of creation, meaning that it must not serve for domination or forceful purposes. Any person who cannot acknowledge themselves as mortal (like everyone else, having no special powers) have a long road ahead of them before they can encounter dialogue. At the encounter there are only people learning together, attempting to learn more than they already know. Most importantly, true dialogue cannot exist unless critical thinking is involved, the dialoguers must engage in critical thinking together. Without dialogue, there is no communication and without communication there can be no education. Numerous political and educational plans have failed because of heavy concentration on personal views and lack of communication.
Humans exist in a world that is constantly changing and altering, allowing humans to be aware of themselves and other beings. For the reason that humans are concious beings, a relationship derives between the determination of limits and their own freedom. As humans seperate themselves from their own activites, execute their own decisions and test their relationships with others and the world, humans overcome the situations which limit them, "limit situations." Limit situations do not create barriers of hopelessness, but they are either fetters or slight barriers. Only human beings have the power to transform the source of knowledge and and creation, humans not only produce material goods, tangible objects but also social ideas, themes and concepts. Limit situations introduce people who are directly or indirectly served by certain situations and others who are curbed or switched by them.
People exteriorize their view of the world, the ways they think about and face the world can generative themes can be found. Generative themes are not characteristics found in humans, but found in the relationship between the human-world relationship. The more active an attitude humans take to investigate their themes, the more they open up their critical awarness to reality. Themes exist in people in people and their relationships with the world: themes take on much more meaning than any object or thing. It is very important that the emotions expressed by these themes are human aspirations, feelings and objectives. In order to understand these themes, one must understand the make up of the person and the make up of their reality. The interest and existence of themes leads to the investigation of them, a search for a common reality, common self awareness, common educational practices.
The investigation of these themes is not to psychologically examine an individual, but to develop a basis for an educational program, looking to examine relations between students and educators. A beginning basis for this investigationshould look into links between themes, concentration on conflicts and concentration on historical context. Both education and investigation must consist of communication and the common experience of reality. Education and thematic investigation come to play as different moments of the same process in the continuing hunt for perfect education practices.

Chapter 4:
In Chapter IV Freire discusses "the oppressed", "the oppressors", and the "Revolutionaries" in depth. The oppressed have different relationships with the oppressors and the revolutionaries. Freire believes that it is necessary to obtain communion in order to achieve transformation. The oppressors in this chapter are also known as Dominators, for the simple fact that they dominate the oppressed instead of helping them to achieve transformation. They do not want the oppressed to think for themselves for the selfish reason of keeping their own status in life. The ways that the oppressors keep the oppressed in this state are through conquest, dividing, manipulation and cultural invasion. These are all theories of antidialogical action. They use conquest in a way of controlling the lives of the citizens. They divide the people and deny unification. They manipulate them through myths and accomplish this by pacts between the dominant and dominated classes. And finally they maintain domination through cultural invasion in which the leader installs his own beliefs and standards into the citizens. In order to become liberated the oppressed group must form a unity although the dominators may show resistence. "To dominate , the dominator has no choice but to deny true praxis to the people, deny them the right to say their own word and think their own thoughts." (126) Revolutionaries unlike the dominators use dialogical methods in order to transform the oppressed. They have methods such as cooperation, unity for liberation, organization and cultural snythesis in order to achieve transformation. The citizens must show cooperation towards the revolutionary in order for a change. They must unify in order to reach liberation through a communion. They must be organized and have common goals and values in sight. Finally they must allow cultural snythesis, which is different from cultural invasion in the fact that it would benefit them to permit the revolutionary to learn and work with them. "In order to carry out the revolution, revolutionary leaders undoubtedly require the adherence of the people." (165)These are some of the theories of Friere which allow us to understand different societies. As Freire would say "We cannot say
that in the process of revolution someone liberates someone else, nor yet that someone liberates himself but rather that human beings in communion liberate each other." (133)

Key Passages:
Chapter 1:
“This then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well. […] Only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both.” (44)
“Dehumanization, which marks not only those whose humanity, has been stolen, but also (though in a different way) those who have stolen it, is a distortion of the vocation of becoming more fully human.” (44)

"Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest for human completion." (47)

“The pedagogy of the oppressed, as a humanist and libertarian pedagogy, has two distinct stages. In the first, the oppressed unveil the world of oppression and through the praxis of commit themselves to its transformation. In the second stage, in which the reality of oppression has already been transformed, this pedagogy ceases to belong to the oppressed and become a pedagogy of all people in the process of permanent liberation.” (54)

Chapter 2:
Education as the practice of freedom- as opposed to education as the practice of domination -denies that man is abstract, isolated, independent and unattached to the world: it also denies that the world exists as a reality apart from people. Authentic reflection considers neither abstract man nor the world without people, but people in their relations in the world. In these relations consciousness and world are simultaneous; consciousness neither proceeds the world nor follows it.

Through the teacher/student, student/teacher relationship as it applies to Problem posing education - The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teaches, but one who is himself taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being taught also teach. They become jointly responsible for a process in which all grow. In this process, arguments based on "authority" are no longer valid; in order to function, authority must be on the side of freedom, not against it. (p.80)

Problem Posing Education bases itself on creativity and stimulates true reflection and action upon reality., thereby responding to the vocation of persons as beings who are authentic only when engaged in inquiry and creative transformation. Problem posing theory and practice take the peoples historicity as their starting point. (p 84)

Banking theory and practice , as immobilizing and practicing forces, fail to acknowledge men and women as historial beings.

Chapter 3:

"It is an act of creation; it must not serve as a crafty instrument for the domiantion of one person by another. The domination implicit on dialgue is that the world by the dialoguers; it is conquest of the world for the liberation of humankind." (89)

"Only dialogue, which requires critical thinking, is also capable of generating critical thinking. Without dialogue there is no communication and without communication there can be no true education." (93)

"The oppressors are the ones who act upon the people to indoctrinate them and adjyst them to a reality which must remain untouched." (95)

"Thus, it is not the limit-situations in and of themselves which create a climate of hopelessness, but rather how they are perceived by women and men at a given historical moment: whether they appear as fetters or or as in surmountable barriers." (99)
"Real consciouness implies the impossibility of perceiving the untested feasibility, which lies beyond the limit-sitautions." (113)

"The important thing, from the point of view of libertarian education, is for people to become and feel like masters of their thinking by discussing the thinking and views of the world explicitly or implicitly manifest in their own suggestions and those of their comrades." (124)

Chapter 4:
"In order to dominate, the dominator has no choice but the deny true praxis to the people, deny the right to say their own words and think their own thoughts." (126)

"Denial of communion in the revolutionary process, avoidance of dialogue with the people under the pretext of organizing them, of strengthening revolutionary power, or of ensuring a united front, is really a fear of freedom. It is fear of or lack of faith in the people. But if the people cannot be trusted , there is no reason for liberation; in this case the revolution in not even carried for the people, but by the people for the leaders: a complete self- negation." (129)

"Every move by the oppressed towards unity points towards other actions; it means that sooner or later the oppressed will perceive their state of depersonalization and discover as long as they are divided they will always be easier prey for manipulation and domination. Unity and organization can enable them to change their weakness into a transforming force in which they can re-create the world and make it more human." (145)

Key Terminology:
Chapter 1:
Dehumanize: To deprive of human qualities, personality or spirit. This is how Freire describes the life of the oppressed.
Humanize: To adapt to human nature. The oppressed couldn’t live this life because they were forced to be something else, this is what they strived for.

Chapter 2:
Banking Concept of education: The teacher becomes the narrator and leads the students to memorize mechanically the narrated content. It turns them into "containers" or "receptacles" to be filled by the teacher. The more the teacher fills the receptacles, the better teacher she is. The more meekly the students permit themselves to be filled, the better students they are. This is the concept of education, in which the scope of action allowed to the students extends only as far as receiving, filing and storing deposits.

Problem posing education: The educator constantly reforms his reflections in the reflection of the students. The students are no longer docile listeners but are now co-investigators in dialogue with the teacher. The teacher presents the material for the students for their consideration, and reconsiders her earlier considerations as the students express their own. (p. 80-81)

Education - is thus constantly remade in the praxis. In order to be it must become. (p.84)

Chapter 3:

Dialogue: A conversation between two or more individuals. An interaction between two or more people involving speaking, talking, or physical gestures.

Didactic: To instruct, inform or teach a moral lesson.

Epoch: An extended period.

Indoctrinate: To teach the beliefs and doctrines of a particular group.

Limit: Something that restraints or confines.

Chapter 4:
Praxis:"Revolutionary is a unity, and cannot treat the oppressed as their possession."(126)

Conquest: "The conqueror imposes his objectives on the vanquished, and makes of them his possession." (138)

Dividing: "As the oppressor subordinates and dominates the majority, it must divide it and keep it divided in order to maintain power." (141)

Manipulation:" By the means of manipulation, the dominant elites try to conform the masses to their objectives." (147)

Cultural Invasion:"Cultural conquest leads to the cultural inauthenticity of those who are invaded; they begin to respond to the values, the standards, and the goals of the invaders." (153)

Cooperation: "Cooperation, as a characteristic of dialogical action which occurs among subjects can only be achieved through communication." (168)

Liberation: "The leaders must dedicate themselves to an untiring effort for unity among the oppressed- and unity of the leaders with the oppressed- in order to achieve liberation." (172)

Organization: "Organization is not only directly linked to unity, but is a natural development of that unity." (176)
Cultural Synthesis: "In cultural syntheses the actors who come from another world to the words of the people do so not as invaders. They do not come to teach or transmit or to give anything, but rather to learn, with the people, about the peoples world." (180)

Guiding Questions

What actions would you take if you came to realization that you lived in an oppressed society?

What are the pros and cons of being a oppressor or revolutionary?