Via Curriculum Studies— Henry Giroux on Freire’s Lessons for Now!
Dec 1, 2010 … Lessons to Be Learned From Paulo Freire as Education Is Being Taken Over by the Mega Rich. Tuesday 23 November 2010. by: Henry A. Giroux, …
Henry Giroux has been really ranting lately, inspired by Paulo Freire’s work and thinking: especially “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” – and especially the “political” understanding of education in these times of politics bending toward money and power… and control of students’ thinking.
I mostly agree… but a good bit of Freire has disappeared in the name of politics being overtaken by economic analyses and control of the very nature of education.
Education in the Western world – perhaps most especially – is being attacked by the rich and lovers of the rich – who oppose the public schools, the teachers who tend to find solace and power in unions, life tenure, pensions, and all. Charter Schools, private schools. Blah! On public schools and on the public.
Even most liberals (Obama…so far anyway) have gone for control of teachers and teaching, supporting “No Child Left Behind” – presumably as ways to “success” for students. Do what I/we tell you, and how we tell you, and…!
Giroux’ hero – rightfully, but for at least some different reasons – has been Freire whose book has sold well over a million copies. But his ideas continue to be fragmented by the would-be powers – and his “methods” of education, particularly “dialogue” have apparently yielded to the anti-politics of Giroux invocating money – now controlling politics. “Critical pedagogy” is Giroux’s Freireian term for what is missing increasingly in the current war for our future: thinking and being.
Freire would get (especially poorer) students to study and understand the power and motivations which got them educated effectively to prolong and promote the power of the few – by not attending to the “banking” and “telling” methods which the rich and powerful imposed on most students.
“Learn what I tell you!” Never mind contexts and methods which effectively keep most students in their “proper” places: learn what I tell you – never mind the fact that I-the-teacher – am guarding the status quo by convincing you that this is “way” of the world – no questions asked. Just learn what I tell you, as efficiently as possible. It’s all politics… but the politics remain “hidden” and y’all don’t ask no questions! The world of the powerful remains “distant” and effectively hidden to the students. Increasingly efficient!
So much to agree with – especially in these times of attacks on schooling, teachers – especially as so many education systems of other countries seem much more “successful” than ours.
But much, so deep, is left-out… omitted from this particular if not exactly narrow analysis. Particularly people, persons – everyone: teachers and students – have no clear “presence” in this world. Presence: persons, thoughtful, development of the very nature of clarity over the course of the entire course, so it can enter students’ being… perhaps especially after the course is “over.”
Here I’m quoting Freire – who I invoke in my book and course: “Teaching as Dialogue.” Freire’s major way-out of the power-pinch is Dialogue. And most of the educators who Freire-ise education invoke the term: but apparently only a few of us seriously explore and apply dialogue in our teaching-being.
I want to “touch” the futures of my students – I would love to be “remembered” as “inspiring” their futures. But much about “me” – a person – much about them being and becoming who they would be. Mostly the Freireians don’t seem to be “present” – strong, memorable… characters…who “remain” some places in “their” students’ ongoing thinking.
(Can I be remembered, have power without being very “oppressive” in their thinking? Am I “good enough” to deserve having some presence in their lives? Or is this just a “different” route to power and control from the past: more than inspiring “my” students to study and develop their own personal framings of… power and control.) Whew! (If Socrates only realized that his idea of dialogue was always to know all the “answers” to his question-ing!)
So: enough to begin/continue the study of Freire, amidst the facts of his being still inspiring me, most days as I teach, and am a teacher. Growing with my memories and appreciations of his work and thinking.
But a “true” dialogue? – a lifetime pursuit… and then some.
Why do so many teachers invoke their anti-politics, even as they (don’t find themselves) don’t enrich their own teaching in the practicings of dialogue?