Pedagogy of the Oppressor; the Baleful Influence of a Brazilian Marxist's Book

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 27, 2009 | Go to article overview

Pedagogy of the Oppressor; the Baleful Influence of a Brazilian Marxist's Book


Byline: Sol Stern, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

You might expect the required readings of U.S. teacher-training programs to contain good practical tips on classroom management or sensible advice on teaching, say, reading to disadvantaged students.

Instead, the one book that dominates reading lists in education courses is Pedagogy of the Oppressed by the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. The odd thing is that Mr. Freire's magnum opus isn't really about education - certainly not the education of children.

Mr. Freire's main idea is that the central contradiction of every society is between the oppressors and the oppressed and that revolution should resolve their conflict. The oppressed are, moreover, destined to develop a pedagogy that leads them to their own liberation. Mr. Freire never intends pedagogy to refer to any method of classroom instruction based on analysis and research, nor to any means of producing higher academic achievement for students. His theory of schooling refers only to the growing self-awareness of exploited workers and peasants.

One of Mr. Freire's few truly pedagogical points is his opposition to taxing students with any actual academic content, which he derides as official knowledge that serves to rationalize inequality within capitalist society.

He dismisses teacher-directed instruction as a misguided banking concept in which the scope of action allowed to the students extends only as far as receiving, filing and storing the deposits.

Mr. Freire proposes instead that teachers partner with their coequals, the students, in a dialogic and problem-solving process until the roles of teacher and student merge into teacher-students and student-teachers.

Pedagogy of the Oppressed resonated with progressive educators, already committed to a child-centered rather than a teacher-directed approach to classroom instruction.

Mr. Freire's rejection of teaching content knowledge seemed to buttress what was already the ed schools' most popular theory of learning, which argued that students should work collaboratively in constructing their own knowledge and that the teacher should be a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage. Mr. Freire reinforced another cherished myth of American progressive education: that traditional teacher-directed lessons left students passive and disengaged, leading to higher dropout rates for minorities and the poor.

During the last two decades, E.D. Hirsch's Core Knowledge schools have proved repeatedly not only that content-rich teaching raises the academic achievement of poor children on standardized tests, but also that those students remain curious, intellectually stimulated and engaged - although the education schools continue to ignore these successes.

Of course, the popularity of Pedagogy of the Oppressed wasn't due to its educational theory alone. During the 1970s, veterans of the student-protest and antiwar movements put down their placards and began their long march through the institutions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Pedagogy of the Oppressor; the Baleful Influence of a Brazilian Marxist's Book
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.