Freire’s Pedagogy Of The Oppressed And The Philosophy Of Education
Freire (2000) emphasizes the importance of love, charity, reflection (critical thinking), humility and dialogue — which effects the “indivisible solidarity” — important for the oppressed to become the liberators of themselves (p. 90). If I were to apply Freire’s ideas about philosophy of education, including his ideas about “dialogue,” “critical thinking,” and the “indivisible solidarity,” my classroom would look radically different from what the typical classroom of today looks like. In fact — there would be no classroom at all. The world would become my classroom, and just as Socrates taught in the marketplace and made the world his classroom, so too would I return to this ancient practice of one of the greatest partakers of dialogue in human history and take myself and my students into the world where we could engage with reality and take serious critical thinking to the next level and apply ourselves to real-world concepts and real-world people, all while maintaining our efforts to achieve that transcendental aim of Freire’s philosophy of education, which is true enlightenment/liberation.
This may not seem like a practical application of Freire’s philosophy — but it is really the most faithful application of Freire’s philosophy. Freire (2000) asserts that “if I do not love the world — if I do not love life — if I do not love people — I cannot enter into dialogue … and that dialogue cannot exist without humility” (p. 90). To love the world, life, and the people in it, and to enter into dialogue with those people in order to better understand them and ourselves, it is essential to come into contact with them. And one cannot really come into contact with the world by building four walls and sitting inside them, which is what being in a classroom is all about. This raises the question: why have a classroom? Is it in and of itself not a method of control? So who is controlling the classroom and the teacher and the students? Is it not the oppressors? What happens if the classroom is liberated and the teachers and the students suddenly emerge into the streets, into the cold light of day, questioning this and that, as though emerging from Plato’s Cave for the first time and seeing the real sun and beholding it in wonder like a child? Is this not the best way to apply Freire’s philosophy of education? To enter into the world like a child once more and to raise the same childlike questions, which have most likely been forgotten by all of the millions of adults who think that the oppressive system in which they live is the one that must be and should always be? Getting rid of and out of the classroom altogether is the most fundamental and important aspect of Freire’s philosophy of education. Make the field your classroom — learn from experience: be part of the world and engage — but do so honestly and directly, like a child, without pretension, without guile, always alert for the truth of things.
But this is merely describing the physicality of the classroom and Freire intends for more than physicality to be re-examined. Yet, in this manner, the ideas that Freire insists upon can be put into practice: humility, for example. What is more humble than being like a poor Franciscan friar? That is how Socrates was in a way — but he was so social, polite, compelling and focused on truth and wisdom that he had many friends who became real allies and carriers of the flame. In this manner, the content of the “classroom” in which Freire’s philosophy is kept alive would be carried out into the world, so that the students can connect with one another and their surroundings, becoming “reflective” and transcendent in their dialogues with the outside world. This is what Freire (2000) means when he states, “It is absolutely essential…