23 November 2011

Am Bobby Charlton

Still reading and re-reading the Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paolo Freire, a book that I find both fascinating and difficult.

Freire criticises what he calls banking education where pupils are treated as empty vessels to be filled up with facts: in the UK this is called teaching to the test. Despite claims to the contrary, since schools are judged by test results, that is the only teaching technique that is done. There are of course many different ways of teaching to the test but at heart, teaching to the test is what happens.

Freire explains that the banking method of education should be replaced with a problem-posing method of teaching; he goes on to explain that this pedagogy cannot work unless the relationship between pupils and teacher changes. Freire says,
"The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teaches, but one who is himself taught in dialogue with students, who in their turn while being taught also teach."

This is difficult to imagine but it is possible to see examples of this pedagogy. The most easily accessible example is the Hollywood film, School of Rock: read Pedagogy of the Oppressed and see the film.

The other example comes from Kes. Only fleetingly ... but it's there,

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Again, read the book and you'll see what I mean.

Lastly, it's curious that both of these examples of Freire's method are unwitting examples: I strongly suspect that neither authors of the films had ever heard of Freire. Yet the basis of some of the most dramatic scenes in the films - the empowerment of the individual - is at the heart of Freire's work.