Antonia Darder presents a portrait of why Freire’s work as an educator was so influential in creating an understanding of education as an art. Teaching truly became an art when educators like Freire began to understand the importance of education in the movement of social change. The presence of love in the classroom, the type of love that is lively, forceful, challenging, and inspiring was the type of love that Darder thought was a lasting influence that Freire had on the field.
She emphasized the conviction that Freire held in liberating students through education, he believed in the humanizing aspects of education.
Freire believed that education was the tool for contributing to the human-ness of our political and economic existence as social beings. The article says that, “Freire exposed how even well-meaning teachers, through their lack of critical moral leadership, actually participate in disabling the heart, minds, and bodies of their students –an act that disconnects these students from the personal and social motivation required to transform their world and themselves” (498).
The author argues that his greatest contribution to the field of education was his ability to be compassionate and his regard and concern for his students.
The articles that we read this week discuss the concept of fear, but more importantly the ability to overcome and use the fear as a powerful force in the classroom. He said that it is the fear of freedom that affects the educator and creates a barrier in the classroom from the liberating practices that many educators believe are important. The way he describes the fear of freedom is the fear of being free from the status quo, the fear of the oppressed classes to realize a freedom from the oppressing classes. Freire thought that the experience of fear was a symbolic fight against the struggle that the liberating educators believe in.
Freire said the experience of fear was important because it is a chance to recognize where the fear comes from, what it means, and how it can be used. He said that fear can be transformed into courage; the courage to make a move away from the status quo, our fear can be harnessed into a motivation. Teachers are affected personally by the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed; the dominant ideology has such an influence over the subordinate classes that it affects educators because of the fear that they hold within.
Freire’s experiences with oppression developed his political purpose, he wanted to create a liberatory practice to challenge the conditions that limit the capacity in the oppressed class to change the world and right the wrongs of social injustice. Freire hoped that educators would confront their fears and use their beliefs about the social structure to teach liberating lessons and influence the future. He thought the way for educators to teach the lessons in which they believed in was to work together, he believed in the power of solidarity to empower a political movement.
Freire wanted educators to network and work with one another to emancipate students from the social inequalities of our time, through networking they could empower one another and give force to their beliefs. Darder introduces the term praxis – she describes it as the union of action and reflection. The teacher needs to have the ability to practice both of these aspects of education; only through action and reflection of the importance of the act of teaching will the ideas of critical pedagogy be realized. Reflection: This article made me feel a little better about the issues that we have been reading about throughout this course.
The tone of most of the readings thus far has been negative and has made me feel pessimistic about the future of the educational system. The issues that our reading assignments have discussed seem to run so deep in our social consciousness that there is little hope in reversing the trends of social inequality. This fear makes becoming a teacher seem dismal; if all we have to hold onto on our road to teaching is the notion that the patterns of inequality are getting worse and the elites are becoming more powerful how are we as teachers supposed to do anything at all to help our students and ourselves.
I enjoyed this weeks reading selections because it brought a defining focus upon the fear that teachers experience and gave a bit of advice on how to use the fear as a powerful force. I believe that the fear that Freire spoke of is one that is shared by many educators. It is a fear that does not diminish with time or experience, on the contrary, it eats at you as you plan your lessons, as you teach your students, and it goes home with you and stays with you outside of the classroom. Freire’s thoughts on the ability of the educator to channel the fear of being fired or being targeted as a radical into a powerful force was inspiring.
It was great how he took something negative and turned it into a tool that can be used in a positive way, he encouraged educators to talk about it and network with one another to begin to express their political views about education. He said, “Acting alone is the best way to commit suicide” (485) and he hoped that instead of acting alone, teachers would work together in their fight. He argued that education is political in nature and this implies that the educator is a political being. I plan to sit quietly at meetings only long enough to have enough people on my side to be able to be heard when I want to speak up on an issue.
Freire used the phrase “rock the boat” in this weeks readings, I use the phrase “rock the boat” all the time and I even used it in a recent conversation with my administrator. I was able to talk to her informally about a discrepancy I was having with the other members of my teaching team, and I told her, “I didn’t want to rock the boat. ” She looked at me, smiled and laughed as she said, “Rock the boat! Rock the boat! ” I was lucky enough to choose the right battle in this case and my administrator was on my side, I am so glad I did not let the fear of confronting the issue consume me.