Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire Chapter 1

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire Chapter 1


Pedagogyof the Oppressed by Paulo Freire


Thefirst chapter of the “pedagogy of the oppressed” focuses onhumanization. Humanity is a complex concept that makes individualshuman. Some of the qualities of humanity that defines humans andindividuals need to demonstrate to others includes integrity andunderstanding. According to Freire, in order to understand whathumanization is, it is important to acknowledge what entailsdehumanization. In simple terms, dehumanization refers to a situationin which humanity is stolen resulting into oppression. The oppressorscontrol the lives of the oppressed and consider them as objectsrather than humans who should be treated with respect and integrity.The author considers the oppressors as ungrateful and lazyindividual. Additionally, the oppressors are also dehumanized andtheir humanity stolen because the unjust deeds results into risk ofviolence. Restoration of humanity would require both the oppressorsand the oppressed to work towards changing the situation. The fear offreedom limits the ability of the oppressed to be proactive andchange the situation. Consequently, they stick to the guidelines ofthe oppressor in order to enjoy the security of conformity. Sincefreedom is not a gift but acquired after a conquest, the status quois maintained, although the pursuit of freedom should be doneresponsibly. Thus, Freire identifies two steps in humanist andlibertarian pedagogy. The fist step involves recognizing thestructures and components of oppression and the commitment tochanging the structures. The second stage involves relinquishing thepedagogy to all people for permanent liberation. Once the old orderhas been discarded, the oppressed are able to enjoy freedom. However,the development of the pedagogy is a process.


Thesecond chapter of the book focuses on the education systems and howeducators relate with their students. According to Freire, educatorsnarrate to the learners the contents with limited opportunities ofreacting to the material resulting into an oppression model where thestudent duplicates the materials. This includes information which inthe eyes of the student is detached from reality. The learnersmemorize and repeat the facts as narrated by the teacher without aclear understanding of their meaning or significance. The educationsystem and teacher student relationship can be referred to asinformation depositing activity or a banking education system. Thiseducation system is a system where the educator or the possessor ofknowledge, does and the learner (who has no knowledge to offer) isdone to. Freire viewed this education system as oppressive because itannuls the creativity and ability of the learners. Since the role ofstudent in the learning process is to memorize the informationobtained from the teachers, the critical consciousness of thelearners does not develop. This results into limited or no thinkingand thus they are unlikely to question the learning process. Due tothe weaknesses of this type of education system, the author proposesa problem posing education system where information is presented tolearners to examine it’s and give their own considerations. Theeducators engage the learners in considering the different positionsand perspectives in the educational materials. This way, the teacherdoes not this on behalf of the student or represents a monopoly ofinformation. Freire views the transformation of the education systemto a problem solving system as liberation of the learners, whichrequires commitment. The commitment is essential in demarcating theconflicts that are inherent in the two education systems. Forexample, in the banking education model, learners are treated likeobject while in problem posing system both the learners and teachersare thinkers.


Freire,Paulo. Pedagogyof the Oppressed.New York: Continuum, 2007.