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"Liberatory learning involves Desocialization"

Dan's picture

     First, I’d like to comment that A Pedagogy for Liberation is a fantastic title. This was the most striking quote in the piece for me: “liberatory learning involves desocialization.”

     As we enter these institutional spaces of learning, even as we acquire language, we start to realize all of the restrictive social and communicative rules we must learn to navigate in order to survive and “move through the system.” This socialization can completely disempower us – turn us into helpless cogs in a machine who do not think critically because we are seeing the world through the structure of how we’ve been socialized. Our roles, as friends, partners, students, workers, are flat and formed.

      Transcending that socialization is the challenge. How do you impart that crucial questioning in someone that can allow them to reject the restrictions and think more freely?

     I loved the description of Teacher as artist –their facilitation, a powerful performance which can establish an aesthetic experience – inspiring and awakening a student to first recognize and then think outside of the boxes they’ve been shoved in. It reminds me of a speech by David Foster Wallace, called “This is Water,” which describes the value of a liberal arts education. He starts with a little parable about two young fish swimming in a body of water who come across a wise, older fish who says to them --
“morning boys! How’s the water?”

The young fish swim on for a few minutes before turning to each and saying, “what the hell is water?”

      Understanding one’s own context is a huge step in understanding our own imprisonment and then taking steps to liberate oneself. Foster Wallace goes on to say that the liberal arts education, by providing us with that context and making us aware that we wear lenses and interpret our experiences according to those lenses, we can have much freedom and control over our experience of the world.

     The Freire & Shore piece uses the metaphor of the “veil.” “Knowing is unveiling” – a very mystical approach the education which I like quite a bit (118). The liberating pedagogy is thus the oh-so creative, constantly negotiated and reinvented attempt to establish curiosity in a student -- which will start students on a path to questioning and new ways of seeing and unveiling (or further them on that path, depending on where they are in their lives).



Dan's picture

This is Water by David Foster Wallace