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Purposeful Tellers Surrendering Control: Reactions to "A Pedagogy for Liberation: What is the 'Dialogic Method of Teaching?"

The Unknown's picture

            Ira Shor examines the most effective ways to encourage students to challenge the status quo: “We need to discuss how the dialogic teacher works so that he or she is an artist in doing these unvelings” (Freire and Shor 97). How do we question students without instilling the notion that their ideas, values, or principles are not effective, helpful, or useful?

            I appreciate how much Paulo Freire values communication as a way to share insights and gain understanding. Paulo Freire explains the importance of dialogue and communication: “To the extent that we are communicative beings who communicate to each other as we become more able to transform our reality, we are able to know that we know, which is something more than just knowing” (Freire and Shor 99). Friere goes on to state that not all answers come from studying history and that children and youth can offer new insights and perspectives. It seems difficult to be sure that we know anything or that any idea is fixed or any question is fully answered. If we are constantly questioning our realities and structural systems, how can we “know what we know”?

            Paulo Freire and Ira Shor list the ingredients for how to use dialogue as a means of change: “To achieve the goals of transformation, dialogue implies responsibility, directiveness, determination, discipline, objectives” (Freire and Shor 102). I would like to know more about how Paulo Freire and Shor see how one can help educate a student about issues that are relevant to the pupil if the student still haS not interest in learning the material.

            Paulo Freire evaluates how individuality, change, and communication are interrelated: “In communicating among ourselves, in the process of knowing the reality which we transform we communicate and know socially even though the process of communicating, knowing, changing, has an individual dimension” (Freire and Shor 99). I think there is an ingrained relationship between ownership and individuality. Is there anything natural about claiming responsibility, discovery? If we see a greater fluidity in education, could that help us question the idea of ownership, because ideas are then constantly being expanded and there is no certainty or fixed idea? There is no moment of truth because the pieces of the truth are being challenged as we gather and formulate them. Therefore, communication moves away from disseminating information, towards guesses and tests that though people might individually understand, learn, and realize, they are not static or claimed. I wonder about moving away from understanding to an appreciation of this is what we know now, even if tomorrow that may change. People no longer own knowledge and the end purpose of all knowledge is then educating others.

            Paulo Freire challenges the relationship between ownership and knowledge: “Also, with such a way of understanding dialogue, the object to be known is not an exclusive possession of one of the subjects doing the knowing, one of the people in the dialogue” (Freire and Shor 99). I think this idea is also helpful for multicultural education because it pushes people beyond this notion that the answers are either “out there” (meaning not inside humans, or not having been understood or explored by people) or inside of us. I think this notion encourages people to ask others who have experienced places, species, plants, outcomes of hypothesis to help unravel their truths rather than people simply travelling to far away places to try to gather information about a plant, culture, race, etc. that they have never come in contact with and no little about. This new perspective about knowledge values people’s individual as well as collective experiences.

            I do not completely understand what Paulo Freire is trying to say here. “Instead of this cordial gift of information to students, the object to be known mediates the two cognitive subjects” (Freire and Shor 99).

            I think it is interesting that Paulo Freire tries to encourage people to accept his ideas by claiming that they are used in places that people can connect with: “Dialogical education is an epistemological position, not a bizarre invention or a strange practice from an exotic par of the world!” (Freire and Shore 100). Why is an idea or object that comes from far way and is deemed “exotic,” not useful in other contexts? Why do we or feel we have to disconnect an idea from its roots to make it more relatable and convincing?