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The Silent Aspect

Slafennog's picture

In my other class I have spent a good amount of time thinking about how and if opting out of something can be used as a form of empowerment, so I was very attracted to Paulo’s comment in A Pedagogy For Liberation on page 102, when he says “for them to feel pressured to speak even when they have nothing to add creates a false sense of democracy, a fake moment of discussion.” In here he condemns those being forced to speak, and calls whatever they are saying ‘fake’ moment of speaking “instead of a genuine exchange.” While I agree with him in that no one should be forced to speak up in a class when they do not feel comfortable, invalidating someone speaking (even if they are being forced into it) doesn’t help them in anyway. What they are saying, even if they are just simply repeating back what the teachers wants to hear, is in a way a learning experience. Having the ability to repeat back to the teacher, or think of anything to say is a learned thing. The student had to put some level of thought, some part of them own self into that forced response. If we then label that response as fake, are then we labeling the student fake?

I am also a bit confused about the part right after that where they talk about “your right to stay silent does not mean you have a right to sabotage the process?” (pg.102) I feel like I am missing something? How does being silent “abuse the openness of the class or (interfere) with the other student and the teacher”(pg. 103)? I feel like he is contradicting himself by saying talking when you have nothing to say is disruptive, yet, not talking is also disruptive and must be punished? I don’t understand what he is going for here.