Seymour Papert was and is still ahead of its time . This speaks for the book, unfortunately, many of his ideas are not yet arrived today in many schools. Although the technological development are becoming increasingly a more and more importance in everyday .
Pedagogy and Theory
To be quite honest, I really had a hard time getting into the Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire. Maybe it was my mood, maybe my brain was just full from all of my other projects but it was initially a tough read. I felt a bit oppressed myself as I slogged through chapter 1... but then, I got to chapter 2 and Friere's earlier thoughts started to come into focus.
A few weeks ago, someone on the K-12 Digital Fabrication Google Group pointed out that there are some similarities between teaching making and teaching reading. There was a conversation about the "whole language" movement from the 1980s as well as Nancy Atwell and Laura Robb's Reading Workshop model of teaching reading. I knew nothing about this, so it peaked my curiosity and I purchased Robb's, Teaching Reading in the Middle School.
In Chapter 1 of Paulo Freire's "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" Freire defines his theory and identifies the oppressor and the oppressed. He writes of how in order to liberate the oppressed and to provide a meaningful educational experience, the "learner" must be actively involved in the construction of their education. Traditional pedagogies maintain this power dichotomy by teaching with "the banking model of education" where content and information is passed from those with power to those without power.
I and many of my fellow educators at the Children's Museum of Houston have long held a belief that children need to be provided with a free-choice learning environment that stimulates hands-on, minds-on, open-ended explorations into phenomena to help them construct their understanding of topics that interest them. We believe that what we and other children's museums and science centers provide is access to application of ideas and phenomenological explorations that often fly in the face of "common sense understanding."
Paulo Freire, in his book entitled The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, highlights the effects of oppression, based on his background and the challenges he faced in reconciling his Brazilian tradition and culture with the new educational environment brought about by colonization. This brings into the limelight two clear ideas: the loss of identity and humanity resulting from oppression; and the concept of the oppressor versus the oppressed. What results is violence, brought about by the oppressor who dehumanizes the oppressed by denying them their rights.
“A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engaged him in their struggle, than by a thousand actions in their favor without trust.” (Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, page 60)
We still use the banking model of education as our dominant model - with teachers depositing knowledge in a students' mind. Papert asked us to think about who defines what constitutes a discipline, in other words, what is Physics and how is it taught. He posited that we continue to teach (even 30 years later) the same Physics courses that were developed around the technology of paper and pencil which are focused on solving word problems and carrying out labs with already identified answers.
Whenever I read Freire I feel inspired. And then I think about the realities of the classroom... How to implement problem posing education so that it is omni-present in the school environment? Is that even something that he proposed and imagined? Is there a place on earth where this is happening? How do they do it? Whenever I think of this I almost always conclude it is a matter of numbers. How to engage in dialogue with the student when there are twenty to thirty (a half if you are lucky) minds all eager to do so?
It’s too easy in a creative work environment, to be overly concerned about the end product. We may have a vision in our minds of what we would like students to produce and even how they might get there; however, when we predetermine what that project will become by restricting process and regimenting our environment for an indistinguishable experience, we are not allowing room for the development of an important skill: asserting one’s individuality and creativity through the practice of solving problems.