Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Opressor and the Opressed

Wyllie's review of Freire's work examines Marxist theories on the class system and education. The main point of this essay is focused around the concept that "Freire's analysis of the social situation is based on the ideas of dialectical materialism; an oppressor class oppresses and an oppressed class is oppressed" (Freire 2). It holds true to the idea of the rich get richer, while the poor get poorer or the idea of wanting to keep those with power in power or those without it, without it. The essay follows the process of the oppressed stating that in the first stage of oppression, instead of shooting for freedom, become oppressors themselves. This essay highlights the Marxist idea that  human destiny can only be realized through class struggle. As we read further we learn that there is a problem with revolutionary Marxism and that is that it attempts to persuade the world into a theoretical framework that it cannot and will not fit into. On the education piece, we are told of 'banking education" and how it only benefits the oppressors. Freire describes this as teachers "depositing" information into students. His concern is that this makes the student passive and they only learn what the teacher wants them too, rather than learning some things on their own and enriching their learning.

For my artwork aspect, I chose to draw a student resembling a bank vault and a teacher depositing Critical Theory ideas into that student. I drew this piece to illustrate Freire's idea that this is how we are taught, the teacher gives us ideas on concepts to which we passively accept. He calls this process "banking education" and so I labeled my drawing that for clarification purposes.

There was a ton of stuff in this essay that I found particularly interesting. To start, the biggest thing I noticed was how many times the word revolution was mentioned. Each time I found the word, I highlighted it so when I was done highlighting, the pages were lit up like Christmas trees. I also took note of this statement, " Freire discusses the attitude of the revolutionary leaders towards education. He lectures them to avoid communicating with the oppressed via communiqu├ęs; the revolutionary leaders must dialog with the oppressed otherwise the relationship is one of domination and the revolution is not authentic." (Freire 2). I guess I got a little confused by this last part because revolution usually results as a spurn against dominance, so wouldn't the revolution actually be authentic?


  1. I think that final stuff (and what up with the blue highlight?) is what we ended the class discussion with today, so I am hoping you feel a bit clearer on 1) what Freire advocates for in terms of the educational revolution; and 2) what the pitfalls are for academics and other privileged people who want to lead the people's revolution. How can well-intentioned authority figures assist the cause of revolution without co-opting it and silencing those it seeks to empower?

  2. I really like how your artwork represents the banking system of education! Giving the student a vault for a body was clever! I agree with Wyllie/Freire when he points out that banking is the current system of education in society. We learn to retain information from the ultimate authority of our teachers, so that we can pass a test or write a paper later and have something to show for our knowledge. While I think the idea of "problem posing" education is awesome, I don't think it is practical. I think a give-and-take of knowledge between student and teacher is great to a certain degree, but I feel that there has to be some authority somewhere if anyone is going to have any correct information. What do you think of his ideas on education?

  3. Kendal,

    After reading your take on our education system, I must say I agree with you that we are currently representing the banking system. However, I don't think problem posing education is impractical. I think its something we could use to revamp education and get better results. Formerly, I wanted to be an English teacher and I always talked about having an education system like this and I constantly rallied for a change in the education system because I think our current one makes students lazy and doesn't include the students thoughts. That being said, I would advocate for problem posing education as a change we could make if many educational facilities would come together to work toward that goal.