Critical Pedagogy

What does Freire’s approach to teaching and learning emphasize and why?
Freire’s approach emphasizes the importance of dialog between teachers and students where both are learning and developing as opposed to the teacher dumping information on the students. Additionally, he poses the need for “Problem-posing” education, an education where the problems of human beings and their relations with the world are brought into question. Instead of using a what he refers to as a traditional “Banking” education where students are empty bins that teachers fill with information.

How does Freire define dialogic engagement?
Freire strongly believes that dialogue is not present when the Banking method is used where teachers’ poor information into the students’ bins in hopes that some amount of the information is retained so that the students can pass the exams and get through the class. What does Freire think should happen when dialogue in the classroom occurs? He thinks that the terms “teacher-of-the-students” and “students-of-the-teacher” will not exist and will instead be replaced with the terms “teacher-student” and “students-teacher”. Trying to digest this in my own words… It sounds that when dialogic engagement occurs there will no long be a teacher that teaches students, but instead students that become teachers and a teacher that becomes a student. Both the teacher and the students will learn and grow all the while the teacher is able to direct the dialogue and ‘add fuel to the fire’ to keep the dialogue going and to help educate the students.

What would a critical pedagogical praxis look like in your disciple?
I feel that a large majority of engineering courses follow the “banking” education format almost exactly. Therefore, I have become so use to this educational format that it is hard for me to envision a pedagogical praxis in engineering. BUT, I’m going to try and explain what I envision when I think of critical pedagogy in a ME classroom. So, what would a critical pedagogical praxis look like in mechanical engineering? I envision a class where the professor doesn’t come in with a prepared PowerPoint presentation, but instead has little details written down that he wants to make sure to cover during class (maybe something like equations, illustrations, example problems, etc.). Therefore, the professor can guide the discussion in the necessary route, but still allow the students to contribute and add to the discussion.

What is the difference, for Freire, between being “authority” vs. being “authoritarian”?
Teachers sometimes let their professional authority get in the way of their teaching. When this type of thing happens, it opposes the freedom of the students. This type of teaching would fall under authoritarian because it is strict and at the expense of the educational freedom of the students. When a teacher instead steps back and uses authority he/she is taking more of a director position. They do not oppose the freedom of the students but ensure that proper dialogue is carried out and that arguments based on “authority” are not occurring.