postheadericon Sectarian.

In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire identifies sectarian on both right and left of the spectrum as individuals so consumed by their own perceptions of Truth feel “threatened if that truth is questioned. Thus, each considers anything that is not ‘his’ truth a lie.” They … suffer, he quotes, from a deplorable absence of doubt. Now, while this immediately brings into view religious and political zealots (and no, the two are not mutually exclusive), it can also be applied to education. How often have we observed, been made aware of, or have taken classes with teachers, instructors, professors, so set in their ways or so sold on a theory or academic/research standpoint that anything that challenges, disagrees with, or suggests alternatives to their ways of doing things, that progress or learning is inhibited, relegated to the handful of students that agree with or adhere to that person’s line of thinking?

Students as oppressed, teachers as oppressors, forcing students to align with their way of thinking in order to succeed in the classroom. While a level of control and authority is necessary, complete authoritarianism and refusal to accept/tolerate/foster constructive criticism in a dialogic classroom environment is not conducive to a positive learning experience. It does, as others in this class have previously pointed out, invoke images of assembly line education, industrial conveyor belts of children passing through the system, illustrated brilliantly by Pink Floyd.

This is not a long blog post, I don’t have a lot to write on this particular subject that has not already been addressed in some form or other by other students’ blog posts in this class. it was, however, where my mind went as I looked over Freire’s Oppressed, and seemed worth mentioning.

7 Responses to “Sectarian.”

  • sihui:

    Thank you for the concise post. It is difficult but important to develop and maintain the authority as educators in order to create a disciplined learning environment while free the minds of students for creative and critical thinking. I can still remember the industrial conveyor scene in Pink Floyd, too. Hope this will not happen in current education scenario anymore.

  • Betsy Haugh:

    I think one of the most disheartening things in education is a professor who is not willing to consider or embrace students’ ideas. We’ve all come across people like this, as you mentioned in your first paragraph. This doesn’t build up the professor; it holds down the students whose ideas represent the future of education.

  • Kspooner:

    I agree that there are certain classes that feels like there is a pressure to discover what the teacher’s thoughts are and what the mass opinion in class is in order to be a part of the class and succeed. However, I think that sometimes there are classes in which the students are the oppressors as well as the teacher. It comes in the form of the attitude set by the class. If you disagree with something or learned a different point of view from the majority within the class, you can feel extremely uncomfortable with giving a different point of view. I think it is important to keep in mind why some students remain quiet. There are cases when students are quiet not because they are quiet individuals and then there are times when students are quiet because they are pressured into silence. I do wonder if sometimes this can happen to a teacher. Can a teacher become pressured into silence when they differ from the majority of the class?

  • qingyun:

    I experienced most authoritarian teaching when I was in elementary school. One teacher literally humiliated students who had different opinions in front of the whole class. It’s really detrimental to students’ learning development at this early age.

  • Thank you for your post. I’m also a Pink Floyd fan btw :). Concerning what you wrote at the beginning concerning people from different sects and religions, I believe that people should come to an understanding that their life circumstances lead them to believe in what they believe in (or to what they don’t believe in), and different people have different been through different paths in life. If I were born in a Muslim family I’d most probably be Muslim, but I’m Catholic, probably because I was born in a Catholic family. I think that everyone should acknowledge that and accept everyone else, whether they’re from a different religion, sect, atheists, … The only sect or religion that one should consider is whether the other person is a good person or not, if he loves others or not; and even it that’s not the case he should love him unconditionally. Love should be our uniting religion.

  • Aaron,

    I really glad its not a long blog post (ha ha). You brought up some really good points about this weeks readings. Here you say “Students as oppressed, teachers as oppressors, forcing students to align with their way of thinking in order to succeed in the classroom. “, i really do hope that we are able to evolve from this mentality.

    Again thank you for a short post, it makes it easier for me to read it more than once to make sure i haven’t missed anything (its a fear i have while commenting on these blogs) 🙂

  • Krystalyn Morton:

    I like in the point that you made about students being oppressed and the teachers being the oppressors. This was interesting to me because I fell that I have struggled with this as an undergraduate but could ever categorize or name my particular struggle. It seems that whenever students have a hard time connecting with the teacher or the material, they are just encouraged to “figure it out”, often placing them in the oppressed position. When I think back to the particular course that I struggled with, even after meeting the the professor and GTA, I realized that I just simply was not going to do well in the course. No matter how hard I tried, I was not given any real influential help and therefore suffered in this oppressed position the entire semester. I think getting instructors to understand how much they can impact a student’s success in the class can help them in trying to avoid the oppressive/authoritarian style in the classroom.

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