24 Oct 2018
Paulo Freire tempo-political narratives of teaching are perhaps the most systematic assessment of pedagogy concepts that I have read in my educational career. While I agree with his banking concept of education, I would argue that social, economic and political philosophies may have stronger underlying influences than any actual teaching method. On the other hand, project-based learning practices are demonstrable examples of problem-posing education. But we must also acknowledge that there is not a one-size-fits-all model of teaching, especially when we engaged in academic inquiry, knowledge creation and transformation of ideas on a routine basis. Process learning – an iterative process of teaching and learning is probably good for research and instruction. Challenging conventional wisdom through questioning and re-processing of facts based on different assumptions.
I am certain that an authentic form of teaching as noted by Paulo Freire, will require a binary flow of actions and activities – that is, enabling both teacher-students and students-teacher to have an open dialogue and reflect simultaneously on themselves, and their thoughts and actions. For the most part, situational awareness, content, and context must be defined on an individual basis. As a future teacher, I must find my mojo as an individual – that is, what would work best for me and my students based on several factors. But the goal must always be to create a mutually beneficial atmosphere, allow for full understanding and comprehension of the subject-matter by students, as well as for teachers to seek opportunities to learn from students. I believe that the role of the teacher is to facilitate and enable the conversation to take place among peers, establishing norms for dialogue, and re-examining assumptions through prompts. Encouraging the free flow of ideas from different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences – and critiquing from the sidelines.
All in all, education must enable teachers and students to become independent knowledge creators. Students and teachers alike must be able to learn from each other’s experience and to use their awareness of differences to further inquiry through critical thinking, questioning assumptions and dialogue in the learning process. To be clear, people learn more from their immediate environment and associations, which is often outside formal educational instructions. As such, social, cultural and political realities have a role to play informal learning. Any attempts by a teacher to control thinking and action is unhelpful to the development of authentic thinking by students. While totalitarian regimes have found ways to educate and re-educate their citizens on their political doctrines, in liberal democracies, education cannot be guided by fears, political ideologies, and prescriptive communication. Critical thinking and the freedom to think is what has powered ideas and independent thinking, which has translated economic and social concepts in medical, economic models, governance and technology. Education without the creation of ideas is wasteful. The outcome of any education is based on pedagogical practices that can translate into economic, community and societal benefits.