Curiosity requires moral courage

This week’s readings on critical pedagogy and the different interactions between students and teachers reminded me of an article by Don Peppers titled “Curiosity is an Act of Rebellion“. Like Paulo Freire, he also argues for the importance of curiosity as a moral obligation. Engagement can only be achieved through independence of the mind, not passive reception of information. It seems like the standard of education favors the authoritarian and paternalistic models where everything flows in a unidirectional manner from the top of the pyramid of power, down to everyone else below. And as Freire once stated: “Education as the exercise of domination stimulates the credulity of students, with the ideological intent (often not perceived by educators) of indoctrinating them to adapt to the world of oppression.” These models are kept in place by discouraging curiosity which, as an act of rebellion, can often involve the critique and questioning of the status quo.

“… shake the certainty of teachers…” I think this is at the root of the problem. As a society, we have placed so much pressure on always getting things right, avoiding “failure”, or avoiding being wrong, that we perpetuate this fear by trying to prevent any form of dissent or disagreement. Despite all the data pointing to the great value in disagreement as a means to innovation and progress, somehow most areas across the political, religious, and scientific platforms still opt for a model of dominance at their core. Maybe a way to move past all this is by celebrating the “failures” and cultivating humility. In Freire’s words “only through communication can human life hold meaning” and “dialogue cannot exist without humility”.

6 thoughts on “Curiosity requires moral courage”

  1. I really like your emphasis on humility. I think that’s central to a more liberatory pedagogy. Teachers/instructors who are willing to admit they don’t know everything and also admit that students know things the instructor doesn’t is very Freirean. Humility helps to break down hierarchy, which is in a goal to strive for in education and elsewhere throughout society.

  2. I strongly agree with your point that many factors outside the education system contributes to the banking education. For example, people are often afraid of disagreements and view them as a threaten. In some country, freedom of speech is not protected. Professors have to be careful that don’t talk about some issues that may offend the authority. Although education cannot solve a lot of problems, but at least it sows the seeds of hope.

  3. Like you I feel that many educators have fallen victim to the authoritarian model which is not helpful especially when it comes to curiosity. Without curiosity education is just not the same and does not have the same effect. What steps do you think would be necessary to “celebrate the failures and cultivate humility”? It seems like the way the system is setup now there is not much of a way to celebrate a failure especially since failure and low grade have become synonymous terms.

  4. I like that you point out the importance of curiosity. I think that as teachers, we urge students to get what we are saying and just accept it without encouraging these students to question why the answer is so. This might have something to do with how the teachers themselves were taught or how they learnt the material. If teachers fail to unlearn their already learned methodologies, they fail to encourage students to do any different from what they did.

  5. Great post. I especially like how you made the connection with Freire’s work. In particular, this point you made resonated with me:

    “Despite all the data pointing to the great value in disagreement as a means to innovation and progress, somehow most areas across the political, religious, and scientific platforms still opt for a model of dominance at their core. Maybe a way to move past all this is by celebrating the “failures” and cultivating humility.”

    I think it’s more than “a” way to move past this; in some ways, it seems like “the” way to move past this.

  6. Hi Andrea! Wonderful post. Would like to know how you think that Critical Pedagogy and Mindful Learning connect…?

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