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”.