Attempts to understanding Paulo Freire’s, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. (Another Extra Blog post)

Paulo Freire essay, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, addresses knowledge and how it emerges only through invention and re-inventions, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiring human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other (72). To expand on the notion of knowledge, Freire also discusses, “teaching knowledge through interpretation and that the process is that of continuous process of “unlearning, learning, reflection, evaluation, and impact that these actions have on students (72). Both concepts teach a form of knowledge to and from the students and the relationship between the student and the teacher. In opposition to the concepts of unlearning, learning and invention, and re-invention, Freire also expands on education by stating, “education becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor” (72). In this example he stresses how teachers “deposit” knowledge into the student and the student is the receptacle to retain and hold the information the teacher stresses.

With Freire’s concept of banking, he argues that this concept is crippling to the student, as the student has no means to exercise their own creative powers. That the teacher assumes a sort of authority over the classroom and only the teacher can assume this role. This in turn, oppresses the student by not allowing them to learn through exploration and apply the invention, re-invention concept that also correlates with the process of learning, unlearning, reflection and evaluation within a classroom.

By apply the process of learning and unlearning, this guides students to relearn something they may already know, but in a different light. This in turn may help a student learn in a way they may not have learned before. I believe this process to be beneficial because no two students will and have to capacity to learn in the same way, shape or form. By ‘unlearning’ a subject, it may force the students to toss away all pre-conceived notions of a particular subject and relearn the same subject in a different form. One example could be learning thought reflection, possibly collaborative learning if this was not utilized in previous classroom or even acknowledging that the classroom environment applies a teacher-student and student-teacher approach to learning and knowledge. By explain this approach, students are encouraged to learn through being challenged and to learn with the teacher as the teacher learns with the students.


Q1: If the banking concept is deemed negative and forces students to learn only in a box-frame mind set, is the concept completely corrupt, or can we as teachers still make it an effective concept? How so?

Q2: What are some techniques for applying the “learning and relearning”, or the “invention, re-invention” process within the classroom?

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About hflute

Heather is currently teaching two sections of English 120 at NDSU while on a journey through academic enlightenment through the path of English Composition. She is passionate about reading a variety of books and is always excited to become encapsulated in an engaging research project. She also loves coffee and puns.

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