Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Facilitation
The pedagogy of the oppressed was presented by Paulo Freire in a book of the same title in 1968 when the author was in exile in Chile after having taught more than 5 million people during the Brazilian dictatorship.
His idea of a liberating education has inspired educators around the world and is still the basis of many modern approaches. Freire's methodology was popularized in great weight by the authors Anne Hope and Sally Timmel in a series of books called “Training For Tansformation” (training for transformation).
The pedagogy of the oppressed emerges in a desperate context in which a man is forced to build a bridge that could interrupt the eternal vicious cycle of the oppressed who dreams of becoming an oppressor.
Within the context of facilitation, the pedagogy of the oppressed establishes the basis of the process aimed at reestablishing a dialogue between the educator and the students. InDragon Dreamingwe use the resource “Questions Generators” as the pillar of building a collective dream.
Therefore, within a context of facilitation, I will focus this article on the “Generating Themes” that underlie the work of the facilitator who intends to bring about the transformation of society through his work.
By facilitating a transformation process, we can use the principles of Paulo Freire's liberating pedagogy to guide our practice. Below is a short presentation of these principles.
The goal of education is the radical transformation
By radical transformation, we mean that, to bring about change and transform our communities, we need to understand the cause of our problems from their roots, from different angles. We presuppose our understanding of the fact that we are about to transform our own lives, community, environment and the whole of society.
Thus, in the midst of daily challenges, education is based onhope, that it is possible to change life for the better. “Radical” means going to the roots of the problem. It is a matter of unearthing the values underlying the unnecessary suffering influenced by modern Western industrial civilization.
This civilization now influences most of the rest of the world. These dominant values include greed and control over material goods, power and things in general.
Relevant generating themes: Empowerment
How can we ensure that the issues that facilitators are engaging with communities are relevant? It is important that education is important to the communities it serves.
Thus, it is crucial to start from an issue that is directly affecting the community. It is when an issue deepens in which the community has strong feelings about: hope, fear, worry, anger, joy; Thus, sadness will be brought to the surface.
Paulo Freire calls the issues that generate this natural energy as “generating themes”. Suppressed feelings contribute to a feeling of helplessness and apathy, but if we explore them, people can discover a new life for themselves and others.
Channeling this energy into the strategic plan is another challenge in this work. In addition, starting with an issue that concerns the community generates more discussion, as this is an issue that the community is passionate about, as it directly affects dialogue.
It has been a phenomenon that when communities face challenges, a list of "experts" appears out of nowhere. The assumption is that experts can solve all the problems faced by communities.
For years, the perceptions and practice of education methodology have focused on the transmission of information and knowledge to a tabula rasa, that is, those who know and the others who do not know.
Paulo Freire refers to this process aseducation bankbecause the teacher makes regular deposits in the student's empty mind. We need dialogue to extract insights from everyone who is concerned while looking for solutions.
Codes that define problems
In this regard, once we find generating themes, we need a concrete way of presenting the problem. When introducing a facilitation process, we ask participants to ask each other how they are feeling.
Feelings are emotions expressed in a form of anger, joy, frustration, crying and so on. The code must capture the problem as presented by the community. Or rather, in other words, it is important that the codes capture the feelings of the community.
If the community is unhappy, concerned, etc., the code must reveal it. Thus, a code is a concrete presentation of a family problem, about which the group has strong feelings.
An example of a code or material placement problem is a poster, play, photographs, slides, music, a saying and games that simulate the problem. A code is different from other visuals.
Visual aids have been used in programs many times, but many of them are illustrations and not code. A code must be clear and participants must be able to relate to it. A code shows the problem unanswered. THETheater of the Oppressedit is a great resource for unraveling “codes” that define problems.
Reflection and Action
The process of involvement with the challenge / problem is understood as something that does not have a fixed solution. It is characterized by action and reflection.
Once communities know and understand the root causes of the problem, it is important to plan the action to be taken.
Action needs to be taken from the problem that the community faces to eliminate frustration. Planning the action depends on the group discussion, experience and energy.
Action planning should consider the following:
The) link the topic / problems to other topics they discussed
B) deepen the study
ç) start a project with self-confidence
d) press for changes.
No education is neutral
How come there is no neutral education? We are all conditioned by our life experiences and it is important that we critically analyze how these have affected our values and our judgments.
“Popular education literally means education with the people and for the people. As an educational practice, facilitators help people by analyzing and discussing their own situation in the face of problems such as inequality, discrimination and environmental destruction ”.Carlos Nunez Hurtado, What is Popular Education? InHRE / Campaigning for Human Rights Education? page 6, September 2005.
Every education process carries an ideological baggage, and it is important that the facilitator choose his position and make it clear to the community in which he participates what his position is. To seek neutrality is to avoid the responsibility of becoming an agent of transformation.
FREIRE, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. 1987
Hope, Anne. Timmel, Sally. Training for Transformation; A handbook for Community Workers. 1995