Education: Oppression and Liberation

Education can both oppress and liberate people depending on the educator’s values and the way they teach. The relationship professors and students have has a huge effect on whether ones education will liberate them or oppress them. An educator that does not really care about the students or their thoughts, and just expects students to listen to what they say and be able to regurgitate their information, is an oppressive education. It severely dampens a learner’s personal thought and does not inspire the student to actually think. Paulo Freire refers to this as the “banking concept” where “knowledgeable” people (teachers) educate “unknowledgeable” people (students) and that is it. In order to stray away from these oppressive forms of education, other methods have to be used. Paulo Freire explains, “Those truly committed to liberation must reject the banking concept in its entirety, adopting instead a concept of women and men as conscious beings…” This is the way education is liberating. When educators understand that every person are beings with a lot of great ideas and thoughts, and they encourage their students to develop their valuable thoughts, rather then just aimlessly listen to an “all knowing” professor. Learning should go both ways between educators and students, because teachers can learn a ton from students and vice versa. Encouraging personal and critical thinking is a proven much better form of teaching and learning, and can liberate peoples minds allowing them to explore new knowledge across a variety of fields. Education can be oppressive when students are forced to pointlessly absorb information with no real substance, while education can liberate the mind when the student’s personal thoughts are truly valued and nurtured. These two different mentalities of teaching is the major factor behind how education can oppress or liberate.

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