Sunday, March 25, 2012

Freire's "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" is banned in Arizona

Yet another questionable move made in Arizona.  The classic education text "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" was banned by the Tucson School District.  According to an article at Daily Censored:

School authorities confiscated the books during class—boxed them up and hauled them off. As one student said, “We were in shock … It was very heartbreaking to see that happening in the middle of class.”

A fantastic blog called Musings on the Spacial Turn (in education) has some links that address this in more detail here so I don't see any need to go into a rant.  But the reasons expressed for banning this book were as follows:
“They should not teach the kids that they’re oppressed as America is a land of opportunity and we should not teach the kids that America is a downer and that they are oppressed..."

Here are a few ideas in this banned book:

Dialogic education seeks out "the humanization of all people... no longer oppressor and oppressed, but human in the process of achieving freedom."  

"Dialogue cannot exist in the absence of a profound love for the world and for people....  If I do not love the world - if I do not love life - if I do not love people - I cannot enter into dialogue."  

"The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teaches, but one who is taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being taught also teach.  They become jointly responsible for a process in which all grow."  

"Any situation in which some individuals prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence.  The means used are not important; to alienate human beings from their own decision-making is to change them into objects."  

Those who would consider these dangerous ideas are the one's we should be truly concerned about.


  1. It is a old thesis but fresh to me.But it is too much negative to traditional teacher-student relations.
    Banking concept education?
    I could enoughly understand why his book is banned in Korea(now no more) and it can't replace traditional T-S relations in my opinion.

  2. i think that one of the problems with freire (and i think the same is true with the kincheloe reading we did) is that the OLD and the NEW, BANKING and EMANCIPATORY education are always presented as opposing concepts. i'm not sure that we can ever be so black and white when describing things as complex as relationships, learning, and socialization. it seems that some of this work (particularly the earlier work in critical pedagogy) is really concerned with drawing lines and creating categories. i do think that many of the goals that freire discusses are relevant. becoming "more human" and doing so through genuine dialog is a wonderful goal. but i'm not sure that it has to directly oppose the classrooms that we are used to. life is never so simple as us versus them, oppressed versus oppressor and so on. so we have to work to build more complex and deeper understandings of our work. thanks for the comment youngmoon!

  3. there is no verses between oppressed and oppressor..Nobody liberates anybody else, and nobody liberates themselves all alone. People liberate themselves in fellowship with each other.He creates his consciousness of struggle by transforming reality and liberating himself from the oppression that has been inserted by traditional pedagogy.

    Education that liberates the individual has to be a conscious act in which the content is understood and analysed, overcoming the dichotomy that exists between teacher and student; it must leave to one side this unidirectional relationship and allow bidirectionality to contribute to the whole education of both parties, since they both have elements to bring to the learning.
    as i read here