Is education a one-way traffic? The teacher will gorge out something from his memory or from his notebook and the students will listen to him like some dumb dudes? If this is education practiced in one-way-traffic module, what is destined to happen is happening all over the world and most predictably the so-called educated people have been turned into dumb dudes. They have fallen a victim to ‘culture of silence’. This ‘culture of silence’ is the way of life that the powers-that-be have intelligently instilled into the mindset of the common denominators and that is what they want.
Paul Freire in his seminal book Pedagogy of The Oppressed says that it is not education. Conventional education is mechanical and parroting to the point of being corrupted to the core in so far as it tends to exert pressure on the common people to eat the humble pie of existence. It cannot enlighten the students with new visions and thoughts. According to his opinion, proper education should be dialogical and interactive between the teacher and the students. Only that way education can become pro-active in the sense that proactivity with the existing standard of life would interact with the way we should live.
So, education’s sole objective should be to educate the mass of people how to change this world. To change the world, people have to know the actual reality of the world in due perspective and thereby to transcend that reality. If they know it, they will automatically want to change the undesirable societal condition of the world. On that condition, the teacher cannot parrot some methodological ideas which are barren and inefficacious. From the teacher a student will learn something and then he should be prompted to ask questions one after another to get plausible answers themselves with the aiding and abetting with the proper help and guidance from the attending teacher.
That is a two-way traffic and two-way-traffic education is truly dialogical and interactive. And interactive and dialogical education is the only proper way to educate the mass of people who are burning within themselves to change the unjust world. To reiterate it again, first and foremost they should know and be of the firm conviction that the world they live in is utterly an unjust one. Gaining this conviction is not just gaining in knowledge but remold one’s mindset with a vision, a vision that shows the new light at the end of the tunnel at the crossroad of life’s one and only true mission.
Freire is a Brazilian educator who conducted many educational workshops among the poor and illiterate peasants and factory workers of Latin American countries to lend a hand to their political education so that they could know the world better. And he returned with immense and enthusiastic responses from them. He says in his book, “In the midst of the argument a man who previously had been a factory worker for many years spoke out : ‘Perhaps I am the only one here of working class origin. I can’t say that I’ve understood everything you’ve said, but I can say one thing – when I begin this course I was naive, and when I found how naive I was, I started to get critical…’ “
And getting critical is the bottomline of Freire’s pedagogy as far as the liberating education is concerned. It generates critical consciousness and that “conscientization” then cries for freedom from all shackles of oppression prevalent in the society. Freire says : “Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsively. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest for the human completion.”
Now let us briefly point to the “culture of silence” which shackles the mindset of the wretched of the earth. The oppressors of the world do not like the idea that the wretched people never raise their voice against injustice and cry for their legitimate demand of freedom. It is rather that they remain “dumb dudes” meekly surrendering themselves to their existential fatalism. They should not get critical of their essences of existence reverberating in their political consciousness. And here lies the crux. As long as the oppressed people eschew the “culture of violence”, their juggernaut of economic appropriation and political shenanigans will roll on undisturbed and uninterrupted.
So, let them sing the songs of silence!