A Reflection on Pedagogy of the Oppressed Chapter 4

As I begin to think more about library instruction and the role of an instructor in the classroom, I find that Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed to be an excellent guide into how I consider the dynamic between students and myself as an instructor. In Chapter 4 specifically, Freire discusses how cultural invasion functions as a type of violence between the individual possessing power within a given dynamic and the individuals (in this case, students) who are expected to function within that dynamic while lacking the same amount of agency. While Freire doesn’t seem to be suggesting that pedagogy should abolish the student-teacher dynamic, he does suggest that teachers should prioritize a cooperation within the classroom between students and teachers. The responsibility for this kind of cooperation and removing the elements of cultural invasion is placed entirely on the teacher in this instance. Freire’s words have made me consider how I myself have prioritized the view of myself as a teacher as a kind of provider of information over what should be a prioritization of liberating my students from the subjugation that much of the academic system is constructed around. The view of students as blank slates needing to be “written” upon by proper teaching is a toxic one which does not acknowledge the value that students bring with them to the classroom. As a library instructor specifically, I want to become more focused on how I approach my students and how I can seek to raise up their own thoughts through involvement in the subject matter while also being careful not to impose myself and my own cultural biases or prejudices onto the students. I am further interested in finding more information on how to equitably moderate the classroom with a Freireian approach to classroom management, especially for classes where the culture and individual personalities and cultures are largely unknown to me.

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