How We Need to Reform Today's Education

John Dewey’s “My Pedagogic Creed,” and Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” relay a similar message of how we need to reform present day educations. Although they had different upbringings and different backgrounds that influenced their philosophies, they both wanted an educational system that would allow every students potential to shine and for them to keep their individuality. As mentioned in the “RSA Animated Changing Education Paradigm’s” public education needs to be reformed economically and culturally in order to better benefit and achieve real intelligence.

Educators need to be flexible with their lessons and cater towards a manner where what they’re teaching reaches their entire class and need to be mindful that each child learns differently. A teacher is responsible for taking the child’s skills and excelling them through proper enlightenment, which will better prepare them for the real world.

John Dewey had a fairly comfortable childhood and was an outshining student when it came to his education.

Paulo Freire on the other had trouble growing up as he faced much hardship and poverty. Both philosophers were influenced by the readings and works of other reformers at the time and also due to their own personal circumstances. We must firstly come up with a concrete definition of what Education is in order to further proceed without analysis. While comparing both readings, it is safe to define education as the “process of acquiring knowledge, belief, ethics, skill and conventions, which teaches us to be a genuine civilian of society.

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” Both Dewey and Freire gave education great importance where it can almost be holy and Dewey compares teachers to prophets of God. John Dewey believed that teachers are agents through which the student is able to shine and the teacher holds the power of helping students excel and creating a brighter future.

John Dewey explains how education begins as soon as we come out of the womb, which I strongly agree. Even as a baby we are unconsciously learning, absorbing and experiencing new milestones each and everyday. We are given the example of a babbling baby and how his/her babbling turns into language and a form of communication one day with the help on their guardian. Through this scenario we learn that Dewey believes that our first teachers are our parents. Our home social life begins from a young age where are instilled with morals and values. Children are very impressionable and they will use the parent’s actions and habits as a guideline to make sense of the society around them and to develop skills to take them further in life as they grow. Dewey urges that education is enveloped as a psychological and sociological event and shouldn’t be taken lightly. He believed that the relationship between the teacher and student shouldn’t be restraining and should suck the creativity out of the student.

The teacher should be there as a guiding light and a motivator to help encourage the student and allow their imaginative side to shine. Schools are a social institution and like a second home to students. Mathematics, English Language Arts and Social Studies are important but shouldn’t be the only subjects taught in schools; Dewey expressed the importance of social activities that help prepare the individual for the real world through hands on experiences. Dewey describes the concept of democracy as much more than a political form. He incorporated education into a democratic form advising educators and those in power to create an environment where students were able to understand and experience the real world through learning. A democratic society is a society that favors equal rights, encourages freedom of speech and has tolerance and inclusion. This should also be true in the education system according to John Dewey. These institutions should allow students with equal opportunities to further advance their knowledge and help society as a whole.

Paulo Freire was from Brazil and had a tough upbringing. Growing up in poverty and hunger changed his prospective on life and his experiences instilled in him empathy for the poor and less fortunate, and he was deeply motivated to do something to make their lives better. In his book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” he addresses a problematic system of teaching which is the banking concept of education. The banking concept is teacher centered and they are described as narrating subjects filling receptacles or containers of the patient listening objects known as the students. In this concept the teachers believe the more information that they throw at the students, the more proficient they are regardless if the student understands what is being taught. Growing up, especially in high school I recall many teachers who would use this concept of teaching. One teacher in particular during sophomore year was the epitome of banking concept. He would teach the class by reading out of a textbook in a monotone mutter. He wouldn’t make any eye contact or show emotion towards his students. We received a lot of homework and memorization sheets and had quizzes every week regarding the topics weather we understood them or not.

There was no teacher student relationship or space for open discussions. The entire class oriented around him talked and constantly throwing vocabulary words at us and for some students it was quite difficult to keep their focus on him and not doze off. This method of teaching is challenging because at the end of the day you are exhausted with information and don’t know how to apply it to real life scenarios because you don’t have an understanding of the key concepts. The banking concept mirrors an oppressive relationship that is almost antagonistic in ways and can be harmful. The banking concept of education doesn’t allow space for critical thinking or an understanding between the two parties. Freire proposes a solution to the banking concept of education and advocates a new model of relationship between the teacher and student that no longer would be one sided. This would be called the problem-posing method of education. He proposed that the learner in a teacher-student relationship should be treated as a co-creator of knowledge and not as a passive recipient of knowledge, making the relationship the opposite of oppressive.

The world is not a static reality but it is ever changing and the way that we educate should be adaptive of that fact. We learn from new things and experiences throughout our lives and the crucial years of schooling should give us opportunities to further expand our critical thinking skills to connect to the world that we live in. My freshman teacher in high school encouraged me to break out of my shell and be more confident by motivating me through his various teaching styles. He would make the lesson versatile allowing for all the different learners to benefit. We would not only talk about social students through the viewpoint of the textbook but we would connect issues from the past to current day. This allowed everyone to using their critical thinking skills and allowed an open discussion that everyone felt comfortable with sharing their opinions. We would use what we learned and apply it to the real world and come up with potential solutions to bigger social and political issues. The problem posing education is referred to as prophetic and almost revolutionary and the solution to the education that is suffering.

Present day education fails because they are only preparatory and information is taught just for the heck of it, with little to no real-world skills being taught. Both John Dewey and Paulo Freire urged the importance of experience and democracy in education. These two philosophers show interesting parallels with respect to education being a collective effort and having a student led environment, rather than the educator imposing texts without applications. As an educator one day I wish to be part of the change to this paradigm. I wish to have a classroom like Callie and adapt her teaching style. She does a superb job at having a healthy teacher-student relationship that flourishes as she imposes the problem-posing perspective of education. She allows the students to think critically and have their own voice and opinions, rather than her giving them information to memorize and intake, without processing the material. An ideal teaching style for me is where students can relate real life issues to what is taught in the classroom and form their own conclusions that better help them understand society. The educator and the student should have a cohesive relationship and work together and demonstrate their knowledge in a way where they feel empowered. Education should be taught in a manner that allows students to keep their uniqueness, independence and still keeps them eager to learn more.

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How We Need to Reform Today's Education. (2021, Dec 25). Retrieved from

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