UGS 2013: Week 2 Reflection

In last week’s class time, we watched the video by RSA Animate and discussed how the education system is one that promotes passivity and standardization without taking into account that we learn in various ways. At the same time, Paulo Freire argues that dialogue within the classroom is necessary for liberation with a focus on both theory and practice. He explains that

“true dialogue cannot exist unless the
dialoguers engage in critical thinking — thinking
which discerns an indivisible solidarity between the
world and the people and admits of no dichotomy
between them — thinking which perceives reality
as process, as transformation, rather than as a static
entity — thinking which does not separate itself from
action, but constantly immerses itself in temporality
without fear of the risks involved.”

How is fear used to dismiss dreams, possibility, and critical thinking within our education system and other institutions? What does learning without fear look like to you? How do we work to achieve that in a community garden?


One thought on “UGS 2013: Week 2 Reflection

  1. My favorite quote from the Paolo Friere reading is:

    “One of the most important tasks of critical education practice is to make possible the conditions in which the learners, in their interaction with one another and with their teachers, engage in the experience of assuming themselves as social, historical, thinking, communicating, transformative, creative persons; dreamers of possible Utopias, capable of being angry because of a capacity to love.”

    I feel like it captures the tone of his work very effectively. To me, this quote represents the opportunity for students and teachers to adress each other equally, and in turn, further respect each other. This diminishes the subtle perception of being inferior to a teacher. Paolo Friere reminds us that the purpose of teachers are to help ignite the passion of students by encouraging them to realize their full potential. To me, the last two phrases means that students should care about issues strongly enough to invest personally in them. I feel that this is the utimate objective of education: to understand the world around you and feel alive because of your interaction with it.
    I think there is a widespread fear in our education system of being rejected from what we are taught to be ideal futures like “The American Dream”. In other words, people might consider our current education system to be brainwashing students to believe that there is no alternative — that you shall be successful by earning a college degree, get rich from a high-paying job, start a healthy family, and live in a nice house with a picket fence. First of all, everyone should know that “success” is highly subjective. Everything from being a pornstar to a United Nations leader can be considered successful. Secondly, the word “rich” is also highly subjective. You can be rich with anything, in any way.
    Quoting Jose Mujica, who many believe to be the poorest president, “I’m called ‘the poorest president’, but I don’t feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more.” In this case, Mr. Mujica is rich with content, at least. Who are people to tell us that that can’t make us happy? Unfortunately, that is what the traditional education system is attempting to mold our minds into, more or less. We are learning from a frame that is outdated to the point where it can be counterproductive.
    Fear is a fundamental emotion that is primarily associated with the unknown. For example, racism is sparked by fear because of how people choose to acknowledge unfamiliar cultural differences. Learning without fear means to realize the alternatives that lie off the beaten path — to actually embrace the unknown. Ideally, this would inspire an open mind. In regards to the community garden, we should utilize our open minds to expand our horizons and ultimately, draw from our plentiful experiences to realize and appreciate who we are.

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