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In this dialogue I play a professor who invites Dreyfuss and Freire into my education class on the second day of the semester to lecture about their views on education. The dialogue begins at the beginning of the class.
Me: All right everyone! It’s time to settle in and get started! I’m very excited to kick off our education unit with a nice lecture on our central topic for the quarter, education!
Me: Oh stop it! It’s not your ordinary lecture. I have a treat for you all. I have asked some friends to come in and help discuss this huge topic. I’d like to introduce you all to Paulo Freire and Richard Dreyfuss!
Freire & Dreyfuss: waves. Smiles.
Me: Now, Freire, would you like to start it off for us?
Freire: Of course. Now, I guess education these days comes down to the oppressed and oppressors that oppress them…
Dreyfuss: Just one second…
Me: Just a minute Richard, you’ll have your time to state your thoughts. Go ahead Paulo.
Freire: Thank you. Now as I was saying, you all are the oppressed and your teacher here? Yes she is oppressing you.
Freire: Now, many of you have probably never thought of education in this way but it’s true. Instead of finding knowledge, it’s handed over to you. In that way you aren’t truly learning. The oppressors, or your teachers, have a false sense of generosity when they are just handing over information to you all, the oppressed. The only way for one to find knowledge is for the oppressed, you all, to liberate yourselves individually…
Dreyfuss: Ok, there are a couple of points I need to make. First of all, education is not an individual process. We, the people of this country need to work together to use education as a tool to better our nation as a whole, not individually.
Freire: How can we work together as a whole when the oppressed aren’t ready to become equals?
Dreyfuss: Please explain…
Me: Ok, ok gentlemen. Let’s just remember why we are here…
Freire: not even phased by last comment Because! The oppressed are afraid of freedom! They are aware of the responsibility it brings…
Dreyfuss: Afraid? It doesn’t matter! We are all people of the same nation and we all have to embrace the same responsibilities. We are responsible for bettering our country. One thing that would certainly help us in fulfilling our responsibilities well is civics.
Me: Civics Mr. Dreyfuss? Explain please.
Dreyfuss: Well, Civics can teach people reason and logic, something all of us need a little more of in order to better our country. If civics is taught, then the people can use reason to make the right decisions concerning our nation.
Me: Yes, I agree that civics would over all increase the knowledge in this country. But what are both of your views on how we can better…
Dreyfuss: Our country?
Freire: The Individual?
Me: I guess both…
Freire: Well, the individual needs praxis.
Freire: Yes, praxis. The individual needs to reflect on an action that they are about to act on, and then after the action, they must reflect again. After that reflection, they choose their next action. This all moves in a cycle and therefore forces the individual to reflect and really think about their actions.
Dreyfuss: I agree Paulo…
Me: in relief Oh thank you…
Dreyfuss: I agree with your cycle however I believe that it should not just be for the individual but we as a people should go through this cycle as a whole. We need to reflect on our democratic processes and how we work as a nation.
Me: Well, I agree with the cycle as well however I believe that before we can really reflect as a nation, we need to reflect on our individual actions first. Then, we need to reflect on our actions in relation to our nation. That way, we can contribute fully to the uprising of our country with the assurance of who we are as individuals.
Dreyfuss: I agree with reflecting on your individual actions in relation to our nation but the only problem is that what is the probability that enough individuals will actually go through this cycle?
Me: Well I’m pretty sure our ideas here or pushing for an ideal world of education.
Freire: Agreed. But back to Dreyfuss, I see that you are very much for the idea of democracy and our government. How do you feel about people depending on leadership in order to better the country?
Dreyfuss: I believe that no one person can better the country. This desired goal is going to be a long process and it has to be done by all the people in the nation, not just one leader. Besides, our country does not follow monarchy. We are a democracy and we are the people that elect our leaders so when it comes down to it, this leader is only a representation of who we are as a nation.
Freire: Yes, that’s right. I also believe that in order for the individual to be liberated, we cannot just rely on leadership. I believe that it may help but the individual must be motivated within him or herself to become liberated.
Me: I feel like the class and myself have seen your views rather clearly but for the sake of time, would you mind just linking back to education for a short moment, as impossible as that is?
Dreyfuss: Of course. Well, in the end we need to better our nation. We need to reflect on our democratic processes and take on the responsibilities of our nation. In order to do this well we need to be educated, in civics especially. If we are not educated as a whole, we will not take care of our responsibilities as citizens of this country and it will be impossible to better our nation.
Freire: If each individual gained liberation then each would truly gain knowledge. The handing-over of knowledge from oppressors to the oppressed is a false sense of generosity and creates a false sense of knowledge in the oppressed. The oppressed need to liberate themselves and personally experience knowledge to really learn.
Me: I hope that the class has learned as much as I have this lesson. I agree with Paulo that we individually need to liberate ourselves and I also agree with Richard on taking on the responsibilities of this nation as a whole. However, I believe that we need to do both and in between individual and nation, we need to reflect on ourselves as individuals in relation to the nation.
Student: Hey! That rhymes!
Me: Ok, I think we are done here. Thank you again Richard and Paulo. Class please thank your guests…