As much as third world countries have bared much of the brunt as far as the drastic effects that stem from illiteracy are concerned, the industrialized countries are also facing a crisis. It is estimated that around 60 million Americans are functionally uneducated. The repercussion for these soaring numbers is in-depth yet nothing is being done to address this issue. If the global illiteracy levels are not addressed, it will exacerbate an already worse situation. Numerous weak democratic institutions could convert into unfair asymmetrical power relations that have been typical of the contradictory nature of today’s democracies (Lunsford 45).
The actual inconsistency in the use of democracy is observed in the US where ‘Government Democracy’ is perceived as a government system. In this kind of system, businessmen have power over the ruled by virtue of the fact that they control the private society while the majorities marginalized in the population observe in silence. Comprehended in this way, democracy has been transformed into a system of public ratification and elite decisions (Lunsford 46).
In an effort to comprehend objectivity and subjectivity in the dialectical relationship of the limitations and promise of conscientization, individuals in the society transform themselves into tramps of the obvious where they attempt to demystify conscientization. In the end, the obvious changes appear into the object of people’s critical reflections. Paulo believes that in order for people to transform their societies, they need to demystify their theory and practice through critical reflections. This will ensure that the oppressed and marginalized in the society make the elites sleepless as they ponder on how to solve their problems. Through this, the marginalized may be restless but they will not become impatient until they achieve their goals. It is therefore critical that the marginalized and oppressed in the society behave as though they are trumps of the obvious in the articulation of their demands for a just society because the gains in the end are very considerable (Lunsford 45).
It would be reasonable to conclude that Paulo’s influence has been holistic as far as his proposal for a radical approach in dealing with illiteracy is concerned, whether in the western world or in the undeveloped nations. If education is to realize its goals to enlighten the oppressed rather than oppressing them, it should be implemented as a pedagogy of knowing. Education for freedom should not be hijacked to teach a political flavored ideology, but be employed as a platform to transmit ideas of the rulers in spite of how good it may appear. Teachers should not misuse education to sell their own propaganda to the recipients. This is because knowledge and teaching are dialogic in disposition and their interaction is dependent on the involved parties being aware of themselves; an attitude that is christened by Paulo as conscientization. The importance of this consciousness stems from a philosophical perception of language that can only be assured by a philosophical sound mind (Lunsford 45).
Central to Paulo knowing pedagogy is the fact that through knowing the world, one can eventually change it. Education should not be substituted by political action; however, it is indispensible to politicians given the fact that it plays a critical role in developing critical consciousness. This is sequentially pegged on language’s transforming power. This is so because letter and sound are matched with each other as well as their connotative meaning. It is argued by Paulo that it would not only be counterproductive but also impossible for teachers to ridicule magical thinking and kill superstitious belief. This he argues stems from the fact that pre-critical thought is still thought; hence, should not be rejected but respected. Therefore, the important undertaking for the adult literacy process is to grant the means through which this kind of transformation can occur (Lunsford 46).
Teacher’s recognition entails appreciating what learners know and respecting this knowledge. In addition, this recognition entails assessments. Paulo acknowledges that it is a rhetorical virtue to be nonjudgmental; hence, this is not a rational alternative. It is a must that stakeholders acknowledge and respect different languages, the plurality of voices, and the variety of discourses. They should not take a neutral stance even though it is important that they are tactful in their approach. Since all activities by man are directional, then they are objective in nature. Teachers have a challenge to decline to be used as instruments of propagating the epistemological, pedagogical, and political task of the rulers who want to maintain the status quo of ensuring that the majority marginalized remain in that position forever. The principal reinvention that must be assumed by radical teachers is the articulation, evaluation, recognition, and direction of purpose occur (Lunsford 68).
Paulo believes that for teachers to be successful, they should learn from their students through dialogue. Through this, he strikes the reader as one who has a thoroughly pragmatic, imaginative, re-inventive, and inventive practice. He believes that the lecture should not be favored as the only convention genre. He further argues that teachers should tramp around the clear irony of lectures through dialogic action. Since lectures are out models, radical teachers should not cling to them in their conferences and classrooms. Therefore, a unquiet pedagogy portents that radical teachers should rock the boat. He proposes that the best way of doing it would be to make it challenging for the function and format of teachers professional meetings. The message being conveyed by Paulo is that ‘the way to transformation is transformation.’ Unless teachers stop being theoretical and back their words with action, they will not change the system.
Paulo’s life shaped his ideals and perspectives in life. His radical writings stem from a past he recounts. Part of the environment of his immediate world was the world of his elders’ language. The manner in which they expressed their values, fears, tastes, and beliefs linked his world to a broader one whose existent he could not deduce. In an effort to recount his far-flung childhood in order to comprehend his act of reading, the specific world in which he moved calmed and recreated his experiences at a time when he was not capable of reading words. In his tender age, he feared ghosts but through the power of words, he started to confront his fears as he became knowledgeable via reading. This is what he portents for contemporary teachers that; if they can be knowledgeable they will confront their fears for knowledge is power (Lunsford 91).
Paulo is quick to add that his reading of the world around him did not result into any of premature growth. His curiosity did not distort his boyhood. Neither did the comprehension of his world cause him to disparage the enthralling mystery he gained from it. He was actually aided and not disheartened by his parents. His parents initiated him into reading when he had reached a certain level in his spirited attempts to comprehend his immediate world. The interpretations of the word he read started flowing freely from his mind. It did not appear to him that this experience had been superimposed on him. He gained knowledge on reading and writing on the ground of the backyard of his parents’ house with words from his world, and not from the greater world inherent in his parents. In this setting, the earth became his blackboard, while the sticks were his chalk (Lunsford 92).
Paulo recounts his early life experiences in order to let the world know that if people can be focused on eradicating illiteracy, they will win. This is because it is not about having enough resources and teachers to prevail against it; rather it is about having the right mindset and the “we can do it” attitude. He clearly illustrates this by asserting that when, for example, a student and his teacher pick a pen in their hands, they both tend to feel the object. This means that they can both make verbal expressions of what they feel. Like Paulo, the student albeit illiterate, can perceive that indeed he has a pen in his hands. However, due to Paulo’s positive attitude, he was not only able to feel the pen but he was also able to write with it at a very young age without the assistance of teachers.
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