Local Knowledge Fall 2001 Pedagogy of the Oppressed essay questions

If you choose to write about Pedagogy of the Oppressed:

Pick one question and address it in a 5-page double-spaced paper, with a 6th page for bibliography. Use one style sheet for both citations and bibliography (MLA is recommended, but another style sheet would be acceptable as long as you use it consistently). The paper should be stapled.

You may design your own question or inquiry, if you choose, but make sure it offers you the opportunity to deepen your understanding of what you read–in a focused, and specific way. Please be sure to make the inquiry explicit in your paper, preferably, in the first or second paragraph.

Both final and critiqued drafts of your paper (addressing Freire or the complex of readings around Timber Country) are due Tuesday, Nov. 9th in seminar.



1. Freire writes that dialogue cannot exist without hope (91). Based on your reading of Pedagogy of the Oppressed what would you say is the source of Freire's hope? How does "hope" arise from--or give rise to--his pedagogy? Consider seriously his assertions about human nature, human vocation and dialogue to inform your discussion. Be specific and thoughtful in addressing the main concepts here. If appropriate, ground your discussion with references to a film we’ve seen or a text we’ve read.

2. What is literacy in Pedagogy of the Oppressed? Discuss the relationships between literacy and freedom, community, and social change. Work through the implications of Freire’s statement that "to speak a true word is to transform the world" (86) as well as his position that "no one can say a true word alone" (87). Can you offer a practical example–from our texts, or from community work you’ve done–of what literacy work looks like, or could look potentially look like in this context?

3. From our readings, screenings, or fieldtrips, choose–or design–a "code". Imagine a group examining the code together. What sorts of stories, issues, experiences might be evoked? What sorts of generative themes could be identified? How could serious inquiry into the themes be structured and supported? What possibilities for speech, awareness, analysis and action could be generated?

4. Explain and analyze significant differences between banking methods of education and problem-posing education. Give attention to both theory and practice, making sure to discuss and explain key concepts, but also addressing how they work in actual situations. You may draw on your own experience, but if so, please be reflective and analytical about how you’ve experienced one or both methods and their implications. As a result of this reflection you should be able to construct a thoughtful definition and explanation of literacy and perhaps some criteria for evaluating it. Let Freire accompany you in this discussion–support your ideas with quotes.