Reaction To Paul Freiri’s “Education For Critical Consciousness” Essays Examples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: People, Development, Literature, Brazil, Reality, Society, Nature, Human

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/12/22

Paul Freiri in his book “Education for Critical Consciousness” seeks to understand what sets human beings apart from other creatures in the universe. He is of the view that the nature of the relationships that people have amongst themselves and the universe at large brings this difference. According to him, man achieves a sense of separateness and openness to the universe such that he is able to view himself as a separate entity. Reality to him, therefore, is received not in a reflexive way as it is with other animals but in a reflective way which puts into consideration various times of history which are the past and the future. The main argument Freiri makes is that the human role in the world is not passive as it is to other animals; it includes an aspect of creative input that allows him to change or intervene in reality.
In interacting with the reality in his environment, people respond differently with some being integrative while others are adaptive. It is my view that the author supports the integrative response since he sees it as a combination of both adaption and critical capacity. The person, in this case, becomes the subject unlike in the adaption to the reality where a person is an object. Adapting to the reality is therefore viewed as a weak form of self-defense and man is supposed to be integrative in response to the reality. I, however, feel that the insistence of a common reaction to reality for all people as faulty since people act differently.
In the process of manipulating and responding to the reality, human beings experience the rise of historical epochs. These events in human history take shape due to the constant creation, recreation and decisions made by man. The changes that man experiences is therefore as a result of the themes and the tasks expected of a given time being fulfilled. Most of the people, however, are not move along with the changes with most remaining as spectators while others adopt the gregarious nature which is a weak form of response to the changes in history.
An example of such changes is the period of early 1900’s that Brazil experienced. The country sought to move from the closed society where a few were in control of the resources and power to a more homogeneous society. The old themes and perceptions on issues such as democracy freedom and education had run their course, and there needed to be a new perception to these themes. I agree with the author when he points out the importance of education in navigating through such changes. This is because it provides individuals with the capacity to deal with the dynamic nature of the changes.
During such changes, however, the new perceptions that rise are not adopted smoothly. They require input from the people which does not easily come by. Change in every set up always brings about collisions just like in the example the author gives. Brazilians had different responses to these changes, with some rooting for the change while others opting for retreat to the previous setup the people were used to. Like the experience in the Brazil shows, the new themes continue to push for establishment despite the opposition which is true when applied to the major historical advances that the world has made over time.
The Brazilian push for more open society with a homogeneous population paints the picture of what happens in every other human setting that experiences change. This is because there often rises contradicting forces which both try to have their way. In this example, some of the people wanted to maintain the status quo while others wanted to push for a change that allowed for more participation of the people in political activity. The society, therefore, becomes divided among those in favor of progress and others who just react mildly to the situation.
Freiri goes on to prescribe the kind of reaction that is perceived to be perfect when dealing with the dynamic nature of change. This is radicalization which according to him is a positive response that breeds critical ability and communication among the people. The radicals, in this case, do not impose their ideas on others but rather seek to convince in order to convert others of opposing ideas. The radicals due to their love are allowed to react violently to opposition from other groups. The major point however according to the author is that radicalization gives the best chance for change to be made in the positive direction.
The concept of assistentialism also rises during changes whereby external input is brought to aid the local situation. The author is opposed to this kind of scenario due to the assumption that the people are taken as recipients while they passively receive external help. This notion, however, is faulty since, in some situations, the people may not have the capacity to implement their own initiatives thus requiring the help and more input from external forces or those in power.
In the process of transition as in the Brazilian case, the process occurs in steps. A major step that the change has to successfully navigate through is that of naive transitivity. The author notes that in this stage problems that rise are not analyzed conclusively, and no productive dialogue or discussion takes place. There is, therefore, the danger of sectarian tendencies developing that are likely to hinder progression of the change. This is true for every societal change that occurs in the modern society whereby the threat of stagnation is always present.
Freiri then points at the role played by experience towards achieving any kind of change in the society. In any setting, the level of success of the perceived change is determined by the preparedness that the setup has for the change. In the Brazilian quest for a more democratic nature of governance, the country had no prior experience is such scenario. The previous experience was mostly made up of slavery and a system whereby a few rich people controlled all the power. Given this background, the people had already adapted to this kind of situation and were ready to continue with it. This willingness of the people to continue with the usual set up hindered the success levels of the push for democracy.
Even when a change in the society starts to be implemented, there are some portions of the old theme and their ideology that remain. Some of the new procedures applied may also not be in line with the spirit of the change. In the Brazilian example, Freiri notes that in the said democratic stance that the country took, a few rich people were still in control of decision making who later gave way to the graduates who came from European universities. They brought with them ideas from Europe, cultures that were different with that of Brazil. Their ideas on democracy could therefore not work in the country since they were not tailor made for Brazil. I tend to disagree with this position since in some instances, learning from others is beneficial. It lays the way that can be followed by countries new to the idea such that they avoid pitfalls and adopt best practices that have been proven to work.
The input of education therefore in the change process is highly regarded. The author notes that the education system put in place should be capable of raising the critical consciousness of the people such that they embrace the change well. Given the faulty Brazilian set up, for example, there rose the need for a review of the deficiencies in the educational system. The system in this case needed to be changed from the focus on irrelevant principles to that on research. The teachers needed to change their approach and work with the students and exchanging ideas rather than dictating ideas and giving lectures.
Freiri gives the example of the culture circle model that had that was perceived to improve the ability of people to understand the causality principle in reality. This approach replaced teachers with coordinators, lectures with dialogues and pupils with participants. This model generally improved the critical consciousness of the people that led to better understanding of the democracy principle.


As the author notes in his book, the relationships that humans have with the realities in the environment set them apart from animals. People, however, have different ways of responding to changes and historical epochs that inevitably occur in the society. There are proven ways through which people can respond or embrace the changes that circle around a more developed critical consciousness. This is because the critical nature makes up the essence of human beings who are not supposed to be reflexive of the realities around them, but rather reflective.

Works Cited

Freire, Paulo. Education for Critical Consciousness. Vol. 1. Bloomsbury Publishing, 1973.

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