Percy Walker and Freire Paulo
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Percy Walker (2005) introduces his article by first narrating a relatively long anecdote which covers half the article. His anecdote is based on the Grand Canyon and proves quite relevant when one starts reading the second part of the article. Under this anecdote he brings up the issues laymen and theorists. Furthermore, the author touches on sovereignty. The author claims that laymen, in most cases, surrenders sovereignty to the experts. At this point the author directly touches on the readers, “a reader may surrender sovereignty over that which has been written about, he then relates this to a consumer, just as a consumer may surrender sovereignty over a thing which has been theorized about” (Percy 3). From this far in the anecdote the author is trying to bring out the vulnerability of the reader or rather the students. In this manner the author shows how powerless a student is having no option but just to take what the teacher and what the system offers.
Freire Paulo (2004) adopts a more direct approach on the student role. He dubs the student-teacher relationship as narrative. He describes the teachers as the narrating subject while the students are seen as the listening objects. Freire depicts the student to be in the same plight as Percy had described early above. Freire is quite generous with his choice of words and claims that this narration turns students into, “containers, or receptacles which are meant to be filled by the teacher” (Freire 1). The author still uses more terms like depositories meaning where narrative education is deposited. The author gives the implicated meaning of a good student, “the more meekly the receptacles permit themselves to be filled the, the better students they are” (Freire 1). The two authors agree on the role the students have been pused to assume the receiving of knowledge as it is given without any questioning or reasoning.
According to Freire (2004), better students are those who perceive the challenges they face and as a result accordingly respond to the challenges. He claims that responding to such challenges will evoke new challenges which bring about new understanding and finally leading the students regarding themselves as committed (page 4). Both articles have successfully shown the position students are forced to take up by the prevailing education system. The agreement is unanimous that the students need to be freed from this position and elevated to a position where they can contribute and participate in the actual learning rather than just acting as containers meant for deposition of knowledge.
Both writers subject the teachers to severe criticism. The teachers are extensively used to show the weakness of the education system. Both writers expose teachers as great failures and further as bridges through which the students are moved to the world of ignorance. In the banking concept of the Paulo Freire, the teachers are assumed to take the role of depositors. They are seen as faithful depositors who are committed to their deposition process. The problem, according to Freire is what is being deposited. Freire describes what is being deposited by the teachers unto the students as, “contents which are detached from reality, disconnected from the totality that engendered them and could give them significance” he further claims that the contents are, “emptied of their concreteness and become a hollow, alienated, and alienating verbosity” (Freire, 2004, par. 1).
Percy (2005) is in agreement with Freire concerning the emptiness of the narration of the teachers iin the light of the students. He goes forth to claim that this is so because the teacher is not aware of the existence of any problem, “the great difficulty is that he is not aware that there is a difficulty” (Freire 4). He presses on with his examination to pass on the blame to the education system by implicating it as presenting the information in unfit ways- only understood by the teachers. Percy implicates teachers with double deprivation in the way they package the teaching: he gives the example of a student in a zoology laboratory.
In general the two authors put teachers under fire for one big mistake of presenting knowledge in a manner that can be said to be quite irrelevant to the student and yet expecting the student to understand what they are being taught. This forms a big gap between the teachers and the students. Another big problem which seem is highlighted through the examination of these authors is that the teachers in most cases are not aware of the existence of any difficulty on the part of the students. I call this double tragedy because if the teachers are not aware of the existence of as problem it will be relatively hard for the teachers to correct the: they are not aware of it.
Under the situation described by the two authors, a good teacher is one who is seemingly able to deposit lot narrations to the students. It should be noted that as one reads through the criticism presented by the authors, one gets to see the hidden picture of a good teacher. Simply said, a good teacher ought to avoid all the criticism presented by the authors: this will include ensuring that students understand what they teach rather than just narrating and reciting knowledge. A good teacher ought to come up with a creative way of packaging his thoughts to make them student friendly.
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