Wednesday, June 2
I recently sat down and reread Paulo Friere’s book Education for Critical Consciousness as part of some research into the deeper purposes of inventing a category called soft skills. My interest lay in the question of who benefits from this category: the learner or the teacher?
Soft skills reminded me, as a category, of Friere’s concept of extension, which he uses to explain the difference between knowledge that peasants receive and knowledge that they discover. The former becomes a burden, a set of instructions that they must carry out, while the latter becomes a way of looking at the world.
The role of the educator is not to “fill” the educatee with “knowledge”, technical or otherwise. It is rather to attempt to move towards a new way of thinking in both educator and educatee, through the dialogical relationships between both. The flow is in both directions. The best student… is not one who memorises formulae but one hwo is aware of the reason for them.
You will find that on page 109 in my copy.
As I walk down Rautjärventie, thinking about this, I come across this sticker on an electrical box. I wonder if the person with the sticker had this kind of thought in mind: if they thought of the invader as someone who arrived with the (soft) power to “fill” people with ideas, as hegemonic white male American culture has done for a century or so, or whether they had more recent immigrants and refugees in mind.
Sadly I suspect the latter.