18 October, 2009


By Anton Widyanto

I would like to assert that if humans are rational creatures, then they need to have education. I also will say that if they have education, then they can explore their potentialities. If they can explore their potentialities, then they can free themselves. From these claims, then I conclude that if humans are rational creatures, then they can free themselves. Based on these premises and a conclusion, in this short paper I will discuss Freire’s thought on the importance of humanization in education process.

What I mean by rational creature in my first premise is that all humans have reason that differentiate them from other animals. Reason is also an inner power of humans that can make them explore almost everything in this world for their prosperity and safety such as water, land, animal, wood, rocks, etc. Through reason, humans also can differentiate the good and the bad for their lives. In brief, through reasons they can build or destroy civilization. There is much evidence support this claim. From the evolution of humans in history, for instance, we can see that every period has its civilization. The invention of fire, knife, weapons, electricity, etc. is basically intended for human prosperity and safety. However, as there is always an evolution of civilization, a dominant civilization usually will change another civilization. This will go on and on.
Next, regarding potentiality in my second premise above, basically still relates to the existence of reason. What I mean by potentialities here are multiple intelligences that every human has. Essentially, every human is unique. One can have intrapersonal intelligence, or musical intelligence. Others can have linguistic or kinesthetic intelligence, and so on. All of these potentialities can be developed through education and experience.
Furthermore, as I have noted above through three premises that “if humans are rational creatures, then they need to have education”; the second premise is “if they have education, then they can explore their potentialities” and, the third premise is “If they can explore their potentialities, then they can free themselves”. Therefore it follows with a conclusion that “if humans are rational creatures, then they can free themselves”.
Freedom, according to Freire is an important objective of education. He says, “education as the practice of freedom –as opposed to education as the practice of domination- denies that man is abstract, isolated, independent, and unattached to the world; it also denies that the world exists as a reality apart from people” (p. 81). Hence, he really opposes banking education because “in the banking concept of education, knowledge is a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those whom they consider to know nothing” (p. 72). Moreover, “banking education resists dialogue…inhibits creativity and domesticates (although it cannot completely destroy) the intentionality of consciousness by isolating consciousness from the world, thereby denying people their ontological and historical vocation of becoming more fully human (pp. 83-84). In other words, banking education will perpetuate the oppression of people currently oppressed. Thus, it will suppress reasons to develop potentialities, creativities, and also freedom of the oppressed. Briefly speaking, it will dehumanize them.
Education, according to Freire, should humanize people by liberating them from any oppression, and develop their reasons and potentialities. Therefore, Freire supports problem posing education because it “regards dialogue as indispensable to the act of cognition which unveils reality…problem posing education bases itself on creativity and stimulates true reflection and action upon reality…problem posing education affirms men and women as historical beings; problem posed theory and practice take the people’s historicity as their starting point” (pp. 83-84).
Freire’s idea above is still very actual and applicable today. However, I think, it will be very hard to implement in place where the culture of feudalism still takes place. What I mean by the culture of feudalism here is beliefs on the class system in social construction. Unfortunately, it will be complicated when it is also supported by people’s understanding on religion teachings such as Hinduism that believe in castes. In addition, since the oppression might also happen at home, I think there must be synchronization between home and school in order to eradicate banking education. Otherwise, there will be discontinuity between them. Although it is hard, I do not think that it is impossible to implement. It needs time and a strong commitment from the stakeholders.

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