Welcome back fellas! Now I am down on to my 5th module in EDS 131. Here I have learned a lot from Freire and Mezirow about adult learner and achieving critical consciousness. In this module, there are 3 blog questions that we may choose. I chose two of them—How would you (I) use dialogue to foster critical consciousness in your (my) home, work/activities, and place of learning and; what suggestions can you (I) advance with respect to “creating protective learning environments in which the conditions of social democracy necessary for fostering transformative learning are fostered” (Mezirow, 2000).
I will go on first to the former question above. In order for me to fully answer this question, I should define primary what critical consciousness is. Freire (1973) gives the assumption that one must achieve “critically transitive consciousness”. According to him,
Critical transitive consciousness is characterized by depth in the interpretation of problems; by the substitution of causal principles for magical explanation; by the testing of one’s ‘findings’ and by openness to revision; by the attempt to avoid distortion when perceiving problems and to avoid preconceived notions when analyzing them; by refusing to transfer responsibility; by rejecting passive positions; by soundness of argumentation; by the practice of dialogue rather than polemics; by receptivity to the new for reasons beyond more novelty and by the good sense not to reject the old just because it is old—by accepting what is valid in both and new. (Freire, 1973),
As you can see, the “practice of dialogue” (Freire, 1973) per se is critically transitive consciousness. So how could I foster critical consciousness through dialogue?
Dialogue is crucial in acquiring learning and knowledge. It is also important to say that it is one of the ways to express one’s feeling, desire, perception and the like. One could even get in to reflection by merely having dialogue to oneself (self-reflection) or to others. Thus, to answer the question—in order to promote critical consciousness I must: (1) have a radical thinking whenever having a conversation/dialogue to someone; (2) critically consult the existing problem to the person involve; (3) self-reflect on the problem or assumptions that are present to the dialogue; (4) know the perception of the others and not to impose my perception but accept and respect other’s opinion; and (5) try to see the similarities of the assumptions that the dialogue produced and withhold the assumptions or arguments until new assumptions evolve.
Being radical means respecting other’s perception while holding on to your own belief. A radical person may opt to convince a person to his arguments but he/she would not “crush his [/her] opponent” (Freire, 1973). By being radical in using dialogue, one could be critically conscious to the assumptions of every individual. But this does not mean that you could let others oppressed you, it is just that you are trying to have a meaningful dialogue or conversation with the one you are trying to communicate with. This meaningful dialogue would help you achieve critical consciousness because it would not block learning from others and would not let you live in your own (closed) frames of reference. This could in fact lead you into having your frames of references (meaning perspective, habit of minds and mind sets) (Mezirow, 2000) into wider perspective.
Now, I will move on to the second question posted above. Mezirow (2000) stated that “[a]dult educators [must] create protected learning environments in which the conditions of social democracy necessary for transformative learning are fostered.” Hence, in order to promote protected learning environment, adult educators must assume their roles in the learning process as co-learner of the existing learners or students. He must break the traditional authoritative view on teachers-learners relationship. One must also have a meaningful dialogue with the learners in constructing and knowing the context in which they are founded. The adult educator must also promote self-reflection, critical consciousness, and awareness on the present assumptions of individuals and his/her self. Moreover, the educator must also encourage the learners to fully engage on the dialogue or learning activities that they are having. Lastly, an adult educator must make sure that each assumption and arguments were taken into consideration and no one must put into spot of condemnation or criticism. Each must have the freedom to express their own perceptions. With this I think, social democracy is fostered.
Freire, P. (1973). Society in Transition. In P. Freire, Education for Critical Consciousness (pp. 3-20). New York: The Seabury Press.
Mezirow, J. (2000). Learning to Think like an adult: Core Concepts of Transformation theory. In J. Mezirow, & et. al., Learning as Transformation: Critical Perspectives on a theory in progress, Chapter 1 (pp. 3-33). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.