Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Liberation Approach in Christian Education (5)

The liberation approach focus on the cultural and redemptive mandate of the church. It aims to confront the power structure in the world and in the church, and to allow people to become who they are meant to be. The goal is to develop an incarnational lifestyle where a Christian is fully engaged with the world.

Robert Pazmino in studying the teaching methods of the incarnate Jesus suggests the Galilean principle. He writes, “The Galilean principle calls for huddling that recognizes and honors differences and for mixing that affirms a greater unity along the various dimensions of educational practice…The Galilean principle honors the perspective of those who are marginalized and those who identified with the marginalized.” This Galilean principle is similar to the approach of Paolo Freire who postulates that traditional education is a closed system controlled by those in power.

With regards to the relationship between education and schooling, McKean writes,
schooling creates artificial hierarchical relationships, arbitrarily defines who and what is mature and immaturity, reduces each person with his or her unique and positive gifts, interests and characteristics to a few common denominators, promotes artificial competition and value system with resultant improper evaluations of self-worth and self-confidence, leads to misplaced motivations towards arbitrary definitions of achievement, and leads to unnatural fear of failure, schooling gets in the way of education.

The schooling model gives power to the teacher while withholding power from the students. Students are indoctrinated and manipulated so that some measurable desired outcomes are achieved. McKean further comments, “Given this definition of education, it can be seen why schooling is seldom educative, and why it is likely to be harmful”.

Instead Paolo Friere suggests that adults have the ability to teach themselves in an alternative problem-solving education system that is open.

The strength of this approach is that Christians are fully involved missionally with the world in confronting injustice and socioeconomic reformation. The weaknesses of this approach is that the Christian faith communities may have problem dealing with power, may be allied with political systems, and embrace liberation theologies.


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