O legado de Paulo Freire nos Estados Unidos da América: entrevista com Ira Shor
Ira Shor is one of the first academics to translate conceptually the critical pedagogy of Paulo Freire to a North American context. However, as will be made clear in the interview, the context in which Shor first developed his critical pedagogy was, and remains, very different then Freire’s context in Brazil. Instead of educating illiterate rural folk in Brazil, Shor has worked primarily with students in New York City’s public university system--the City University of New York (CUNY)--who come from some of the poorest neighborhoods of the city. Frequently, these students are immigrants or children of immigrants for whom English is not their first language. And the English that they do speak is formed by the local dialects and idioms found throughout the five boroughs of New York City. In high school, these students have become accustomed to an authoritative education. While other students in the city, who live in more affluent neighborhoods, with better public schools or whose parents can afford to pay for private schools, often have a generally pleasant experience with teachers who show interest in their development, the students whom Shor generally teachers at the College of Staten Island have had an educational experience full of rules, imperatives, orders, and threats of sanction placed upon them by authoritative education. Insead of being a role model, or even a friend, the teachers of these students more often than not play the role of educational cop: they are in the classroom to catch their linguistic errors “in the act” and punish them with a complex system of grading that is difficult to comprehend. Because of this pedagogical tendency, lots of students, by the time they arrive at CUNY already incorporated a defense strategy against the authoritarian classroom: it’s better if the teacher doesn’t know my name. That way I can pass the class and “survive.”
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