ERIC Number: ED396352
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Emancipatory Education without Enlightenment? Thais, Americans, and the "Pedagogy of the Oppressed."
Matzen, Richard N., Jr.
If the educational methods of Paulo Freire are imposed on Thais and other Asians, the outcome may not be the reinforcing of, but instead the losing of, their cultural identities. Freire reveals what are vital cultural assumptions for his pedagogy when defining "freedom, silence, confrontation, communication, and self" in "Pedagogy of the Oppressed." Thais, however, define these terms in radically different ways from Freire, and these radical differences raise serious concerns for some students who are required to participate in emancipatory education. Thailand has never experienced colonialism, and 90% of its people are farmers, not industrial or service workers. Buddhist monks have established traditional, as well as non-formal education--since the 13th century their temples and monasteries have been centers for education. The dilemma is that Freire thinks that traditional education is oppressive, yet traditional Buddhist education in Thailand has earthly and spiritual freedom as a goal. A Thai in America processes the culture and language through the filters of Thai language, culture, and Buddhism. A Thai will mistake signs of individualism for signs of status. Thais are likely to find themselves sitting in an American classroom, with problems of acculturation. A case study of a young Thai female immigrant shows just how difficult that acculturation can be. The questions that must be addressed are whether culture is possible without oppression and whether oppression is the only outcome of a non-Freirean education. (Contains 10 notes and 27 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Critical Pedagogy; Emancipatory Education; Freire (Paulo); Thai People; Thailand
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Pedagogy of the Oppressed Conference (Omaha, NE, March 21-23, 1996).