The school for social awareness

Fe280911 Tamara Traubman and Yulie Khromchenko write for

“This year, over 30 years after the publication of Freire’s book, the Seminar Hakibbutzim Teachers College, Tel Aviv, is making history and for the first time in Israel, is opening a special program to train teachers using the critical pedagogy approach.

Freire, a professor of education from Brazil, taught reading and writing in the 1950s and 1960s to illiterate, lower-class adults in his native country. After a military coup in Brazil in the mid-1960s, he was persecuted politically and exiled.

When he returned to Brazil in 1980, he joined the workers’ party there and became responsible for the education department of the city of Sao Paolo. His theory is based on his teaching experience and sees conventional education as a means for preserving social classes. “A banking education” is how he referred to the process in which the teachers act like banks depositing knowledge in the students’ heads, and he proposed ways of reducing the social gaps through education…

…The director of Seminar Hakibbutzim, Dr. Yossi Assaf, is aware of the sensitive nature of opening such a program at a teacher training college that is funded by the Ministry of Education. “This ideology does entail a cry against the establishment,” he said, in an effort to explain why no such program had opened in any academic educational institution in Israel until now. “It’s an ideology with harsh messages, that describes the education system as one that maintains gaps, so that it is natural that the system would not be the most welcoming place to host such a program.” However, he adds, every teacher training program is continuously deliberating over and maneuvering between the need of the teacher, as an educational leader, to react to the political reality and the system’s requirement that the teacher be a proponent of the state and nonpolitical.”

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