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The Philosophy of Education: Freire’s Critical Pedagogy

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Applied Philosophy for Health Professions Education

Abstract

Multiple social, educational, and clinical discourses influence medical education but few more so than the strongly positivist biomedical tradition, the Foucauldian clinical gaze, and societal privilege. Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy offers a radical reorientation for medical education, focusing on power and structural inequalities. Freire denounced the mindless banking models of education, instead advocating the development of conscientização (critical consciousness), a phenomenological way of being in the world and with the world that flattens power structures and empowers learners to address inequality. Using a case study of teaching undergraduate medical students within the clinical context of General Practice in a UK medical school, we demonstrate and model the affordances of this clinical domain to move past the banking model approach, building disruptive dialogic and dialectic educational activities. Personal clinical storytelling and the use of pedagogy as an activist endeavours to embrace knowledge as generative, shared, interactive, co-constructed, and goal-orientated. We end this chapter with a series of suggestions for others to move beyond the banking approach in medical education toward the development of critical consciousness in future doctors.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    We use the term “discursive” here to signify a reflective practice through language use.

  2. 2.

    We offer the following as possible starting points: first, consider long cherished ideas and assumptions, and try to trace their roots; what influences are acting on teachers, and what innate values are they oriented to? What is their purpose in taking part in educational activity? Dialogue with oneself and others is a way of life for critical pedagogy and can be easily introduced through supportive teacher development.

  3. 3.

    Drawing strongly on Freire, the concept is that the audience take part in the artistic work as ‘spect-actors’, creating an unusual dialogue which both analyses and challenges inequalities. See Boal (1985) for more.

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Correspondence to Jennifer L Johnston .

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Johnston, J.L., Hart, N., Manca, A. (2022). The Philosophy of Education: Freire’s Critical Pedagogy. In: Brown, M.E.L., Veen, M., Finn, G.M. (eds) Applied Philosophy for Health Professions Education. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-1512-3_8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-1512-3_8

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