Response to Article
1. Loewen observes the limitations of American education, especially relating to history. He is concerned that American students do not have accurate information concerning their country’s history. This is because of the inaccuracies present in history textbooks. The textbooks seek to pronounce the strengths of American history by glorifying the country, and presenting its leaders as heroes, instead of including the weaknesses and misjudgments of the leaders. This has in turn changed the perception of students, who, by reading their country’s history, fail to make any connections with the past. “The cover-up denies all students the chance to learn something important about the interrelationship between the leader and the led” (Loewen 28). The students have the wrong information of their country, and this influences their ability to learn from the past. Loewen’s ideas are similar to Freire, who observes the limitations of American education based on the relationship between the teachers and the students. Freire notes that American education has failed because of societal conceptions concerning education, where teachers are perceived to have all the knowledge, and the students do not know anything apart from what the teacher tells them. This is a misconception, which has led to the limited knowledge of both the teachers and the students. Since the teachers know everything, then there is no need for them to learn, and the students cannot challenge them in any way. As Freire observes in the first paragraph, “Education is suffering from narration sickness” (1). Loewen and Freire’s observations highlight the importance of reevaluating the American education system, in terms of the content in some of the subjects, and in the role of teachers to the students.
2. The issue that I find most interesting in Loewen’s argument is the misinformation presented in the country’s history, especially concerning the “heroification” of some of the people in history. The fact that historians choose to focus on the positive elements of some of the notable leaders in history and disregard their negative attributes means that the current leaders fail to learn from past mistakes. He notes, “Our educational media turn flesh-and-blood individuals into pious, perfect creatures without conflicts, pain, credibility, or human interest” (Loewen 19). Freire highlights the importance of having an education where the students are free to challenge the teachers. He observes the importance of not treating the students as having no knowledge of their own. In the sixth paragraph, Freire observes, “The teacher presents himself to his students as their necessary opposite, by considering their ignorance absolute, he justifies his own existence” (6). I believe that this is important because doing so will result to a more interactive classroom. It will change the classroom environment, and it will encourage teachers to continue learning since they will be aware of their limitations. I can relate to this conversation in different ways, especially concerning history. I had an interest in the history lessons, although I did not like the manner in which we were taught. Perhaps it was because of watching too many movies or the numerous accounts of historical events on the internet, but I always felt that the teachers were not telling us all the details during history classes. The textbooks were not helping either, and they seem to be retelling the information that the teacher had already told us in class. Thesis statements
1. Although teachers are knowledgeable and qualified on the issues they teach, they should consider the position of the students and not disregard their suggestions, based on the information the students might have acquired through their numerous interactions and experiences.
2. I agree with Freire’s argument concerning teachers acting as depositors of education and knowledge but I differ with him on the issue that the teachers choose and enforce their choice on the students, since there are more stakeholders involved in the design and content of the curriculum
Freire, Paulo. “The Banking Concept of Education.” Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Ed. Myra Bergman Ramos. New York: Continuum, 1993.
Greene, Stuart and April Lidinsky. From Enquiry to Academic Writing: A Text and Reader. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s
Loewen, James W. “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History TextbookGot Wrong.” Inquiry to Academic Writing a Text and Reader. Ed. Stuart Green and April Lidinsky. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s Boston, 2008.