Tensions and possibilities in applying Freirean critical pedagogy towards fostering critical literacy in India's education system
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The purpose of this thesis is to explore the possibilities in reinventing Freirean critical pedagogy in the context of Indian formal education, and to examine the tensions and limitations that emerge and that would need to be addressed in such an attempt. It argues that Brazilian educator Paulo Freire's model of critical pedagogy can offer useful ideas and possibilities for change in the formal education system in India that is currently suppressing critical education and thereby perpetuating inequality and oppression. However, inasmuch as current educational practice in India is embedded in a cultural worldview that is different from the cultural worldview which shaped Freire's thinking, his theory will have to be contextualized, in keeping with the ideals of humanization, epistemology, liberation, ontology and pedagogy that are valued in Indian society, in order to be reinvented successfully in the Indian context. To this end, the thesis will present a comparative study of Freirean critical pedagogy and the Indian culture of pedagogy in order to explore the following questions: What are some of the possibilities that a Freirean perspective can offer for a critique of the Indian culture of pedagogy? What are some of the possibilities that an Indian perspective can offer for a critique of the cultural specificities of Freire's worldview? What are some of the tensions between the two worldviews that would need to be addressed in order to successfully reinvent critical pedagogy in the context of Indian education, and what are some tentative ways to address these tensions? These questions will be answered by exploring the points of commonality and difference between the worldviews framing the Indian culture of pedagogy and critical pedagogy. Based on the specific historical, social, cultural and political context in which each of these pedagogies arose, the thesis will explore how the points of commonality between these two frameworks can allow them to speak to each other, and how the differences between them can be potentially reconciled. Postcolonial theory, Clarke's (2001) construct of "the culture of pedagogy," and critical pedagogy itself will together provide the conceptual lens through which these questions will be examined.