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Paulo Freire

The Global Legacy


Edited By Michael A. Peters and Tina Besley

This collection is the first book devoted to Paulo Freire’s ongoing global legacy to provide an analysis of the continuing relevance and significance of Freire’s work and the impact of his global legacy. The book contains essays by some of the world’s foremost Freire scholars – McLaren, Darder, Roberts, and others – as well as chapters by scholars and activists, including the Maori scholars Graham Hingangaroa Smith and Russell Bishop, who detail their work with the indigenous people of Aotearoa-New Zealand. The book contains a foreword by Nita Freire as well as chapters from scholars around the world including Latin America, Asia, the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. With a challenging introduction from the editors, Michael A. Peters and Tina Besley, this much-awaited addition to the Freire archive is highly recommended reading for all students and scholars interested in Freire, global emancipatory politics, and the question of social justice in education.
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Chapter Twenty-Two: The Customer Knows Best: The Opposite of the Banking Concept in the Case of the United Arab Emirates



The Customer Knows Best: The Opposite of the Banking Concept in the Case of the United Arab Emirates


Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1989) has inspired a generation of educators to teach with the transformation of co-creative student learners in mind. To engage in dialogue rather than deposit information is at the heart of the critique of banking education, encouraging educators to be mindful of students’ best interests, as understood by the students themselves. This pedagogy is seen as inherently political and revolutionary, as it seeks not the maintenance of the status quo in society, but rather the consciousness-raising and revolutionary transformation of the oppressed class(es), as the teacher partners with students to learn and teach collaboratively using a problem-based approach.

As Freire has acknowledged, this perspective is not readily transportable, however. There are contexts in which applying pedagogy of the oppressed, presumably in contrast with the banking model, poses interesting challenges. In this chapter, postcolonial higher education in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be explored to consider unique implications of Freire’s educational perspective of pedagogy of the oppressed versus banking education in a radically different setting from that which Freire and many Freirean educators work within today. In the UAE, teaching faculty is recruited from Western, traditional centers of power, to teach according to students’ interests and needs. An inversion of the banking conception power dynamic is normalized, as these Western expat “laborer-bankers” are charged...

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