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Taking The Hierarchy out of the Room: Lets put an end to Oppressive Mentorship

The education of young people is crucial for their growth and development, and it is the responsibility of the adults to provide them with the best possible learning experience. However, traditional approaches to education have been criticized for their lack of inclusivity and effectiveness in empowering students. In his book "Pedagogy of the Oppressed," Paulo Freire presents a revolutionary model for education that is based on dialogue and collaboration rather than a traditional banking system of education. This model is particularly relevant in the context of mentoring young people because it emphasizes the importance of relationship-building and empowerment, which are essential components of effective mentoring. In this essay, I will discuss the key principles of the Paulo Freire model and explore how they can be applied to mentor young people effectively.



Overview of the Paulo Freire model:



The Paulo Freire model is based on the premise that traditional education systems are oppressive because they view students as passive recipients of knowledge rather than active agents of their own learning. According to Freire, this approach to education reinforces existing power structures and perpetuates social inequalities. To overcome this, Freire proposes a pedagogical approach that emphasizes collaboration and dialogue between the teacher and the student, which he calls the "problem-posing" approach.


In the problem-posing approach, the teacher and the student engage in a dialogue that is based on mutual respect and shared knowledge. Instead of the teacher being the sole authority figure, the teacher becomes a co-learner, and the student becomes a co-teacher. This approach encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for empowering students to take control of their own learning.


Another key aspect of the Paulo Freire model is the emphasis on praxis, which is the integration of theory and practice. Freire believes that education should not be limited to the classroom but should be applied to real-world situations. This approach encou


rages students to use their knowledge to address social issues and make positive changes in their communities.


Applying the Paulo Freire model to mentoring youth:



Now that we have an understanding of the key principles of the Paulo Freire model, let us explore how they can be applied to mentoring young people.

  • Building relationships based on mutual respect:

The foundation of the Paulo Freire model is the relationship between the teacher and the student. Similarly, the foundation of effective mentoring is a relationship based on mutual respect, trust, and understanding. As a mentor, it is essential to create a safe and welcoming environment where the young person feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. By building a relationship based on mutual respect, the young person is more likely to trust the mentor and engage in a dialogue that is meaningful and transformative.

  • Encouraging critical thinking and problem-solving:

The problem-posing approach to education encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Similarly, effective mentoring should encourage the young person to think critically and solve problems. The mentor should provide opportunities for the young person to explore different perspectives and ideas, and challenge them to think outside the box. This approach empowers the young person to take control of their own learning and develop skills that will be useful in their personal and professional lives.

  • Fostering collaboration and dialogue:

The Paulo Freire model emphasizes collaboration and dialogue between the teacher and the student. Similarly, effective mentoring should foster collaboration and dialogue between the mentor and the young person. This approach encourages the young person to participate actively in the mentoring process and provides them with a sense of ownership and responsibility for their own growth and development. By engaging in a dialogue, the mentor and the young person can work together to set goals, develop strategies, and evaluate progress.

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