My experience’s in life have taught me, most of all, to be aware of power differentials and the way those power differentials develop and operate. As part of this awareness, there are two concepts that demonstrate the entire body of knowledge: (1) diagram one illustrates the conceptual system that I have distilled from my like and work, and (2) a simple quote from Paolo Freire.
The diagram above demonstrates the conceptual system that I truly believe operates on any educational or personal level. There is no one beginning or one end within the system, these concepts all co-emerge. This system is in a constant developmental state and evolves over time. The way this system works is that culture informs education and language, language and education then inform power differentials. The entire system is not neutral, that is, if people’s culture of origin does not reflect the dominant culture, then their language and their education may not provide them with capital within the dominant culture. Therefore, if they do not posses cultural capital that education provides, they will have less power within the dominant culture. However, they may have cultural capital within their culture of origin which provides them power within their respective systems, but not as much outside those systems.
The simple quote from Freire (2002), is, “I engage in dialogue not necessarily because I like the other person. I engage in dialogue because I recognize the social and not merely the individualistic character of the process of knowing” (p. 17). According to this statement, knowledge is a relationship that emerges from a social, as well as, an individual perspective. What someone knows can only be applied outside him or herself.
To illustrate: One Saturday afternoon, I was over at my wife’s Uncle’s house with my wife. The three of us were sitting around the kitchen table discussing all kinds of things. As were talked, a certain old song came up. Next thing I knew, both her uncle and I had a guitar in our hands. We were all singing and just generally having a good time. This particular Saturday afternoon summed my entire education.
There was no one in control. The music was a common language in which we all participated in sharing. We were all participating from our respecive perspectives. And I know that I learned something. The process through which I came to know was social: Though I know how to play a guitar, if there is no communication about that knowledge, then it little more tha a self-indlugent exercise. I prefer the communal process of sharing and creating new knowledge.
In my opinion, there was true dialogue that Saturday afternoon. There were no qualitative assessments; there was just real, honest dialogue. There was no judgement and when judgment and control are removed from an setting, communication can then ermerge.