The cornerstone to improving educational practice/environments is leadership with people. Only through facilitation can a leader unveil the world that those whom are powerless must perceive, “in order for the oppressed to be able to wage the struggle for their liberation, they must perceive the reality of oppression not as a closed world from which there is no exit, but as a limiting situation which they can transform” (Freire, 2002, 49). The fact is that seeing situations as limiting and not as absolute is the first step in, not only transforming educational practice, but in transforming anyone’s life. A leader/teacher (the terms are so interchangeable that from here on out, there will be used freely) must approach his students with compassion for their humanity, not as instruments of his own. “A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, than by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust” (Freire, 2002, 60). Actions for others do nothing if those actions to not affirm other’s lives. Trust is the basic element; when one does not trust others, he negates their ability to function as intelligent beings, self-functioning and personally capable. When anyone believes that they alone have answers for others, then that person does not believe in that others can process their own lives in their own terms and therefore, does not trust others. The disruption of the powerful leader can begin when a student (or follower) demands to be heard as a responsible person. Only then can leadership begin: when all people are recognized as equal and deserving of the right to become more human. This only happens when a leader acts with those whom he leads.
If leadership as described above is the cornerstone to change educational settings, the delegation of power, then, is the method, “education must begin with the solution of the teacher-student contradiction, by reconciling the poles of the contradiction so that both are simultaneously teachers and students” (Freire, 2002, 72). The solution and reconciliation of the poles lies in the delegation of power. When any individual holds power and does not allow others to share in the power, then he seeks to limit those over whom he holds power. The resolution of the power differential lies in the recognition that both teacher and student are in the same time and place and neither can dominate time or space exclusively. Therefore, both are subjects of a greater power, the power of time and space: reality as it exists.
In order to become able to approach the world critically and define for themselves how reality exists, a student must first have freedom. A teacher can provide the first space in a student’s life where he or she is free to express their humanity. In expressing that humanity, the world in itself can change, “The fulfillment of humankind as human beings lies in the fulfillment of the world. If for a person of the world of work to be totally dependent, insecure, and permanently threatened, if their work does not belong to them…Work that is not free ceases to be a fulfilling pursuit and becomes an effective means of dehumanization” (Friere, 2002, 145).” Dependence, insecurity and threat derives from not having power. If a student begins to think independently, secure that they are being acknowledged, and not afraid, then he or she will gain freedom and in gaining freedom, will gain power.