What? How does Freire explain the relationship between practice, theory, and knowledge? Do you see connections with Freire? (Remember to cite from the readings to support your interpretation.)

In the eyes of Freire, practice, theory, and knowledge are all related. He believes that practice is the act of obtaining knowledge and knowledge is the information that theory draws upon in order to theorize an explanation. “Without practice there’s no knowledge,” says Freire, “But also practice itself is not its theory. It creates knowledge but it’s not its own theory.” A theory is a way of reasoning that can be universally be applied to certain situations. Generally, an expected outcome or an overview of a plan for the future can be drawn out from a theory. Like in science, however, theories are not laws, meaning they are not definite. Theories can be disproven or invalidated. As theories are practiced continuously, deviations from the hypothesis may come into play which will force the theory to be altered until it stands as an absolute truth, as a true as it can possibly be. In this aspect, theories, like knowledge, are in an ever-changing cycle of change. They are never static.

So what? To Freire and Horton, neutrality is problematic. What do they each have to say about taking the position of neutrality within our existing social system and how doing so affects our lives and the larger democratic process, etc.? Any of your own thoughts on neutrality to add on top of it? (Remember to use textual evidence to support your interpretation.)

Freire stated that “neutrality is the best way for one to hide his or her choice” (Freire). The implication that Freire had with this statement was that those who decide to take a neutral position in an argument are those who generally feel indifferent –or even worse –don’t even care about an ongoing issue affecting them or their community. It could also be that those who claim to be ‘neutral’ have views that are considered a minority in their community. They refuse to engage in debate, as they are afraid of being ostracized and that the opposition will refuse to listen. This will result in the lack of diversity and discourse within a community or democratic setting. It will result in a society where the majority opinion, along with the ‘neutrals’ who are simply trying to cater to the dominant party, rule the system, which is exactly how Horton views neutrality. He states that “there can be no such thing as neutrality. It’s a code word for the existing system. It has nothing to do with anything but agreeing to what is and always will be” (Horton). Accepting a neutral position is accepting the condition in which the government functions, no matter how the government operates.

One of the interesting points in the passage was that though neutrality is problematic, both Horton and Freire believe that people shouldn’t be forcefully imposing ideas on other people. They can explain their views, or their choices as referenced in the reading, however they shouldn’t try and press their agenda onto others, especially onto the young, squishy-minded, group of learners who are formulating an agenda of their own.

Now What? Freire and Horton have stories/backgrounds that shaped their passion for social justice and informed them as educators and activists. What personal experiences have shaped your passions and desire to engage with others, and work with communities? How do you think this class and engaging with community might enhance and inform your education/passions/career goals?

Growing up in California has shaped my views indefinitely, but also my cultural and social identities that I have more or less acquired over the years, have played a significant role in my interest with engaging with the community. For a while now, my family has been supported by a single parent and that had affected my childhood drastically, especially when it came to afterschool care. Through my internship with the City of Novato, and several visits to the Canal area in San Rafael, I now realize that the struggle of providing affordable, quality afterschool programs for working families are miniscule in comparison to the amount of families who need them. While I engage with the community this semester, I hope that gaining exposure to San Rafael will open new doors, opportunities, and experiences that I’ve never had before. I hope that eventually I can find a topic or organization that I will feel especially passionate about through this class. This newfound passion may affect where I will pave my career in the medical field. Having strong values and viewpoints are some things that I want to construct, but also having an open, empathetic approach to others is just as important to me.

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