By Gerson Nei Lemos Schulz
One of pupils´ concerns is the evaluation of learning. They have asked: is it fair to evaluate? Many educators have answered “no” and they rely on Paulo Freire (1921-1997) in order to justify that assertiveness.
Freire being Carl Marx´ s reader confessed to be post-modern, though not without references, according to Gomercindo Ghiggi, PHD in education, professor at Federal University of Pelotas, in Pelotas city in Big River of South State, Brazil, who wrote a doctoral thesis about him. Freire believed that to alphabetize is not to be “charitable” with fellow creatures and to teach them the letters mechanically is to allow the fellow creatures to be free. But what kind of freedom did he talk about?
Freire believed that in order to be free one ought to have conscience of his own responsibilities. For this reason to know how to read and write, according to what he states in "Pedagogia do Oprimido" [The Pedagogy of the Oppressed One], is not sufficient. Therefore that is just the beginning in order to learn to tell his own history. The Freirian proposal is not a system, as states Gadotti (História das Idéias Pedagógicas - 2005) [History of the Pedagogical Ideas - 2005]. It is the fight of classes inside schools. Freire replaced the concepts of Marx´ s bourgeois and proletarians by oppressors and oppressed citizens. Notwithstanding he does not want that the oppressed citizens and the laborers become oppressors, he wants that the oppressors themselves also become aware that they have oppressed.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to keep in mind that when we read Freire, one should not romanticize him. Although the common sense believes that he advocates the suppression of evaluation, that would turn to a hurried reading. Freire criticized the Positivist School. For him there is a mere reproduction of the dominant, capitalist ideology on it and the evaluation is the oppressive instrument that reproves the least “capable”. Even so, he also states in “Conscientização” [Understanding] that the laborer, if he wants to adopt a capitalist posture, he may, as soon as he can choose it. That is the reason why Freire defended understanding as a first step for the social emancipation.
Freire is right when he verifies that the child with the access to a good breakfast, a good lunch and also having means of learning, he or she will have a better profit than the child who has a lack of it. But it is worth remembering that he has not proposed a formal school. On the contrary, his proposal was to be executed in any place where people have interest to learn. Yet, in formal schools the evaluation exists as a form of quantifying and qualifying learning. Thus, the evaluation does not seek to judge a person, but to verify the pupil´ s proficiency in comparison to what the teacher has taught. On the other hand, if the evaluation is ignored as long as a process as to know who has re-signified the content? To leave the pupils to interpret knowledge according to his opinion is not to leave them in common sense, just where schools want to take them out?
Finally, though without confronting the controversy, I stand with Demo (Mitologia da Avaliação, 2002) [The Mythology of Evaluation, 2002], who states that the negation of the evaluation classificatory score implies to ignore the school context. And this happens when one avoids to evaluate because it is also to evaluate. For him, to release the evaluation that everybody is equal in society and this is the most authoritative evaluation that exists. That is why I always ask myself together with Massetto (Docência na Universidade, 2005 [Teaching at University, 2005]: what do my pupils need to learn in order to become professional citizens at the present time? Surely they should not read Freire inside out.