Aliento Training Philosophy
"Knowledge emerges only through invention and reinvention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other."
The work of Paulo Freire and his conceptualization of the teacher-student relationship is the foundation for the Latina/o mental health emphasis philosophy and teaching methodologies. Freire (1970) takes issue with the "banking" system of education, where students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor. Instead of communicating, the teacher issues communiqués and makes deposits that students dutifully accept, memorize, and repeat when asked. From this philosophical stance, the students' roles are limited to, and only extend as far as, receiving information and "banking" the information in their mental filing system. Ultimately, the teacher-student relationship is reduced to the teacher narrating information and students as passive recipients. Freire (1970) argues that, "Knowledge emerges only through invention and reinvention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other" (p. 72). In this regard, it becomes apparent that a fruitful teacher-student relationship requires that both the teacher and student simultaneously learn from and impact, one another. It is within this philosophical context that the Latina/o program approaches each student, each class, and each semester. The program encourages students to think critically on issues, freely ask questions, actively participate in classroom discussions and activities, and identify ways to apply their knowledge to real-world settings. Ultimately, the students and instructors co-create the classroom learning environment. This model of instruction and the philosophical underpinnings of the program are consistent with instructional methodologies that manifest the works of Gustavo Gutierrez and Ignacio Martin-Baro. The academic program is one manifestation of these philosophies. In working with Latina/o communities, it is critical that students feel prepared both, in theory and practice, to meet the needs of culturally and linguistically underserved Latina/o communities.