Define: Problematizing is a Freirean concept that approaches problem solving through the form of dialogue and a teacher-learner philosophy (Ledwith, 2005). In the words of Ledwith (2005), “It is a mutual process founded on reciprocity and humility that gets beyond the power imbalance of the traditional teacher-student relationship” (pg. 99)

Apply: In this process, everyone is a teacher and a learner. This theory/concept is a key element in creating community participation and a sense of equality. Prolematizing is an approach that is used in the TimeBank initiative. Core TimBanking values are founded on the principles of reciprocity and community participation. This initiative recognizes that all individual have valuable strengths and skills that need to be shared and received with one another. It allows for children to teach their elders, and for people of power to learn from others with minimal education. Problematizing allows for individuals to be seen as human and valuable.

Adapt: This theory/concept could be adapted in large business office buildings. Large office buildings are often used to house many different separate organizations. Instead of remaining completely isolated from one another, these businesses could use the theory/concept of problematizing to achieve a sense of community and share services. Many organizations within large office building remain separate from one another because of the possibility of disagreement in philosophy. By adapting the concept of problematizing, a general sense of respect is possible. Through this respect, different businesses can learn from one another and also teach one another, sharing services, knowledge, and creating community.

Source: Ledwith, M. (2005). Community Development (pp. 56-111). Portland: Policy Press.

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