During the last decade, the university ‘seminar’ has become recognised as an important part of the student experience. This paper aims to present a reflection on the influence of Paulo Freire’s philosophy on, and its relevance to, seminar leading in higher education. It will be argued in this paper that seminar leaders must reject rote learning and instead be concerned, and committed, to advancing egalitarian ideals and raising critical consciousness – i.e. an awareness of the learners’ social reality through reflection and action – in order to enable students to think critically about the world and to develop the confidence and capacities to transform it.
Learning is active; it’s experiential and experimental – based on dialogue, questioning, exploring and discovery. The purpose of higher education is to develop similar qualities in the learner (Dewey, 1916; Freire, 1973). Rather than with teaching what to think, seminars should be concerned with the teaching of how to think through on-going Socratic dialogue.