Paulo Freire

Paulo Freire

Born: 1921. Died: 1997.


The Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, one of the most the influential educational thinkers of the late 20th century, was born in Recife, Brazil, on September 19, 1921.

After a brief career as a lawyer, he taught Portuguese in secondary schools from 1941-1947. He subsequently became active in adult education and workers' training, and became the first Director of the Department of Cultural Extension of the University of Recife (1961-1964).

Freire quickly gained international recognition for his experiences in literacy training in Northeastern Brazil. Following the military coup d'etat of 1964, he was jailed by the new government and eventually forced into a political exile that lasted fifteen-years.

In 1969 he was a visiting scholar at Harvard University and then moved to Geneva, Switzerland where he assumed the role of special educational adviser to the World Congress of Churches. Hereturned to Brazil in 1979.

Freire died of heart failure in Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 2, 1997.

Freire's most well known work is Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970). Throughout this and subsequent books, he argues for system of education that emphasizes learning as an act of culture and freedom. He is most well known for concepts such as "Banking" Education, in which passive learners have pre-selected knowledge deposited in their minds; "Conscientization", a process by which the learner advances towards critical consciousness; the "Culture of Silence", in which dominated individuals lose the means by which to critically respond to the culture that is forced on them by a dominant culture. Other important concepts developed by Freire include: "Dialectic", "Empowerment", "Generative Themes/Words", "Humanization", "Liberatory Education", "Mystification", "Praxis", " Problematization", and "Transformation of the World".

Major Books of Paulo Freire

- Cultural Action for Freedom, 1970
- Education For Critical Consciousness, 1993
- Learning to Question: A Pedagogy of Liberation, with Antonio Faundez, 1987
- Letters To Christina: Reflections on My Life and Work, 1995
- Literacy: Reading the Word and the World, 1987
- Pedagogy in Process: The Letters to Guniea-Bisseau, 1978
- Pedagogy of the City, translated by Donaldo Macedo, 1993
- Pedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage, 2000
- Pedagogy of the Heart, 1997
- Pedagogy of Hope: Reviving Pedagogy of the Oppressed, translated by Robert R. Barr, 1995
- Pedagogy of the Oppressed, translated by Myra Bergman Ramos, 1973
- The Politics of Education: Culture, Power and Liberation, translated by Donaldo Macedo, 1985
- Teachers As Cultural Workers: Letters to Those Who Dare Teach, 1998
- We Make the Road By Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change, 1990

Quotes from Paulo Freire

- "All domination involves invasion-at times physical and overt, at times camouflaged, with the invader assuming the role of a helping friend." (from "Pedagogy of the Oppressed", 1968)

- "In their unrestrained eagerness to possess, the oppressors develop the conviction that it is possible for them to transform everything into objects of their purchasing power; hence their strictly materialistic concept of existence. Money is the measure of all things, and profit the primary goal. ...
   To the oppressor consciousness, the humanization of the "others," of the people, appears not as the pursuit of full humanity, but as subversion." (from "Pedagogy of the Oppressed", 1968)

- "It is absolutely essential that the oppressed participate in the revolutionary process with an increasingly critical awareness of their role as Subjects of the transformation." (from "Pedagogy of the Oppressed", 1968)

- "Liberation is a praxis: the action and reflection of men upon their world in order to transform it." (from "Pedagogy of the Oppressed", 1968)

- "The revolution is made neither by the leaders for the people, nor by the people for the leaders, but by both acting together in unshakable solidarity." (from "Pedagogy of the Oppressed", 1968)

- "The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teaches, but one who is himself taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being taught also teach." (from "Pedagogy of the Oppressed", 1968)

- "The trust of the people in the leaders reflects the confidence of the leaders in the people." (from "Pedagogy of the Oppressed", 1968)


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