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Paulo Freire



INTRODUCTION: Paulo Freire was a Brazilian educator from the 1950s through his death in 1997. During the 1950s and 60s he developed a method to teach illiterate adults to read that was extremely effective. In the early 1970s he became a celebrated author with the publication of a radical treatise on education called Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Pedagogy... became the foundation of reform for millions of revolutionaries worldwide: teachers, students, farmers, young people, activists, social workers, and everyday people started to care. Freire challenged learners to "read the world through the word." In doing so, he created a movement.


Today the critical pedagogy that Freire practiced and advocated infuses energy, ability, and most importantly, hope into grassroots campaigns, community organizations, school classrooms, and other efforts around the world.


POINTS TO PONDER: It is dangerous to quote someone, especially Freire, out of the context of their writing. However, footed in this website and with the central necessity of engaging young people in social change, we offer a few different quotes:



Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.


If I am a product of genetic, cultural, or class determination, I have no responsibility for my action in this world and, therefore, it is impossible for me to speak of ethics. Of course, this assumption of responsibility does not mean that we are not conditioned genetically, culturally, and socially. It means that we know ourselves to be conditioned but not determined.


Hope is a natural, possible, and necessary impetus in the context of our unfinishedness.


The teacher who really teaches, that is, who really works with contents within the context of methodological exactitude, will deny as false the hypocritical formula, ‘do as I say, not as I do.’ Whoever is engaged in ‘right thinking’ knows only too well that words not given body (made flesh) have little or no value. Right thinking is right doing.


Critical reflection on practice is a requirement of the relationship between theory and practice. Otherwise theory becomes simply "blah, blah, blah," and practice, pure activism.


- Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom.



[ = Free download]


Pedagogy of the Oppressed - By Paulo Freire (1970, 1986, 1993). This early work remains the best introduction to Freire's critique of education and the consequent pedagogy of liberation which he first developed in Chile. In this book Freire begins an unparalleled exploration of dialogue and the possibilities for education to become a liberatory practice. Freire provides a rationale for a pedagogy of the oppressed, and exposes how historical teaching methods have relied on "banking education."  He highlights the the contrasts between education forms that treat people as objects rather than subjects, and finally, explores education as a method for cultural action and social change. A true classic.


Pedagogy of Hope - By Paulo Freire. Here the author reflects his dialogues with educators over the past twenty-five years, reexamines his best-known analytic themes-with even deeper understanding and a greater wisdom in the context of the current climate in Central America.

A Pedagogy for Liberation: Dialogues on Transforming Education - By Ira Shor, P. Freire


We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change - By Paulo Freire and Myles Horton. Myles Horton was a major figure in the civil rights movement and founder of the Highlander Folk School, later the Highlander Research and Education Center. This stark dialogue between two giants offers the remarkable juxtaposition of Highlander founder Miles Horton's individualistic Ameri-centric idealism against Freire's communitarian, Third World realism. Displays the tremendous range of liberatory education, beginning at Highlander in the 1930's and continuing today around the world.


Paulo Freire: A Critical Encounter - By Peter McLaren and P. Leonard (editors). Perhaps the most influential critical pedagogue ever, Freire spent 30 years publicly examining his words and thoughts in deed and action, ever disputing the notion of education as a neutral, apolitical activity.  This volume engages several North American educational theorists in response and critique of Freire's work. Authors include Henry Giroux, bell hooks, Roger I. Simon, Ira Shor, Stanley Aronowitz and Peter McLaren.


Cultural action for freedom. - By Paulo Freire (1972).


Education for critical consciousness. - By Paulo Freire (1973).


Education, the practice of freedom. - By Paulo Freire (1976).


A day with Paulo Freire . - By Paulo Freire (1980).


The politics of education: Culture, power, and liberation. - By Paulo Freire (1985).


Literacy: Reading the word & the world - By Paulo Freire and Danaldo Macedo (1987).


Learning to question: A pedagogy of liberation. - By Paulo Freire and Antonio Faundez (1989).


Pedagogy of the city. - By Paulo Freire (1993).


Pedagogy of hope: Reliving Pedagogy of the oppressed. - By Paulo Freire and Ana Maria Araújo Freire (1994).


Letters to Cristina: Reflections on my life and work. - By Paulo Freire and Donaldo P. Macedo.  (1996).


Pedagogy of the heart. - By Paulo Freire and Ana Maria Araújo Freire (1997).


Teachers as cultural workers: Letters to those who dare teach. - By Paulo Freire (1998).


The Paulo Freire reader. - By Paulo Freire, Ana Maria Araújo Freire, and Donaldo P. Macedo (1998).


Pedagogy of freedom : ethics, democracy, and civic courage. - By Paulo Freire (1998).





Reviews of Paulo Freire's Books - Well-written, insightful examinations of almost every publication by Freire.


Catedra Paulo Freire (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Sao Paulo)


Paulo Freire Institute


Paulo Freire: A homage, by Moacir Gadotti and Carlos A. Torres


Paulo Freire (National-Louis University ACE page)


A brief biography of Paulo Freire, by Leslie Bentley


Issues in Freirean Pedagogy, by Tom Heaney (includes a glossary of frequently used terms)


Q&A: The Freirian Approach to Adult Literacy Education, by David Spener





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