Paulo Freire

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 Works of Paulo Freire

– Education For Critical Consciousness. New York: Continuum, 1993
– Letters To Christina:Reflections on My Life and Work. Trans. Donaldo Macedo. New York: Routledge, 1995
– Pedagogy in Process: The Letters to Guniea-Bisseau. New York: Seabury Press, 1978
– Pedagogy of the City. Trans. Donaldo Macedo. New York: Continuum, 1993
– Pedagogy of the Heart. New York: Continuum, 1997
– Pedagogy of Hope: Reviving Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Trans. Robert R. Barr. New York: Continuum. 1995
– Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Trans. Myra Bergman Ramos. Rev. ed. New York: Continuum. (1973) 1994
– The Politics of Education: Culture, Power and Liberation. Trans. Donaldo Macedo. South Hadley: Bergin and Garvey, 1985
– We Make the Road By Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990

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