Paulo Freire


Brazilian Educator and Theorist of Critical Pedagogy

Author Quotes

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.

Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.

Only the person who listens patiently and critically is able to speak with the other, even if at times it should be necessary to speak to him or her.

Teacher preparation should go beyond the technical preparation of teachers and be rooted in the ethical formation both of selves and of history.

The more educators and the people investigate the people's thinking, and are thus jointly educated, the more they continue to investigate.

The role of the educator is one of a tranquil possession of certitude in regard to the teaching not only of contents but also of "correct thinking."

This book will present some aspects of what the writer has termed the pedagogy of the oppressed, a pedagogy which must be forged with, not for, the oppressed (whether individuals or peoples) in the incessant struggle to regain their humanity.

Unfinishedness is essential to our human condition.

It is absurd for teachers to imagine that they are engaged in right thinking and at the same time to relate to the student in a patronizing way.

Liberation is a praxis: the action and reflection of men and women upon their world in order to transform it.

Only through communication can human life hold meaning.

Teachers who do not take their own education seriously, who do not study, who make little effort to keep abreast of events have no moral authority to coordinate the activities of the classroom.

The more I give of myself to the experience of living with what is different without fear and without prejudice, the more I come to know the self I am shaping and that is being shaped as I travel the road of life.

The struggle to bring dignity to the practice of teaching is as much a part of the activity of teaching as is the respect that the teacher should have for the identity of the student, for the student himself or herself, and his or her right to be.

This capacity to go beyond the factors of conditioning is one of the obvious advantages of the human person.

We must understand the meaning of a moment of silence, of a smile, or even of an instance in which someone needs to leave the room. Or the fact that a question was asked perhaps a little discourteously. After all, our teaching space is a text that has to be constantly read, interpreted, written, and rewritten.

I like to be human because in my unfinishedness I know that I am conditioned. Yet conscious of such conditioning, I know that I can go beyond it, which is the essential difference between conditioned and determined existence.

It is accomplished by the oppressors depositing myths indispensable to the preservation of the status quo.

Liberation is thus a childbirth, and a painful one.

Oppression?overwhelming control?is necrophilic; it is nourished by love of death, not life.

The atmosphere of the home is prolonged in school, where students soon discover that (as in the home) in order to achieve some satisfaction they must adapt to the precepts which have been set from above. One of these precepts is not to think.

The more we sit in front of [the television] . . . the more we risk being confused about the real nature of the facts.

The task of revolutionary leaders is to pose as problems not only this myth, but all the other myths used by the oppressor elites to oppress.

This is the road I have tried to follow as a teacher: living my convictions; being open to the process of knowing and sensitive to the experience of teaching as an art; being pushed forward by the challenges that prevent me from bureaucratizing my practice; accepting my limitations, yet always conscious of the necessary effort to overcome them and aware that I cannot hide them because to do so would be a failure to respect both my students and myself as a teacher.

We should devote ourselves humbly but perseveringly to our profession in all its aspects: scientific formation, ethical rectitude, respect for others, coherence, a capacity to live with and learn from what is different, and an ability to relate to others without letting our ill-humor or our antipathy get in the way of our balanced judgment of the facts.

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Brazilian Educator and Theorist of Critical Pedagogy