Paulo Freire


Brazilian Educator and Theorist of Critical Pedagogy

Author Quotes

Ideology is directly linked to that tendency within us to cloak over the truth of the facts, using language to cloud or turn opaque what we wish to hide.

It is essential for the oppressed to realize that when they accept the struggle for humanization they also accept, from that moment, their total responsibility for the struggle.

Manipulation, sloganizing, depositing, regimentation, and prescription cannot be components of revolutionary praxis, precisely because they are the components of the praxis of domination.

Our converts, on the other hand, truly desire to transform the unjust order; but because of their background they believe that they must be the executors of the transformation.

The behavior and reactions of the oppressed, which lead the oppressor to practice cultural invasion, should evoke from the revolutionary a different theory of action. What distinguishes revolutionary leaders from the dominant elite is not only their objectives, but their procedures.

The oppressed find in the oppressors their model of 'manhood.'

The teacher who thinks critically cannot afford to imagine that the course or seminar that she/he is conducting is going to transform the whole country.

This work deals with a very obvious truth: just as the oppressor, in order to oppress, needs a theory of oppressive action, so the oppressed, in order to become free, also need a theory of action.

What is important in teaching is not the mechanical repetition of this or that gesture but a comprehension of the value of sentiments, emotions, and desires. Of the insecurity that can only be overcome by inspiring confidence. Of the fear that can only be abated to the degree that courage takes its place.

If I am a pure product of genetic, cultural, or class determination, I have no responsibility for my action in the world and, therefore, it is not possible 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.

It is important to be constantly vigilant and rigorously evaluate any practice in the light of common sense.

Money is the measure of all things, and profit the primary goal. For the oppressors, what is worthwhile is to have more--always more--even at the cost of the oppressed having less or having nothing. For them, to be is to have.

People will be truly critical if they live in the plenitude of the praxis, that is, if their action encompasses a critical reflection which increasingly organizes their thinking and thus leads them to move from a purely naive knowledge of reality to a higher level, one which enables them to perceive the causes of reality.

The behavior of the oppressed is a prescribed behavior, following as it does the guidelines of the oppressor.

the oppressed must not in seeking to regain their humanity (which is a way to create it), become in turn oppressors of the oppressors, but rather restorers of the humanity of both.

The thematics which have come from the people return to them--not as contents to be deposited, but as problems to be solved.

Those truly committed to liberation must reject the banking concept in its entirety, adopting instead a concept of women and men as conscious beings, and consciousness as consciousness intent upon the world. They must abandon the educational goal of deposit-making and replace it with the posing of the problems of human beings in their relations with the world.

What is really essential in this process is that both the teacher and the students know that open, curious questioning, whether in speaking or listening, is what grounds them mutually?not a simple passive pretense at dialogue.

In a dynamic, rather than static, view of revolution, there is no absolute 'before' or 'after,' with the taking of power as the dividing line.

It is impossible to talk of respect for students for the dignity that is in the process of coming to be, for the identities that are in the process of construction, without taking into consideration the conditions in which they are living and the importance of the knowledge derived from life experience, which they bring with them to school.

No one can be authentically human while he prevents others from being so.

Proper to right thinking is a willingness to risk, to welcome the new, which cannot be rejected simply because it is new no more than the old can be rejected because chronologically it is no longer new.

The correct method lies in dialogue. The conviction of the oppressed that they must fight in their liberation is not a gift bestowed by the revolutionary leadership, but the result of their own conscience.

The oppressed want at any cost to resemble the oppressors.

The trust of the people in the leaders reflects the confidence of the leaders in the people.

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Brazilian Educator and Theorist of Critical Pedagogy