Paulo Freire


Brazilian Educator and Theorist of Critical Pedagogy

Author Quotes

In problem-posing education, people develop their power to perceive critically the way they existin the world with which and in which they find themselves; they come to see the world not as a static reality, but as a reality in process, in transformation.

It is not systematic education which somehow molds society, but, on the contrary, society which, according to its particular structure, shapes education in relation to the ends and interests of those who control the power in that society.

No one suddenly becomes mature at twenty-five years of age. Either we become mature with each day that passes or we do not.

Reflection upon situationality is reflection about the very condition of existence: critical thinking by means which people discover each other to be 'in a situation.'

The dialogical character of education as the practice of freedom does not begin when the teacher-student meets with the students-teachers in pedagogical situation, but rather when the former first asks herself or himself what she or he will dialogue with the latter about.

The oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors.

Thematic investigation thus becomes a common striving towards awareness of reality and towards self-awareness, which makes this investigation a starting point for the educational process or for cultural action of a liberating character.

To decide is to break with something, and, to do this, I have to run a risk.

While no one liberates himself by his own efforts alone, neither is he liberated by others.

In sum: banking theory and practice, as immobilizing and fixating forces, fail to acknowledge men and women as historical beings; problem-posing theory and practice take the people's historicity as their starting point.

It is when the majorities are denied their right to participate in history as Subjects that they become dominated and alienated.

No oppressive order could permit the oppressed to begin to question: Why?

Respect for the autonomy and dignity of every person is an ethical imperative and not a favor that we may or may not concede to each other.

The educator with a democratic vision or posture cannot avoid in his teaching praxis insisting on the critical capacity, curiosity, and autonomy of the learner.

The oppressor, who is himself dehumanized because he dehumanizes others, is unable to lead this struggle.

There are innumerable well-intentioned bank-clerk teachers who do not realize that they are serving only to dehumanize.

To simply think about the people, as the dominators do, without any self-giving in that thought, to fail to think with the people, is a sure way to cease being revolutionary leaders.

Whoever teaches learns in the act of teaching, and whoever learns teaches in the act of learning.

In the banking concept of education, knowledge is a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those whom they consider to know nothing.

It ought to be an integral part of our teacher preparation to discuss the qualities that are indispensable for our teaching practice, even though we know that these qualities are created by that practice itself.

One might say they failed to perceive the untested feasibility lying beyond the limit-situations which engendered their needs.

Revolution is born as a social entity within the oppressor society.

The exercise of my teaching activity does not leave me untouched. No more than I could be out in the rain with no protection and expect not to get wet.

The oppressors develop a series of methods precluding any presentation of the world as a problem and showing it rather as a fixed entity, as something given--something to which people, as mere spectators, must adapt.

There is no such thing as teaching without research and research without teaching.

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Brazilian Educator and Theorist of Critical Pedagogy