Paulo Freire


Brazilian Educator and Theorist of Critical Pedagogy

Author Quotes

Those who are served by the present limit-situation regard the untested feasibility as a threatening limit-situation which must not be allowed to materialize, and act to maintain the status quo.

When we live our lives with the authenticity demanded by the practice of teaching that is also learning and learning that is also teaching, we are participating in a total experience?. In this experience the beautiful, the decent, and the serious form a circle with hands joined.

In order for the oppressed to unite they must first cut the umbilical cord of magic and myth which binds them to the world of oppression; the unity which links them to each other must be of a different nature.

It is necessary to trust in the oppressed and in their ability to reason.

No one can be in the world, with the world, and with others and maintain a posture of neutrality. I cannot be in the world decontextualized, simply observing life.

Reflection and action must never be undertaken independently.

The culture of the dominant class hinders the affirmation of men as beings of decision.

The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom.

The unfinished character of human beings and the transformational character of reality necessitate that education be an ongoing activity.

Through dialogue, the teacher-of-the-students and the students-of-the-teacher cease to exist and a new term emerges: teacher-student with students-teachers.

Whether the teacher is authoritarian, undisciplined, competent, incompetent, serious, irresponsible, involved, a lover of people and of life, cold, angry with the world, bureaucratic, excessively rational, or whatever else, he/she will not pass through the classroom without leaving his or her mark on the students.

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.

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Brazilian Educator and Theorist of Critical Pedagogy