Paulo Freire


Brazilian Educator and Theorist of Critical Pedagogy

Author Quotes

To speak a true word is to transform the world.

Why not establish an intimate connection between knowledge considered basic to any school curriculum and knowledge that is the fruit of the lived experience of these students as individuals?

In the process of the ongoing education of teachers, the essential moment is that of critical reflection on one's practice.

It would be a contradiction in terms if the oppressors not only defended but actually implemented a liberating education.

One of my major preoccupations is the approximation between what I say and what I do, between what I seem to be and what I am actually becoming.

Right thinking is right doing.

The exercise of the art and practice of teaching (a specifically human art), is of itself profoundly formational and, for that reason, ethical. True, those who exercise this art and practice do not have to be saints or angels. But they ought to have integrity and a clear sense of what is right and just.

The participants begin to realize that if their analysis of the situation goes any deeper they will either have to divest themselves of their myths, or reaffirm them. Divesting themselves of and renouncing their myths represents, at that moment, an act of self-violence. On the other hand, to reaffirm those myths is to reveal themselves.

There is no valid teaching from which there does not emerge something learned and through which the learner does not become capable of recreating and remaking what has been taught.

To teach is not to transfer knowledge but to create the possibilities for the production or construction of knowledge.

Without [silence], communication withers.

In their turn, good listeners can speak engagedly and passionately about their own ideas and conditions precisely because they are able to listen.

It's in making decisions that we learn to decide.

One of the essential tasks of the teaching process is to introduce the learners to the methodological exactitude with which they should approach the learning process.

Scientific and humanist revolutionary leaders, on the other hand, cannot believe in the myth of the ignorance of the people.

The former oppressors do not feel liberated. On the contrary, they genuinely consider themselves to be oppressed.

The perception the student has of my teaching is not exclusively the result of how I act but also of how the student understands my action.

There is, in fact, no teaching without learning. One requires the other.

To think correctly and to know that to teach is not merely to transfer knowledge is a demanding and difficult discipline, at times a burden that we have to carry with others, for others, and for ourselves. . . . It is difficult because it demands constant vigilance over ourselves so as to avoid being simplistic, facile, and incoherent. It is difficult because we are not always sufficiently balanced to prevent legitimate anger from degenerating into the kind of rage that breeds false and erroneous thinking.

Indeed, some revolutionaries brand as innocents, dreamers, or even reactionaries; those who would challenge this educational practice. But one does not liberate people by alienating them. Authentic liberation - the process of humanization - is not another deposit to be made in men.

It's no sin to make a critical study of Brazil's reality. A small percentage own land. Most people don't.

One of the methods of manipulation is to inoculate individuals with the bourgeois appetite for personal success.

Some may think that to affirm dialogue--the encounter of women and men in the world in order to transform the world--is naively and subjectively idealistic. There is nothing, however, more real or concrete than people in the world and with the world, than humans with other humans.

The gesture of the teacher affirmed in me a self-confidence that obviously still had much room to grow, but it inspired in me a belief that I too had value and could work and produce results?results that clearly had their limits but that were a demonstration of my capacity, which up until that moment I would have been inclined to hide or not fully believe in.

The person who thinks "correctly," even if at times she/he thinks wrongly, is the only capable of teaching "correct" thinking. For one of the necessary requirements for correct thinking is a capacity for not being overly convinced of one's own certitudes.

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Brazilian Educator and Theorist of Critical Pedagogy