Paulo Freire


Brazilian Educator and Theorist of Critical Pedagogy

Author Quotes

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.

They call themselves ignorant and say the 'professor' is the one who has knowledge and to whom they should listen.

Transformation is only valid if it is carried out with the people, not for them. Liberation is like a childbirth, and a painful one. The person who emerges is a new person: no longer either oppressor or oppressed, but a person in the process of achieving freedom. It is only the oppressed who, by freeing themselves, can free their oppressors.

Individuals who were submerged in reality, merely feeling their needs, emerge from reality and perceive the causes of their needs.

It's really not possible for someone to imagine himself/herself as a subject in the process of becoming without having at the same time a disposition for change. And change of which she/he is not merely the victim but the subject.

One of the pedagogical tasks for parents is to make it clear to their children that parental participation in the decision-making process is not an intrusion but a duty, so long as the parents have no intention of deciding on behalf of their children. The participation of the parents is most opportune in helping the children analyze the possible consequences of the decision that is to be taken.

Someone who cannot acknowledge himself to be as mortal as everyone else still has a long way to go before he can reach the point of encounter.

The good teacher is the one who manages to draw the student into the intimacy of his or her thought process while speaking. The class then becomes a challenge and not simply a nest where people gather. In the environment of challenge, the students become tired but they do not fall asleep. They get tired because they accompany the comings and goings of the teacher's thought and open their eyes in wonder at his or her pauses, doubts, uncertainties.

The revolutionary's role is to liberate, and to be liberated, with the people--not to win them over.

They have no consciousness of themselves as persons or as members of an oppressed class.

True solidarity is found only in the plenitude of this act of love, and in its existentiality, in its praxis.

Intellectuals who memorize everything, reading for hours on end, slaves to the text, fearful of taking a risk, speaking as if they were reciting from memory, fail to make any concrete connections between what they have read and what is happening in the world, the country, or the local community. They repeat what has been read with precision but rarely teach anything of personal value.

Just as it is important in Latin America to discuss ideas that come from North America, I think it is interesting for North Americans to discuss ideas that come from Latin America or Africa and do not insert themselves into capitalist interests.

Only in the encounter of the people with the revolutionary leaders--in their communion, in their praxis--can this theory be built.

Sometimes a simple, almost insignificant gesture on the part of a teacher can have a profound formative effect on the life of a student.

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Brazilian Educator and Theorist of Critical Pedagogy