Paulo Freire


Brazilian Educator and Theorist of Critical Pedagogy

Author Quotes

At times, I have been criticized by some philosophers of education, who place me in postures that they classify pejoratively as 'revolutionary.' But I have had the satisfaction of being invited to work in societies making progressive efforts without wavering. They were changing, and so they called on me.

Education is freedom.

Humans' capacity to intervene, to compare, to judge, to decide, to choose, to desist makes them capable of acts of greatness, of dignity, and, at the same time, of the unthinkable in terms of indignity.

Attempting to liberate the oppressed without their reflective participation in the act of liberation is to treat them as objects that must be saved from a burning building.

Every society needs to examine itself in relation to other societies.

Humility cannot demand that I submit myself to the arrogance and stupidity of those who do not respect me. What humility asks of me when I cannot react appropriately to a given offense is to face it with dignity. The dignity of my silence, of my look.

Authentic thinking, thinking that is concerned about reality, does not take place in ivory tower isolation, but only in communication. If it is true that thought has meaning only when generated by action upon the world, the subordination of students to teachers becomes impossible.

Faith in people is an a priori requirement for dialogue.

I am an educator who thinks globally.

Autonomy is the result of a process involving various and innumerable decisions.

Finally, cultural revolution develops the practice of permanent dialogue between leaders and people and consolidates the participation of the people in power.

I am dealing with people and not with things. And, because I am dealing with people, I cannot refuse my wholehearted and loving attention, even in personal matters, where I see that a student is in need of such attention.

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.

For cultural invasion to succeed, it is essential that those invaded become convinced of their intrinsic inferiority.

I am not impartial or objective; not a fixed observer of facts and happenings.

Certain members of the oppressor class join the oppressed in their struggle for liberation.

For if the people join to their presence in the historical process critical thinking about that process, the threat of their emergence materializes in a revolution. Whether one calls this correct thinking 'revolutionary consciousness' or 'class consciousness,' it is an indispensable precondition of revolution. The dominant elites are so well aware of this fact that they instinctively use all means, including physical violence, to keep people from thinking.

I can only dislike what I am doing under the pain of not doing it well.

A "presence" that, in recognizing another presences as "not I," recognizes its own self.

Conscientization is natural because unfinishedness is integral to the phenomenon of life itself, which besides women and men includes the cherry trees in my garden and the birds that sing in their branches.

For people, 'here' signifies not merely a physical space, but also an historical space.

I cannot be a teacher and be in favor of everyone and everything. I cannot be in favor merely of people, humanity, vague phrases far from the concrete nature of educative practice.

A deepened consciousness of their situation leads people to apprehend that situation as an historical reality susceptible of transformation.

Critical and liberating dialogue, which presupposes action, must be carried on with the oppressed at whatever the stage of their struggle for liberation. The content of that dialogue can and should vary in accordance with historical conditions and the level at which the oppressed perceive reality.

For them, having more is an inalienable right.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Birth Date
Death Date

Brazilian Educator and Theorist of Critical Pedagogy