Brazilian Educator and Theorist of Critical Pedagogy
Brazilian Educator and Theorist of Critical Pedagogy
At a certain point in their existential experience, the oppressed feel an irresistible attraction toward the oppressor and his way of life. Sharing this way of life becomes an overpowering aspiration.
Education does not make us educable. It is our awareness of being unfinished that makes us educable.
How can the oppressed, as divided, unauthentic beings, participate in developing the pedagogy of their liberation?
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.
Without a minimum of hope, we cannot so much as start the struggle.
One of the gravest obstacles to the achievement of liberation is that oppressive reality absorbs those within it and thereby acts to submerge human beings’ consiousness. Functionally, oppression is domesticating. To no longer be prey to its force, one must emerge from it and turn upon it. This can be done only by means of the praxis(practice): reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it.
While both humanization and dehumanization are real alternatives [today], only the first is man’s vocation. This vocation is constantly negated, yet it is affirmed by that very negation. It is thwarted by injustice, exploitation, oppression and the violence of the oppressors; it is affirmed by the yearning of the oppressed for freedom and justice, and by their struggle to recover their lost humanity... This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well. The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power, cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves. Only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both. Any attempt to “soften” the power of the oppressor in deference to the weakness of the oppressed almost always manifests itself in the form of false generosity; indeed, the attempt never goes beyond this. In order to have the continued opportunity to express their “generosity,” the oppressors must perpetuate injustice as well. An unjust social order is the permanent fount of this “generosity,” which is nourished by death, despair, and poverty. This is why the dispensers of false generosity become desperate at the slightest threat to its source.
Creativity needs to be stimulated, not only at the level of student’s individuality, but also at the level of their individuality in a social context. Instead of suffocating this curious impetus, educators should stimulate risk taking, without which there is no creativity.
Reading does not consist merely of decoding the written word or language; rather, it is preceded by and intertwined with knowledge of the world. Language and reality are dynamically interconnected. The understanding attained by critical reading of a text implies perceiving the relationship between text and context.
Liberating education consists in acts of cognition, not transferrals of information.
What if we discover that our present way of life is irreconcilable with our vocation to become fully human?
Any situation in which some individuals prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence. The means used are not important; to alienate human beings from their own decision-making is to change them into objects.
To teach is part of the very fabric of learning.