Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Paulo Freire (September 19, 1921 – May 2, 1997) was a Brazilian educator and influential theorist of critical pedagogy. Coming from an economically deprived background himself, he envisaged the role of education in creating a more just society. Paulo Freire contributed a philosophy of education that was strongly influenced by modern Marxist and anti-colonialist thinkers. In fact, in many ways his Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970) – a classic that is mandatory reading for any advanced degree in Education – brings to the fore this key idea.

In the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire attacks the "banking" concept of education, in which the student was viewed as an empty account to be filled by the teacher; which he counters with his theory of a 'problem-posing education'. In this approach to education the teacher-student teaches the student-teachers. This indeed recognizes a truth; it is never the case in fact that the teacher always knows and the student never does.

Educational method needs to be re-viewed to prevent it from becoming one more weapon in the hands of the powerful to subjugate the oppressed. Freire advocates that education should allow the oppressed to regain their humanity and overcome their condition. However, he acknowledges that in order for this to take effect, the oppressed have to play a role in their own liberation.

No comments: