Influence (World Philosophers and Their Works)
Freire’s influence extended beyond the classroom; he had an impact on national development through the enfranchisement of thousands of people in South America who acquired literacy through his teachings. Freire offers something to educators, Christians, Marxists, and minorities, and he has been viewed variously as a neo-Marxist, an idealist, a communist, a “theologian in disguise,” a phenomenologist, and an existentialist.
The Freirean method of education, though considered radical and subversive at the time, is really quite simple. Freire’s main tenet was that it is easier to educate if one can communicate. He believed that students must be addressed in their idiom, study that with which they identify, and learn more than what is offered through the traditional curriculum and textbooks. He felt that if schools negate the students’ day-to-day experience and their culture and language, students will ultimately resist learning by refusing to hear the language of the teacher. Consequently, he believed that the conventional form of education—the “banking system,” in which the teacher makes a deposit of knowledge and the student listens, memorizes, and regurgitates—would not halt the process of dehumanization he encountered among the population. It was his belief that students and teachers should realize that knowledge is an ongoing process and that both groups learn from and teach each other. To ensure that this exchange took place, he...
(The entire section is 457 words.)
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Bibliography (World Philosophers and Their Works)
Collins, Denis. Paulo Freire: His Life, Works, and Thought. New York: Paulist Press, 1997. This book, written by a Jesuit educator, provides biographical information and an overview of Freire’s educational and sociological theories.
Elias, John L. Conscientization and Deschooling. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976. The work compares and contrasts the educational and theological theories of Paulo Freire and Ivan Illich. It contains some biographical information and illustrates the effect religion had on Freire’s educational philosophy and content. An extensive bibliography for both Freire and Illich is included.
Elias, John L. Paulo Freire: Pedagogue of Liberation. Malabar, Fla.: Kreiger Press, 1994. The text analyzes the historical background of Freire’s work and the concepts included in his theories of education. It also examines the influences on his work, from existentialism to Catholic theology to Marxism, and explores the impact of Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx, Mao Zedong, and others on his beliefs.
Horton, Myles, and Paulo Freire. We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990. One of two works that Freire created in collaboration, the book is written in interview format and...
(The entire section is 356 words.)