Thursday, September 07, 2006
Paulo Freire was a Brazilian educator, who was born in 1921 in a city called Recife. Due to the Great Depression the country was divided into high and low classes, and as a consequence his parents suffered from severe financial problems that led him to know hunger and poverty at a young age. So, it was in his childhood that he determined to dedicate his life to the struggle against hunger. In 1944, he married Elza Oliveira who was an elementary school teacher. Consequently, his interests in theories of education began to grow and as a result, he did more extensive reading in education, philosophy and sociology of education. Freire began to work as the Director of the Department of Education in Brazil, and his experiences during those years brought him into adult education.
His theories of education gave him international fame as well as political persecution in his own country to the extent that he was imprisoned and subsequently exiled to Chile and the United States. His international recognition was the result of several experiments of literacy training. One of them was called “Bare feet can also learn to read” in which he taught illiterate workers to read and write in 45 days.
In 1965, due to the violent situation in The USA and Southern Asia among other places, Freire found that repression and exclusion of the powerless were a global phenomenon. Therefore, violence became a great concern in his writings leading him to write his most famous work called “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.” In this book, he emphasised the idea of learning as an act of culture and freedom, and he argued that through learning and conscientization people became aware of the oppression, so as to liberate themselves from that oppressive reality.