PAULO FREIRE


Paulo Freire’s life and work were marked by his clear option in favor of the oppressed. Born in a poor region of Brazil - Recife, Pernambuco, in 1921 – he observed since his early days the underprivileged classes survival hardships. This may be the origin of his indignation against injustice and his great desire for a transformation of society - which he believed should be less authoritarian, discriminating and unequal.

His educational practice or praxis, as he preferred to call it, has always been coherent with his democratic dreams, since his times as a school teacher until the time when he became the creator of ideas and "methods" which won worldwide recognition and dissemination.

Paulo Freire was a pioneer in Brazil in the use of social communication means. The use of slides, movies, theaters, videos and television are essential parts of his adult literacy method. His opinion about computer science could not be different. What he emphasizes, though, is that these powerful communications work tools are still limited to a very small public. They have not been democratized yet, thus increasing the distance between the young people from the popular classes and their counterparts from the middle and upper classes.

GADOTTI, Moacir. Paulo Freire: Uma bibliografia. Ed. Cortez,1996.

In his trajectory, marked by a political-ideological posture oriented to the overcoming of oppression, courage and a willingness to fight are always present, as his understanding of true happiness. Whether in the classrooms of the Recife University, where he rehearsed the first steps towards his educational philosophy, or in his early experiences with adult literacy and consciousness-raising – such as Angicos, in Rio Grande do Norte (1963) - Freire became known as an educator focused on people’s issues.

By invitation of the government of João Goulart, Freire coordinated in Brazil the National Literacy Program, using his literacy "Method". The program was supposed to reach 5 million adults, possible electors in the upcoming elections. Since "Paulo Freire’s Method" was not about just teaching how to read and write, but also about politicizing, the students were made to notice the injustices that oppressed them and the need to promote changes, through organizations of their own– which identified them as a threat to society. Consequently, the Program was cancelled by the military government in April of 64, less than 3 months after its official start.

By daring, and by putting into practice a methodology capable not only of teaching illiterates to write and read, but also of inciting their freedom, Freire was accused of subverting the established order, and after being imprisoned he had to leave the country in exile.

Nevertheless, coherent with his own ideas and practice, Paulo Freire knew how to become the subject of his own story and was able to transform his adverse situation. In Chile he started a new stage of his life and work. He worked as an advisor for the Farming and Cattle Raising Development Institute of the Chilean Ministry of Education, developing adult educational programs. It was in Chile that Freire wrote one of his most important works: Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

After 16 years of exile, Paulo Freire returned to Brazil in 1980. He then taught in important universities such as UNICAMP - Universidade Estadual de Campinas e PUC/SP - Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo. Little by little he reacquainted himself with his country.

In 1989, Paulo Freire was appointed head of the Educational Department of the largest city of the country, the municipality of São Paulo. His term was marked by an improvement in teachers’ salaries, a review of the disciplines taught in schools and, of course, the implementation of literacy programs for young people and for adults.

Paulo Freire won several prizes worldwide in recognition of the importance of his work in the educational field. In April 1997, he launched his last book, Pedagogia da Autonomia: saberes necessários à prática educativa / Pedagogy of the autonomy: necessary knowledge for the educational practice. In May of the same year he died victim of a heart attack. Paulo Freire passed away, but not his ideas.

Alguns sites de referência:
http:// www.paulofreire.org
http:// www.freire.de
http:// www.pucsp.br/ paulofreire

Awards and Publications

Some of the awards received by the author:
• King Baldwin Development Award - Belgium,1980.
• UNESCO Award of Education for Peace - 1986.
• Andres Bello Prize - Educator of the Continent - Organization of the American States, 1992.

There was also a motion in 1993, organized by SBPC - Sociedade Brasileira para o Progresso da Ciência / the Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science, at its 45th Annual Meeting, to indicate Freire for the Peace Nobel Prize:

"Paulo Freire’s work is directed to the emancipation of the human being, to the freedom of peoples and to social justice among men, to an authentic democracy as the sovereignty of the people and to peace among citizens in an atmosphere of humanization and consciousness-raising.

To award the Peace Nobel Prize to Paulo Freire represents not only the acknowledgement of a life’s work, but also the recognition of those who fight for the next to impossible: to give the excluded people of the world an opportunity to lead a dignified existence, by shaking them out of apathy and making their rights respected."
SBPC, Recife, 07/17/93

A few published works:

• Educação como prática da liberdade / Education as a practice of freedom (1967)
• Pedagogia do Oprimido / Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968)
• Extensão ou Comunicação? / Extension or communication (1969)
• Ação cultural para a liberdade e outros escritos / Cultural action for freedom and other writings (1975)
• Educação e mudança / education and change (1976)
• Cartas à Guiné- Bissau: registro de uma experiência em processo / Letters to Guinea-Bissau: register of an experience in process (1977)
• Conscientização: teoria e prática da libertação / Conscientization: theory and practice of liberation (1980)
• A importância do ato de ler, em três artigos que se completam / The importance of reading, in three articles that complete each other (1982)
• A educação na cidade / the educatio in the city(1991)
• Pedagogia da Esperança: um reencontro com a pedagogia do oprimido / Pedagogy of hope: a reencounter with the pedagogy of the oppressed (1992)
• Professora sim, tia não: cartas a quem ousa ensinar / Yes for teacher, no for "auntie": letters for those who dare to teach (1982)
• Cartas à Cristina/ Letters to Cristina (1994)
• À sombra desta mangueira / Under the shadow of the orange tree (1995)
• Pedagogia da autonomia: saberes necessários à prática educativa / Pedagogy of autonomy: necessary knowledge for the educational practice (1997)
• Pedagogia da Indignação: cartas pedagógicas e outros escritos / Pedagogy of the indignation: pedagogical letters and other writings (2000) – published posthumously .

Works published in partnership with other authors:

• Paulo Freire ao vivo / Paulo freire live - with teachers and students of the Faculdade de Ciências e Letras de Sorocaba;
• Por uma pedagogia da pergunta / For a pedagogy of the question- with Antônio Faundez;
• Essa escola chamada vida / This school called life- with Frei Beto,
• Medo e ousadia: o Cotidiano do professor / Fear and audacity: the teacher’s everyday life - with Ira Shor ;
• Pedagogia: diálogo e conflito/ pedagogy: dialogue and conflict - with Moacir Gadotti and Sérgio Guimarães;
• Sobre Educação Vol. I e II / About Education Vols. I and II - with Sérgio Guimarães;
• Aprendendo com a própria história / Learning with one’s own history - with Sérgio Guimarães;
• Teoria e prática em educação popular / Theory and practice in popular education - with Adriano Nogueira;
• Alfabetização: leitura do mundo, leitura da palavra / Literacy: world’s reading, word’s reading - with Donaldo Macedo;
•We make the road by walking - with Myles Horton.

Except for this last book, in partnership with Myles Horton, all the others were published in Brazil, in Portuguese, and most of them are translated into English, French and Spanish.