Who is Paulo Freire? Short biography, review and interview

Hi Folks?

Have you ever heard about Paulo Freire?

He is considered a great educator and philosopher, I’m going to show some information about him.

Paulo Reglus Neves Freire, (September 19, 1921 – May 2, 1997) was a Brazilian educator, philosopher, and influential theorist of critical pedagogy. He is best known for his influential work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, which is considered one of the foundation texts of the critical pedagogy movement. (Source:Wikipedia)


Paulo Freire became known worldwide by his works. Freire’s ideas were inovating, because of that, this approach is named as Freirean approach.

Paulo’s ideology was: “Literacy for social change.”

Some considerations about learning in this approach are:

Learners acquire individual reading and writing skills through a process of inquiry into the nature of real-life problems facing the community of learners. The thematic content of literacy education in Freirean programs is drawn from the culture of the participants.

Culture is not a static set of customs, religious beliefs, social attitudes, forms of address and attire, and foods; rather, it is a dynamic process of transformation and change laden with conflicts to resolve and choices to be made both individually and as a community.

How should be the classes?

First you have to analyze the context: In class, teachers should observe student interactions, including body language, and take note of students’ actions, because these usually reveal their priorities and problems.The teacher should also invite students to share objects from their cultures with others in class. So the first moment that you are going to know your class you can hear what their problems and interests.

Then choose a theme that probably would get student’s attention, something that is part of their reality and they are interest to talk about.

The theme is very important, and the teacher is responsable to find something from the student’s reality. A suggestion is, for example, use vestibular, when teaching teenagers, talking about their choices about university and course that they want.

The fundamental steps of Freirean Approach are: dialogue and problem-posing. How should it be?

Sometimes problem-posing activities resulted from the sharing of cultural information; at other times the discussion of a problem led to intercultural dialogue. In one instance, for example, she found a student closely examining all the potted plants in the class. When Hemmindinger, through the bilingual aide, inquired as to why the student was interested in the plants, she found that he was a practitioner of Hmong herbal medicine. This theme led to a discussion of Hmong health and medicinal practices as they compared to those practiced by the dominant culture in Canada and problems that students were having as they confronted the Canadian health-care.

Freire’s suggestion in working with the target language vocabulary is:

Learners memorize the spelling of each new vocabulary word and place them in lists of other words on the basis of similar morphological structure or related meaning. For example, the word “American” might appear in two different word lists: in one with words like “African,” “Dominican,” and “Canadian,” and in another with words suggested by students like “apple pie,” “Statue of Liberty,” and “rich”.

All this extracts belong from:

The Freirean Approach to Adult Literacy Education

David Spener

National Center for ESL Literacy Education
April 1990, Revised November 1992

You can access by this link: http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/digests/freireqa.html

If you liked or is interested, you can see this interview:

This video was Paulo Freire’s last interview. He is talking about some of his ideas, one of them are the critical thinking.

Do you like his ideas?




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