The Legacy of Paulo Freire


For those who have followed this project for a while, you already are aware of the influence of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, whose book “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed” has influenced not only this project, but the work of many of us involved with this project.  Recently I became aware of a number of YouTube videos about Freire and his work, some Freirein Portuguese, but many in English! Viewing them reminded me of the importance of returning again and again for inspiration that arises from these ideas — inspiration that keeps our gaze on what is possible and that overcomes the distress that comes from some of the discouraging events that surround us every day!  I will post one of the short videos below, but also want to be sure that everyone knows about the online “Paulo Freire Formation” course offered by the Freire Institute.  Here is a brief description of what this course is all about:

This is an in-depth online programme for activists, organizers and volunteers committed to social transformation. It provides training for those wanting to become more effective change agents. The six courses are taken online but with live input; those progressing to the next part of the programme will have the option to attend a 5-day ‘Intercultural Formation Meeting’. Courses can be taken flexibly according to your needs.

Freire wrote his “Pedagogy” book in the late ’60s, and it was published in English in 1971.  The importance of his ideas has only increased over time, and many important scholars and activists have continued to build on his work, including a number of feminist scholars including bell hooks.  Her book “Teaching to Transgress” contains a full chapter in which she examines Freire’s work and its lasting and significant contribution to feminist thought.

For me, Freire’s ideas have a close connection and deep meaning in terms of our ongoing exploration of what it means to care and to be cared for.  Freire, in his later years, talked more and more about the concept of love – particularly what he called “radical love” – which is quite similar to Margaret Newman’s ideas of love as the highest form of expanded consciousness.  Freire never wavered in his belief that real social change could become a reality, with the essential element of radical love – the coming together of all forms of love – as the underpinning for social change.

So watch this brief video to become more familiar with these ideas, and if you want more, just search for Paulo Freire on YouTube and/or Google, for more than a bit of inspiration!

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