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Education for Critical Consciousness by…
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Education for Critical Consciousness

by Paulo Freire

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Born to middle class parents in Recife, Brazil, Freire knew poverty and hunger during the Great Depression, an experience that would shape his concern for the poor and his view on education. Paulo Freire contributes a philosophy of education that comes not only from the more classical approaches stemming from Plato, but also from modern Marxist and anti-colonialist thinkers. In fact, in many ways his Pedagogy of the Oppressed may best be read as an extension of or reply to Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, which laid strong emphasis on the need to provide native populations with an education which was simultaneously new and modern (rather than traditional) and anti-colonial (that is, that was not simply an extension of the culture of the colonizer).

This 164-page book includes two essays by Paolo Freire, the man who introduced the problem-posing technique of popular education to the United States. The essays are Education as the Practice of Freedom and Extension or Communication. The first essay is about Friere's work in Brazil with "illiterates," that explains his process of using "culture circles" and "generative words" instead of the traditional teacher-led learning processes to teach adult literacy. Crucial to his work is the idea of teaching people to have a "critical attitude" toward the world, so that they can make sense of their world and find ways to change it or take action. Included in the appendix are the drawings he used in his "culture circles" and the 17 "generative words" for his work with peasants in Brazil. While the prose can be dense, it presents the origins of the popular education or participatory education techniques which have worked so well in the United States with teaching health in literacy settings. ( )
  ariefw | Jan 9, 2006 |
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