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Paulo Freire

Paulo Freire - Brazilian Educator
"No one is free, when others are oppressed."

According to Freire, problem-posing education can only occur within egalitarian, respectful relations:

…dialogue cannot occur between those who want to name the world and those who do not wish this naming—between those who deny other men the right to speak their word and those whose right to speak has been denied to them. Those who have been denied their primordial right to speak their word must first reclaim and prevent the continuation of this dehumanizing aggression. (1970/1990, pp. 76-77)

Problem-posing education relies on a revolutionary, respectful relationship between teacher and student. Democratic educators seek to replace the traditional teacher-student hierarchy with egalitarian interactions. In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire wrote that problem-posing education “cannot exist, however, in the absence of a profound love for the world and its people…. Founding itself upon love, humility, and faith, dialogue becomes a horizontal relationship of which mutual trust between the dialoguers is a logical consequence" (1970/1990, pp. 77-78).

Further, Freire suggested that problem-posing education revolutionizes the teacher-student relationship: “through dialogue, the teacher of the students and the students of the teacher cease to exist and a new term emerges: teacher-student with students-teachers…. [T]he teacher is no longer merely the one who teachers, but one who is himself taught in dialogue with the students, who in their turn while being taught also teach” (1970/1990, p. 67).

Freire, P. (1990). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York, NY: Continuum Press. (Original work published 1970)