Dialogue, Knowledge, and Teacher-Student Relations – Freirean Pedagogy in Theory and Practice


In this article, I draw on ethnographic fieldwork among popular adult education non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Brazil to show how popular educators interpreted and acted based on Freirean pedagogical theory in ways that appeared to reduce its potential for social change. I pay particular attention to three complicated issues that continue to trouble popular or critical educators everywhere: understanding the meaning of dialogue, transforming traditional teacher-student relations, and incorporating local knowledge into the classroom.

In what follows, I first outline some of the basic tenets of Freire’s philosophy. I then discuss the setting of this study, the history of popular education in that region, and the methods by which I collected the data for this study. In the core of the article, I use ethnographic data to show how Brazilian adult educators understood and employed Freirean pedagogical theory. I then discuss what these findings teach us about critical literacy and critical pedagogy. In the final section, I discuss the implications of these findings for two contemporary international educational efforts: (a) pedagogical efforts, especially among Latin American and Latino/a educators, to develop a pedagogy of caring and “love” and (b) recent attempts by critics of orthodox education, research, and development to ensure that indigenous knowledge is recognized, respected, protected, and employed.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
This entry was posted in Critical pedagogy, Dialogue, Freire, Knowledge, Popular education, Social change, Student, Teachers and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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