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We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change
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We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  888 ratings  ·  88 reviews
This dialogue between two of the most prominent thinkers on social change in the twentieth century was certainly a meeting of giants. Throughout their highly personal conversations recorded here, Horton and Freire discuss the nature of social change and empowerment and their individual literacy campaigns. The ideas of these men developed through two very different channels ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published December 28th 1990 by Temple University Press
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May 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pedagogy
Essential to anyone who is involved in the field of education, this book is a fountain of advice for how to teach, and ultimately how to learn. Horton and Freire's insights draw on a lifetime of work in education and political activism, and draw on sources from Marx and Gramsci to the Gospels. Motivated by a love for their "students" (discussants), justice, and the pleasure of reading, these master educators expound on the art of educating through an enlightening, book-length dialogue. ...more
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
AWWWW YEAH. This is a really important dialogue. I am glad it was captured.
Nov 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I've been wanting to read this for a long time. Composed from six days of conversations between Paulo Freire and Myles Horton, founder of the Highlander Center in Tennessee. The most interesting section is the discussion around the differences between education and organizing. Much recommended for folks interested in the history of the Civil Rights movement in the US, the theory and practice of radical education, and a comparison between Freire and other forms of popular education. ...more
Aug 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: everyone...especially educators
one of the most influential books for me....such good insight to what each of us can do to be apart of changing this person at a time.
Jul 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
okay - this is my nerd "I love social justice and community mobilization" choice. Paulo Friere once made a comment about "making the world an easier place within which to love." - got to love that man and what ideas he has put forth in our world. He is someone who is not afraid to talk about love. ...more
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"The more people participate in the process of their own education, the more the people participate in the process of defining what kind of production to produce, and for what and why, the more people participate in the development of their selves. The more people become themselves, the better the democracy."
- Paulo Freire
Brian Stout
Sep 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: leadership
What a gift: the distilled wisdom of two practitioners in the art of supporting people in becoming more fully themselves. That is, the art of education. Of leadership. Of transformation.

For several years now I've looked with intention to examples of white men from history that I can learn from and aspire to... lamentably, they are in short supply. Lots of white men held up as leaders... not so many I'd actually like to aspire to, or encourage my children to emulate. Myles Horton and Paulo Freire
Jan 07, 2021 rated it liked it
Having recently read Pedagogy of the Oppressed and The Long Haul, I was excited to read a conversation between the two authors, Horton and Freire. Although the concept was great and there was without a doubt some thought-provoking and inspiring discussion, I was not enthralled by the book. I think I struggled with the conversation format and some of the more academic language. I prefer their separate works, but I’m by no means upset I read this book. Both men are pioneers in adult education and ...more
Eugene Kernes
Jun 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This book is talking book, in which Horton and Freire conversation was transcribed and edited. The central theme is the impact of education and the educator. The educator is considered an authority figure, but need to be prevented from becoming authoritative. Providing freedom with limits, otherwise the they loss the respect of students or become repressive.
How idea spread is also discussed, as the speakers try to elucidate how to spread ideas without intervening too much. Intervening too much
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The book will be no surprise to Frierians, but what will be a surprise - and what gives this book tremendous value - is to see Friere articulating his ideas in concert with Myles Horton, the founder of the Highlander School in Tennessee. Horton is a powerful, radical background figure in American pedagogy and the history of radicalism. I say background because there's so little written on him, and he doesn't appear in the more general histories of the US labor movement or the US Civil Rights mov ...more
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fascinating book where two rad old men talk about their rad old lives. Lots of cool stuff in here about how they think about education, social change, and living life. Totally fun, and seems like it'd be useful if you're at all interested in empowering the people around you and/or education or just how some very interesting people thought and lived their lives.

Reading this book kicked off a whole swarm of poorly-formed thoughts about how to live my life. I want to re-read this book in a few mont
Aug 12, 2013 rated it liked it
A brilliant concept of a book. I found myself skipping the Paulo Freire parts to read the Myles Horton ones. Horton just seems more real, less academic than Freire. It's clear I need to read The Long Haul.

- I welcomed the discussion Horton shares about this relationship with Alinsky and the details about how organizing is different than education.
- I appreciated Horton detailing how he and his colleagues had to adjust their approach after their education and shift to a posture of experimentation
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I gave this five stars because I would like to return to it someday. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to learn about Myles Horton and the Highlander School (I'd already known quite a bit about Paolo Freire, who's in dialogue with him here). The deep non-attachment to the power structures of traditional education here are inspiring and challenging. ...more
This was a good refresher of Friere and an introduction to Horton for me. I was not familiar with the Highlander project and this has inspired further readings. I enjoyed the conversational tone and content of this work.
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A revealing and important conversation between two revolutionaries and their fight for education and social change. Anyone involved in grassroots movements, organizing, advocacy, education—well, any field—should read this conversation!
Dec 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Really interesting, the conversation of these two men. They say some of the most beautiful things about their different lives, and how they came to work together. Worth picking up!
Amory Ross
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We Make the Road by Walking is a revealing insight into two minds regarding education and movements. One is a Brazilian named Paulo Freire and the other is an American named Myles Horton. This is a must-read for any teacher or aspiring teacher. It's also an incredibly pertinent book regarding the recent election (2016) and the frustrations of the lack of movements. I did, however, feel as though one speaker spoke more than the other.

This is a book that was talked. That is, two men, in the winter
Jul 01, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2015-16
We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change is a striking dialogue between two of the 20th century’s most important educators- Myles Horton and Paulo Freire. Through Freire’s development of the field of pedagogy and Horton’s leadership of the Highlander School in the mountains of Appalachia, these two men have had an immense impact on both the theory and practice of progressive education and citizenship. The book is set up in a dialectic structure, a dialogue betwee ...more
May 09, 2017 added it
Recommends it for: All educators K-12 as well as those in higher education
Recommended to Zach by: Michelle Birkenshaw
We Make the Road by Walking is a beautiful, instructive, and compelling book about education and social change. The conversation between Myles Horton and Paulo Freire is delightful. The techniques and pedagogy discussed are worth contemplating (and enacting, in my opinion). Equally affirming and transforming.

Here's a favorite passage.

Paulo: I think that we have to create in ourselves, through critical analysis of our practice, some qualities, some virtues as educators. One of them, for example,
Bryan Alexander
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book.

Reviewed and discussed at my blog.
Chapters 1-2, 3, 4, and 5-6.  
There are also two posts exploring the book club's creations: 1, 2.

Plus the post describing the book club's reading's plan.
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
I read this when I was in grad school, but somehow also remembered it, so decided to read it again. It is so inspiring to hear from Myles Horton and Paulo Freire in their own words as they "talk a book." As someone who cares deeply about adult education, civic engagement, and who works in international development, I found a number of gems in here, as expected. I thought I would find (but didn't) this one line that I still want to attribute to one of these educators - about lifting a community u ...more
Jennifer French
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This past academic year and a half has been especially challenging—both for the soul and the body. As I struggled to adapt to a completely new way of teaching, I kept returning to the core: what is it exactly that matters most to me as an educator? If everything else were stripped away, what core elements would I want to retain?

As I was considering this, the title of this book kept repeating in my head—“we make the road by walking...” that phrase, I feel, captures the spirit of this year more t
Sean Estelle
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a banger. The format of “speaking a book” must be my new favorite - especially when it’s absorbing the reflections of these two militants. Absolutely essential reading on the differences between education and organizing, political development, building structures, and so much more. And reading this right after Pedagogy of the Oppressed helped solidify so many of the lessons from that text as well.
Rod Endacott
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
These two men get it . . . there is no change by applying the same old same old. Change comes by DOING TOGETHER. Particularly as at Miles's school 'Highlander' in Tennessee, I imagined, finally, the embodiment of the truthful saying "Work is love made manifest". Again and again I found myself reveling in his indomitable spirit.
Karina Scott
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Freire and Horton discuss, at length, the importance of education and social change. How reading should be a wonderful thing for children should want to do and should not be messed up into the punishment system. Reading must be a loving act. The importance of life learning in addition to book learning.
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
A transcribed conversation between Miles Horton of Highlander and Paulo Freire the subversive educator from Brazil. They discuss their histories and beliefs about transformative education and its place in creating political and social change. this makes Freire's ideas much of accessible than his own writing, and exposes us to Myles Horton whose work is so important but he wrote almost nothing. ...more
Marliyanti Yanti
Dec 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much, especially chapter 6, reflection. Conversation between Myles and Paulo reminded us that if someone is an educator it means that this person is involved with the all process of the students. 
Yes, education is something which is serious, rigorous, methodical but also creates happiness and joy.That's why I love being a teacher.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book for anyone who would like to learn something about teaching without top-down hierarchy. Only one thing bothered me, that Myles Horton had more space than Paulo Freire, but the message is there, even with this disproportion.
Adrien  Leatherwood
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
I read this book for a class. I found it very hard follow in the beginning due to the way it was written (and I felt like they were rambling). There are some interesting points but overall not very riveting.
Iris Lee
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this casual, honest conversation between two educators and trailblazers. Unlike many books on education and social change, this one is down-to-earth, easy to understand, and inspiring.
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