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Teachers as Cultural Workers (Edge, Critical Studies in Educational Theory)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  459 ratings  ·  40 reviews
s/t: Letters to Those Who Dare Teach
This last work from internationally respected educator Paulo Freire makes his ideas on education and social reform accessible to a broad audience of teachers, students, and parents. Freire shows how a teacher's success depends on observing individual students' approaches to learning and by the teacher's adapting teaching methods to stud
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 11th 2005 by Westview Press (first published 1997)
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Start your review of Teachers as Cultural Workers (Edge, Critical Studies in Educational Theory)
Very good book; a lot to it if you take the time to savor a little. My comments have brief notes on each chapter. On the whole, I will say if you can only read a part of this book, the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Letters are the most rousing and ... inspirational and get to the heart of the matter: which is to say, being a teacher is a responsibility. As a teacher you are a political agent - you must decide if you are for democracy in the schools or not. He is of course, speaking to a very specific ...more
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
This is organized as a series of letters written by Freire. As such, there is some repetition between the letters. However, the content is quite good. The thing that most impressed me is that Freire argues against considering teachers as surrogate parents. By viewing teachers as parental figures, it takes away their power to teach students how to exercise political power. For example, if teachers are considered to be parental figures, teachers going on strike are basically abandoning their 'pare ...more
Feb 19, 2022 rated it really liked it
I am probably being unfair in my rating as I am inevitably comparing this book with Pedagogy of the Oppressed, which is much more focused. Nevertheless this is a great and inspiring book. Reading Freire’s letters I sense that he was an proponent of intersectionality theory and practice, before we even started using the term. I also enjoyed reading a Paulo Freire that was decades older than Paulo Freire of the late 60s, as his growth as a Marxist who perhaps distanced himself from the more author ...more
Oct 28, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: teaching
I know he's supposed to be fantastic, but I wanted to put this book down so many times! At one point he's going on and on about how you can't dismiss an author if you find them hard to read... you have to pick up a dictionary, you have to engage... and all I could think was how much I couldn't stand his writing.

The sentences were the kind that were so long and poetically formed that they required rereading. I wonder how much of this is due to translation?

I just felt that he had no new informatio
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
A collection of ten letters full of inspiration, tools, ideology and practical methods in teaching.

How is social and political action taught and instilled?
How to dance with fear and surprise in the classroom and use them as effective teaching tools?
What are the necessary steps to take in the classroom when planting the seeds of a true and functioning democracy?
What doesn't the education system know about discipline?
Cultural differences in the classroom - take them all the way to the edge?
What ar
Matt Sautman
Aug 07, 2020 rated it liked it
For socially progressive teachers already engrossed in the field, Teachers as Cultural Workers does not say too much that is new—albeit the introduction is especially strong. However, this is a short book and worth checking out for anyone interested in how Freire’s ideas evolved across his lifetime. Pedagogy of the Oppressed is a far better text, but I can see this being useful for teachers who are just coming to recognize how their instruction has cultural implications.
Erica Kitzman
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent reminder that when we send our kids to public school, without actively supporting the people who teach our children, we become complicit in creating the problem of school violence. Violence as defined by 1:30 teacher:child ratio which creates the real and present dangers of rampant bullying, poor nutrition, school shootings... the library goes on.
Sep 01, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Is it pedagogy of the oppressed? No. That being said Freire was a genius, and it amazes me that the words he originally wrote 30 years ago are still so important today. Those who fear for education, who fear for our democracy, who fear relinquishing authoritarian teaching practices need to read this book.
Jul 30, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed in grad school and knew I would need to read more of him. If you have an interest in social justice education, this is required reading for personal reflection on one's own practice. ...more
Sean Astle
One of the best philosophers of education!
Jan 01, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Critical, inspiring, wonderful. A must-read for every teacher, community leader, or any person who works and serves people and the next generations.
Jackie Lu
Can't tell if I just didn't like the class, if the underlying message was lost in translation, or if this book actually straight-up sucked. ...more
I finished this a couple of days ago, but it took me a while to finally get around to reviewing it. I am giving it three stars, but it is not because it is a bad book. The book can be a bit repetitive, especially if you have read some of Freire's other works, and a few passages can be a little dry. Having said that, there is a lot in this book for teachers and educators to reflect upon. I found myself making notes in my personal journal at various times, jotting down passages and quotes I wanted ...more
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
You can view Paulo Freire's letters as ideology or teaching philosophy, as a way of looking at the practice of teaching, but that would do an injustice to their intention. Freire approaches teaching from an uncompromisingly political position. In fact, his sense of being is inseparable from the political, that is to live and work, particularly in a pedagogical sphere is to be inherently political and to project that position on one's students. His emphasis throughout is on the importance of teac ...more
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education, politics
This is a cycle of ten letters addressed to the aspiring educator, and one of the points reiterated frequently in this work is to promote critical pedagogy (i.e., education that empowers students to question the social forces that oppress them) as a prerequisite to genuine democracy. Teaching is never neutral: it either reinforces existing social arrangements, or it imparts the skills and consciousness for challenging those arrangements. These are not only letters about teaching, they are letter ...more
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have been very lucky to have this book with me while traveling with students abroad, well welcoming students from other countries to my own, and while doing some sincere introspection about my future as an educator. Teachers as cultural workers is a perfect title in that I have recognized my status as a shepherd into the the hills, often treacherous, of cross cultural understanding, and I've adopted a new gravity when considering the ways I can lead discussions and activities about society, de ...more
Feb 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Papa Freire tells us that teaching is a political act. This book is about empowering teachers and more importantly empowering students. The author is from Brazil, where class differences are wider and the poor are even more oppressed, but what he has to say rings true. We must understand the background of our students and value their culture and allow them to have a voice.
Emma M.
Feb 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Paulo provides valuable insights for anyone in education. He really reignited my own love and passion for my career. With that said I really think some things were lost in translation, because there were quite a few moments I just couldn't follow. ...more
Oct 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
This did not serve as much as a conversation piece for me. I feel as though it is a deeper look into him than topic. I am fine with that but for those of you looking to be revolutionized by another of his gems...prepare for an alternative with this one.
Bill DeGenaro
A series of ten short essays or "letters to teachers" expanding on Freire's earlier writings about establishing democratic relationships with students and maintaining faith in his own method's potential to facilitate "reading the world." ...more
Jun 03, 2007 rated it liked it
So far a moving account of the moral obligation all teachers have to confront social injustice and make positive change in the world.
Read Pedagogy of the Oppressed instead.
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Every educator should have this on their shelves.
Christina Davi
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Informative, but a little redundant.
Oct 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Freire has excellent ideas, however, his writing is a little repetitive.
I love his ideas but the book was a bit choppy for me.
Μαρία Ηλιάδου
It does contain a lot of useful tools for teachers, but a lot is said, when it could have been shortened down.
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
2nd Reading: Freire writes letters to teachers that read as educational philosophy. For teachers, Freire is really fufilling to read.
Dean Jorgensen
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016
I hope that everyone that finds themselves in a classroom will read this book.
Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting ideological innovations.
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The Brazilian educator Paulo Freire is among most the influential educational thinkers of the late 20th century. Born in Recife, Brazil, on September 19, 1921, Freire died of heart failure in Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 2, 1997. After a brief career as a lawyer, he taught Portuguese in secondary schools from 1941-1947. He subsequently became active in adult education and workers' training, and became ...more

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“Hiç kimse bir öğretmenin bir öğrenciyi birtakım nedenlerle bir başka öğrenciden fazla sevmesini engelleyemez. Bu bir öğretmenin hakkıdır. Öğretmenin yapmaması gereken bir öğrenciyi kayırarak diğer öğrencilerin haklarını görmezden gelmektir.

İlerici eğitimcinin mutlaka sahip olması gereken bir başka temel nitelik daha vardır: Sabır ve sabırsızlık arasındaki gerilimi yaşarken bilgelik göstermelidir. İhtiyaç duyulan şey ne tek başına sabır ne de sabırsızlıktır. Tek başına sabır, eğitimciyi demokratik hayalini inkâr eden bir tevekküle ve serbestliğe sevk edebilir. Sabırsızlığın eşlik etmediği bir sabır, hareketsizliğe, eylemsizliğe neden olabilir. Diğer yandan, sabırsızlık da tek başına eğitimciyi kör bir aktivizme, kıymeti kendinden menkul eyleme, taktik ile strateji arasındaki zorunlu ilişkiyi kale almayan bir pratiğe götürebilir. Yalıtık bir sabır, eğitimcinin pratiğinin merkezinde yer alan hedefleri yumuşatıp etkisizleştirerek bu hedeflere ulaşılmasını engelleme eğilimindedir. Yatıştırılmamış sabırsızlıksa, pratiğinin başarısını, insanın kendini tarihin sahibi sandığı bir kibrin içinde yitip gitmekle tehdit eder. Sabır tek başına salt bir gevezelik içinde kendini tüketir; tek başına sabırsızlık ise sorumsuz bir aktivizmde....

O halde erdem, biri olmadan diğerini deneyimlemekte değil, ikisi arasındaki sürekli gerilimi yaşamakta yatar. Eğitimci, asla ikisinden birine bütünüyle teslim olmadan, sabırsız bir sabırla yaşamalı ve çalışmalıdır.”
“Öğretmen öğretmelidir. Bunu yapmak zorundadır. Ama öğretmek bilgiyi aktarmak değildir. Bir eyleme öğretme eylemi denebilmesi için, öğrenme eyleminin öğrencilerin aynı zamanda kendilerine öğretilen bilgiyi üreten kişiler haline geldikleri, içeriği ya da bilinebilir nesneyi kavrama eyleminden önce ya da onunla eş zamanlı olarak gerçekleşmesi gerekir.” 0 likes
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