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Pedagogy of the Oppressed

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  21,043 ratings  ·  1,164 reviews
First published in Portuguese in 1968, Pedagogy of the Oppressed was translated and published in English in 1970. The methodology of the late Paulo Freire has helped to empower countless impoverished and illiterate people throughout the world. Freire's work has taken on especial urgency in the United States and Western Europe, where the creation of a permanent underclass a ...more
Paperback, 30th Anniversary Edition, 192 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Bloomsbury Academic (first published 1968)
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4.26  · 
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 ·  21,043 ratings  ·  1,164 reviews

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Nov 14, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: pedagogues, the oppressed, starry-eyed young people, singles trying to pick up activists
If you're into really sincere hippie guys, read this on the subway. They will swarm.

Warning: they'll swarm even if you're not into them, so keep an "Atlas Shrugged" jacket handy!

Actually, this book contains one of my guiding-light passages:

"Any situation in which some individuals prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence. The means used are not important; to alienate human beings from their own decision-making is to change them into objects" (85).

In my fascist sta
Aug 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Just finished my annual rereading of this book. Again, teachers in inner-city America, teachers on the plains, teachers in rural America--read or reread this book now. With attempts to oppress our students inside the classroom with more and more standardized crap, this is more than ever a must-read.

My original review:
Here is one of those books I think they oughtn't let a teacher in front of a secondary classroom without having read. Even the most affluent of our students in contemporary public
Feb 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books you have to masticate and digest rather than swallow without chewing. Freire makes a salad of education, dialogue, poverty, consciousness, and liberation. He shares how the powerful have historically dehumanized much of society through subtle yet oppressive means via the aforementioned themes. One of his most outstanding lines of reasoning derives from coming alongside of the poor as the starting point in authentic dialogue paving the way for true education and ultimat ...more
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Such an important book for educators. In the United States, we waste so much time on standardized testing and coaching kids to value education only for an end goal (e.g., college admissions, job security). We forget to use learning as a tool for improving the world and uplifting marginalized voices. Just look at the upcoming presidential election. If more of us followed Paulo Freire's method of careful action and thought, I doubt we would see the vitriol and ignorance and hate so common in conte ...more
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rhet-and-media
I feel like its a cliche just rating it here at all, as if doing so stakes a claim to being progressive. I haven't read this text in some time, and although It did affect me when I did, I just worry that 5,000 people on the left have rated this book, and many of them will go into classrooms with the best of intentions only to recreate or reinvent oppression when they just can't understand why their students "don't get it" or "resist the liberation we're trying to give them."
I once applied for a
David Schaafsma
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very little new can be said about Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Freire was exiled from Brazil in 1964 for having the temerity to help the poor in his native country begin to learn literacy in the context of taking action for themselves. Uneducated as many of the rural poor were (and still are), Freire thought that learning to read and write for them might be linked to actual community needs. His goal was cultural consciousness, self-efficacy, transformation, with love, and in the process, dignity. ...more
The oppressors do not perceive their monopoly on having more as a privilege which dehumanizes others and themselves. They cannot see that, in the egoistic pursuit of having as a possessive class, they suffocate in their possessions and no longer are; they merely have. For them, having more is an inalienable right, a right they acquired through their own "effort", with their "courage to take risks". If others do not have more, it is because they are incompetent and lazy, and worst of all is their
Nov 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed. It was life altering, as I knew it would be, and pointed the way forward clearly to how we can begin the revolution. If our aim is, as loving humans, to eradicate homelessness, poverty, racism, classism, and sexism, our revolution must be educative and cultural. Educative meaning that it is a process of reflection, critical thinking, and dialogue; cultural meaning that it must act decisively on our ways of being and inhabiting soc ...more
Mar 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, but especially educators.
A must-read for anyone engaged in education, as well as all those involved in grassroots social change. How does one teach others, particularly those who have been oppressed in our society, without at the same time becoming merely another outside force of domination? How do those who are oppressed escape oppression, without merely joining the ranks of the those currently in power and responsible for the oppression? Freire, one of the first to truly address these questions, handles them capably, ...more
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Zanna by: Tinea
Shelves: translated, feminism
Perhaps I have been reading in the wrong order. I’m very familiar with the idea of dialogic pedagogy, mainly from my PGCE and reading Radical Education and the Common School, which is about liberatory education for children and young people as well as adults (as Freire points out, this idea of education is lifelong, all-encompassing, and positions teachers as learners and learners as teachers). I fervently believe that this idea of learning is the golden key shining in our hands towards a world ...more
This was a chore to read. Either the original writing is in a style lacking art or the translation from Portuguese either has issues or the translator lacks.

Beyond what makes for an unpleasant read, many of the ideas in the book are obviously for another time and place (1960's Brazil) and presenting an idealogy that has not only failed miserably in every attempt but has actually seen some of the most oppressive regimes in history (Soviet Union, Khmer Rouge, North Korea, Maoist China and more).
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Author Paulo Freire a Brazilian educator and philosopher wrote this book in 1968. His time was a time of opposing political forces, industrial revolution, beginning of cold-war and post-colonialism and military coups in South America.

Developing his philosophy, he had in mind the future of the uneducated many that wanted freedom but lacked knowledge and know-how. He described freedom as a factor that defines humanity (not an abstract ideal but an inherent component that needs to be actualized to
...thinking which occurs only in and among people together seeking out reality. I cannot think for others, nor can others think for me.

Fascinating as a foundational piece of critical pedagogy (theory of education), Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed was originally published in 1968 and remains a heavy-hitter in the study of education. I purchased the 50th-anniversary edition that included some updates. Not entirely aligned with current pedagogical theory, but worth a read for any educator trying
Nov 27, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 6th-floor
I've seen quotes from this that burned with fierce fire into my brain (ex: "Any situation in which some individuals prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence. The means used are not important; to alienate human beings from their own decision-making is to change them into objects"), so hopefully someday I'll read the whole thing.
Paul Bard
Apr 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-to-be-read
Complete crap.

A more obtuse and overly-abstract espousing of silly theories resulting in useless do-gooderism could hardly be possible.

If Freire said he did ABC actions to free people through education and measured XYZ results in specific improvements in quality of life, then he might have won respect despite his pernicious theory.

But Freire dressed it up in fancy language to hide what was really going on. If he were honest, he would speak clearly. This is therefore a dishonest book.

Avoid. Avoi
Aug 29, 2007 rated it did not like it
I don't get this book. I found it to be an overacademic hard to read book about making education less academic and more accessible.
This book represents a huge disappointment, because it could have been brilliant in its totality.

In a nutshell the book is about the methodology/means of libertarian education. How traditional teaching methods implicitly reproduce dominant ideology and instill passivity in their subjects. The means by which this is subverted, Freire suggests, is by rejecting teacher-student centred teaching, assessing and pushing the boundaries of learners conciousness through problem-posing. This develops educa
Biblio Curious
I see this book floating around on booktube recently. It makes me both very happy and terrified to think it could be getting a wider readership. Of all my course in Uni, the one that included this as a text was the most raw & memorable: "Native Canadian World Views" So how do I review this book when it's tied so closely to the emotional impact of that uni course?

Focusing only on this book as an object of paper & ink: It's dense, powerful, moving theory crammed into about 100 pages. Most
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Writing a review of this is a challenge in part because the book has had such a powerful effect on my approach to education, and as such to everything I do as a University teacher. I come back to it regularly to remind myself that the topical fads in pedagogy (such as the claims made for student centred active learning, so hip in British HE in the late 2000s and early 2010s) are not as new as many of their protagonists claim. In many cases thay are a politically diluted version of a more deep se ...more
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to review a book like this because it's a game-changing book whose ideas have seeped into everything. I guess I will say that it was much more dense and academic than I remember it being.
Nov 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book has been on my reading list for the past year based on great recommendations on Goodreads; I’m happy to say that it lived up to the hype. I started to get hooked reading the introduction by Donald Macedo. His use of the term “culturally schizophrenic” resonates with me because it reminds me (a little bit) of how I felt as a woman, working in engineering, in the Navy. I felt compartmentalized, like the different parts of my world did not connect. I don’t think it was exactly the same fe ...more
Mar 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theory-education
Paradigm-shifting topics with challenging delivery...

I’ll have to re-revisit this one…
--Given its stellar reputation, I immediately gave this book a second read to make sure something wasn’t lost in translation (figuratively and literally), first reading the 30th anniversary and then the 50th anniversary edition. The core messages are indeed paradigm-shifting, but if we exclude Freire’s life work and influence and just consider the book’s contents and delivery style, then the target audience see
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Pedagogy of the Oppressed' was first published nearly fifty years ago, yet read to me as a fresh, powerful, and relevant text, both on a personal and social level. On the personal front, it reminded me of how much I prefer small group teaching to lecturing. In the former case, I used to facilitate and guide critical discussions on a topic with three or four students who had written an essay about it. It was obvious in such discussions whether the students had read about the topic, whether they ...more
Gabriel Avocado
everything i say about this book seems trite in comparison to its contents. paulo freire was brilliant. absolutely brilliant. his methods for investigation, research, and ultimately educating the oppressed are NOT blueprints that must be followed strictly, but guidelines to liberation. what ive learned reading pedagogy of the oppressed is that one must be humble above all, and that i will most certainly have to read this again.

now i get it. now i truly understand why brazil is trying to ban frei
tom bomp
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
I read this at the start of 2013 and reading my review now I feel really embarrassed, it's very arrogant and I don't feel fair at all. So ignore my review and rating. At some point I'm hopefully going to read it again and try harder to understand it.

(view spoiler)
Jun 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was amazing. Aside from a few weird pages comparing animals to humans in chapter 3, I found everything in this book incredibly valuable.

His audience is Leftists. This book does not try to convert people to believing in the need for change. It is like an instruction manual for those who wish to see it come about. He describes in detail the causes of so many problems. He criticizes and directs Leftists. His critiques are spot-on. He settles so many mental issues I've struggled with myself, a
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Freire's theory of reflective action as way to resist oppression (with education as the primary vehicle) is the theory that most influences my teaching.

If you are a teacher or interested in the philosophy of education. Read. This. Book.

"Human existence cannot be silent, nor can it be nourished by false words, but only by true words, with which men and women transform the world. To exist, humanely, is to name the world, to change it. Once named, the world in its turn reappears to the namers as a
Dec 11, 2008 added it
Shelves: theeeeeeory
The good: these are smart, subtle plans for action, helping transform the ideas of the Frankfurt School and Frantz Fanon and converting them to a solid praxis. On the other hand, Freire's interpretations of "oppression" and "alienation" are unsubtle indeed, and he seems to paint the human condition in pretty broad strokes. But there is some real value in the output of the book, even if the input is flawed.
Joshunda Sanders
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a deeply humbling read for a lot of reasons. One, I will be 41 soon, and the fact that I stumbled upon this book as an educator who has been teaching writing to teenagers & young adults since I was a teenager myself is a commentary on the scattered, political and disorganized nature of curricula throughout public and private schools in our nation - I’ve gone to all kinds, and taught in a number of different settings as well. Second, it’s incredible to read something written more tha ...more
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
The book seemed very practical and grounded in the author's experiences, which makes it valuable for specific implementation but I think a little less engaging for me personally. Still worth the read, especially for the sections focusing on the dynamics of oppression and the qualities of truly liberatory politics.

"True generosity consists precisely in fighting to destroy the causes which nourish false charity. False charity constrains the fearful and subdued, the 'rejects of life,' to extend the
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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
“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” 483 likes
“Leaders who do not act dialogically, but insist on imposing their decisions, do not organize the people--they manipulate them. They do not liberate, nor are they liberated: they oppress.” 326 likes
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