Paulo Freire (1921 – 1997) was an influential pedagogue, educator and activist for the rights of the most disadvantaged. Born in Recife, Brazil, he is considered one of the most important theorists in the field of education in the 20th century.

Paulo Freire had to deal with poverty from birth. This personal background helped him to build what in his adulthood would be his theory on education. He studied law, psychology and philosophy at the University of Recife. He worked with poor communities and introduced them to literacy with a method he created himself, which is considered a variant of liberation theology, since knowing how to read and write was a prerequisite for the right to vote in Brazil at that time.

Phrases and famous quotes from Paulo Freire

His legacy as a teacher goes beyond the boundaries of education. Paulo Freire was a global thinker, committed to his people and active in the literacy of excluded minorities.

In today’s article we will get to know the best phrases of Paulo Freire .

1. The important thing, however, is that the working classes continue to learn in the very practice of their struggle to set the limits for their concessions, that is, to teach the ruling classes the limits within which they can move.

Education should promote respect for social and labour rights.

2. The professor’s gesture was worth more than the very grade of ten he gave my essay. The teacher’s gesture gave me a still obviously suspicious confidence that it was possible to work and produce. That it was possible to trust me, but that it would be just as wrong to trust beyond the limits as it was at the wrong time not to trust.

On the importance of positive reinforcement.

3. Education is an act of love, therefore, an act of courage.

A beautiful phrase by Paulo Freire about teaching.

4. Accepting and respecting difference is one of those virtues without which listening cannot take place.

Empathy, in short, must govern our communication.

5. The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, ceases to be that of the oppressed and becomes the pedagogy of men in a process of permanent liberation.

About his pedagogical proposal.

6. Their ideal (of the oppressed) is, in fact, to be men, but for them, to be men, in the contradiction in which they have always been and whose overcoming they are not clear, is equivalent to being oppressors. These are their testimonies of humanity.

Famous quote to reflect on relationships of domination.

7. My vision of literacy goes beyond ba, be, bi, bo, bu. Because it implies a critical understanding of the social, political and economic reality in which the literate stands.

The depth of his philosophy is reflected in this reflection.

8. No one is free to be free, but by not being free he fights for his freedom.

A paradox to be reckoned with. Free is the one who fights to be free.

9. The oppressed must be the example of themselves, in the struggle for their redemption.

Very much in line with the previous sentence.

10. In the “banking” vision of education, “knowledge” is a gift from those who judge themselves wise to those who judge themselves ignorant.

On the commodification of certain educational practices.

11. Education, as a practice of the domination we have been criticizing, maintaining the naivety of the learners, what it intends, within its ideological framework, is to indoctrinate them in the sense of their accommodation to the world of oppression.

Education without redemption is simple indoctrination.

12. Education as a practice of freedom, contrary to that which is a practice of domination, implies the denial of abstract man, isolated, loose, detached from the world, as well as the denial of the world as a reality absent from men.

Gregorianism is part of the consumer culture imposed by capitalism.

13. Education is constantly being redone in practice. To be, it has to be.

An essential feature of teaching practice.

14. True education is practice, reflection and action of man on the world to transform it.

The reasons for the educational fact.

15. Sectarianism creates nothing because it does not love.

Dogmatic people do not know how to contribute valid ideas or debate, according to Freire.

16. The more critical a human group is, the more democratic and permeable it is.

Reflection against democratic centralism.

17. Our presence in the world, which implies choice and decision, is not a neutral presence.

Everything we do is imbued with a certain political vision.

18. Children need to be assured the right to learn to decide, which is only done by deciding.

Children must be respected, and so must the decisions of children, regardless of their economic resources.

19. Education is always a kind of theory of knowledge put into practice, it is naturally political, it has to do with purity, never with puritanism, and it is, in itself, an experience of beauty.

Paulo Freire’s masterly philosophical phrase.

20. Existence is life that is known to be such, that it is recognized as finite, unfinished; that it moves in time-space, subject to the intervention of what exists.

21. As a presence in history and in the world, I fight hopefully for dreams, for utopia, for hope, with a view to a critical pedagogy. And my struggle is not in vain.

An ethical struggle through practice.

22. Education is freedom.

Perhaps, the most remembered phrase of the Brazilian pedagogue.

23. Only the power that arises from the weakness of the oppressed will be strong enough to liberate all.

About the power of the oppressed masses.

24. Freedom is acquired through conquest, not as a gift. It must be carried out constantly and responsibly.

No civil conquest was made out of deference to the oppressors.

25. Jaspers said: “I am as much as others are. Man is not an island, he is communication. So there is a close relationship between communion and seeking.

Philosophical reflection on our personality based on interpersonal relationships.

26. Looking at the past should only be a means to understand more clearly what and who we are, in order to build the future more intelligently.

Phrase about time.

27. Language is never neutral.

It always has ideological and political connotations, according to Freire.

28. The people’s trust in the leaders reflects the leaders’ trust in the people.

About good politicians.

29. It is not the unwanted one who initiates disaffection, but the one who cannot love because he loves only himself.

Narcissism leads to unhappiness.

30. Men are not formed in silence; they are formed in word, in work, in action, in reflection.

On the contextual variables of learning of each individual.

31. The narrative, which has the teacher as its subject, directs the students towards the mechanical memorization of the content that is narrated… the narrative turns them into containers that the teacher must fill.

A critique of the rote system.

32. There is no dialogue without humility, nor without strong and unshakable faith in human beings.

A token of their philanthropy.

33. There is no life without correction, without rectification.

Knowing how to forgive and forgive yourself is absolutely essential.

34. No person is unaware of everything. No one knows everything. We all know something. We all ignore something. That’s why we always learn.

We are all capable and good at some facets of life.

35. The reading of the world precedes the reading of the word.

Knowing and then reflecting.

36. The more we are able to become children again, to remain childish, the more we can understand why we love the world and are open to understanding, to understanding; when we kill our inner child, we are no longer there.

The vitality of childhood is irreplaceable.

37. Only by abolishing the situation of oppression is it possible to restore the love that that situation made impossible. If I do not live in the world, if I do not love life, if I do not like people, I cannot enter into dialogue.

Phrase to apply to our daily life.

38. To educate is to imbue everything we do at every moment with meaning.

Nothing has pedagogical value if it does not explain or transmit an emotion.

39. I looked at a farmer and asked him how many children do you have? Three – he answered. Would you sacrifice two of your children by subjecting them to suffering, so that the third could study? No – he answered… then is it really God who does these things?… No. It is not God who does them. It is the pattern.

A little story that should make us think.

40. Sectarianization represents an obstacle to the emancipation of human beings.

Having a free and permeable thought allows a greater integration of knowledge and know-how.

41. Every relationship of domination, exploitation and oppression is already violence. It does not matter whether it is done through drastic means or not.

On the implicit forms of violence.

42. The revolution is born as a social entity within the oppressive society.

In the line of thinkers like Lenin, Paulo Freire establishes this characterization about social revolutions.

43. As long as the oppressed remain unaware of the causes of their fatalistic condition, they accept their exploitation.

A kind of slave indulgence.

44. Reading is not walking in the words; it is taking the soul out of them.

Reflection that gives meaning to the knowledge acquired.

45. Men and women rarely admit their fear of freedom openly, but rather tend to camouflage it by presenting themselves as defenders of freedom.

About the prevailing hypocrisy.