Freire Project

the Paulo and Nita Freire international project for critical pedagogy – also in french and spanish

Linked with Critical Pedagogy on the Web, and with what about the obligation to know.

  • The Freire Project is dedicated to building an international critical community which works to promote social justice in a variety of
  • cultural contexts. We are committed to conducting and sharing critical research in social, political, and educational locations.
  • The project promotes research in Critical Pedagogy, and brings together local and international educators. We are committed to continuing the global development of Critical Pedagogy and to highlighting its relevance with marginalized and indigenous peoples … (full text about).

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Project Description – (by Joe L. Kincheloe): In the early twenty-first century it has become clichéd among many educational researchers to describe education as a Janus-faced institution with its two faces looking toward opposite goals and outcomes: …

… … in one direction, a democratic, inclusive, socially sensitive objective concerned with multiple sources of knowledge and socio-economic mobility for diverse students from marginalized backgrounds; and in the other, a standardized, exclusive, socially regulatory agenda that serves the interest of dominant power and those students most closely aligned with the social and cultural qualities associated with such power. Thus, in the contemporary era educational scholars in faculties of education and educators in elementary and secondary schools walk through a complex terrain of contradictions in their everyday professional pursuits, as educational researchers tend to find evidence of both progressive and regressive purposes in most educational institutions. In such a context the notion of “becoming a teacher” involves far more complex bodies of knowledge and conceptual insights than is sometimes found in both teacher education and educational research programs.

Emerging from Paulo Freire’s work in poverty-stricken northeastern Brazil in the 1960s, critical pedagogy amalgamated liberation theological ethics with progressive impulses in education. Critical pedagogy gained an international audience with the 1967 publication of Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and its 1970 English translation. By the mid-1970s several scholars in faculties of education and other disciplines adapted Freire’s conception of critical pedagogy into a so-called first-world context. Over the next decade, critical pedagogy influenced teacher education, educational scholarship, and pedagogical practice in Canada and the United States. In the last half of the first decade of the twenty-first century, the field is at a conceptual crossroads at researchers contemplate the nature of its movement to the next phase of its evolution. The research proposed here seeks to explore the possibilities of this next phase.

In my work I have explored this second phase of critical pedagogy in relation to the recognition of the previously referenced complexity (Kincheloe, 2004). Attention to this complexity with the multiple forms of knowledge and the diverse research methodologies studies of it demand forces proponents of critical pedagogy to ask revealing questions about the purposes of extant educational practice and the nature of its outcomes. Such questions and the answers scholars provide will help shape the next phase of critical pedagogy. What is the relation between classroom practice and issues of justice? How do schools reflect or subvert democratic practices and the larger culture of democracy? How do schools operate to validate or challenge the power dynamics of race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, indigeneous/aboriginal issues, physical ability-related concerns, etc? How do such processes play out in diverse classrooms located in differing social, cultural, and economic domains? How do the knowledges schools and other social institutions choose to transmit replicate political relationships in the larger society and affect the academic performance of students from dissimilar socio-economic and cultural backgrounds? The ability to provide intellectually rigorous answers to such questions that lead to practical educational policy and practice is a key dimension of critical pedagogy.

Because of the previously referenced complexity, advocates of critical pedagogy understand that no simple, universally applicable answers can be provided to these questions. Indeed, each of these questions has to be asked time and again by teachers and other educational professionals operating in different historical times and diverse pedagogical locales. Critical pedagogy understands that no educator who seeks to promote individual intellectual development, socio-political and economic justice, and institutional academic rigor can escape the complex contextual specificity of these challenging questions. The research plan proposed here addresses these realities as it constructs a plan to invigorate the study of such phenomena in the second phase of critical pedagogy in Canada and around the world.

Proponents of critical pedagogy appreciate the fact that all educational spaces are unique and politically contested. Constructed by history and challenged by a wide variety of interest groups, educational practice is an ambiguous phenomenon as it takes place in numerous settings, is molded by numerous and often invisible forces and structures, and can operate under the flag of democracy and justice in oppressive and totalitarian ways. Practitioners of critical pedagogy report that some teacher education students, educational leaders, parents, and members of the general public often have difficulty appreciating the fact that schooling can be hurtful to particular students from specific backgrounds in unique social, cultural, and economic settings—for example, indigenous and aboriginal students. Many individuals often have trouble empathizing with students harmed by such negative educational dynamics because schooling in their experience has played such a positive role in their own lives.

Thus, critical pedagogy is a domain of research and practice that asks much from those who encounter it. Critical pedagogical teacher education and leadership involve more than learning pedagogical techniques and the knowledge required by the mandated curriculum. Teachers and leaders steeped in critical pedagogy in addition to acquiring teaching methods also understand the social, economic, psychological, and political dimensions of the schools, districts, and systems in which they operate. They also possess a wide range of knowledge about the information systems in the larger culture that serve as pedagogical forces in the lives of students and other members of society: television, radio, popular music, movies, the Internet, podcasts, and youth subcultures; alternative bodies of knowledge produced by indigenous, marginalized, or low-status groups; the ways different forms of power operate to construct identities and empower and oppress particular groups; and the modus operandi of the ways socio-cultural regulation operates.

Democracy is a fragile entity, advocates of critical pedagogy maintain, and embedded in educational policy and practice are the very issues that make or break it. Understanding these diverse dimensions and structures that shape schooling and the knowledge it conveys is necessary, critical pedagogues believe, to the very survival of democratic schooling—not to mention the continued existence of democracy itself. The analysis of the ways these complex forces evolve in a globalized, technological, electronic communications-based era marked by grand human migrations is central to study proposed here.

Research Objectives: … (full long text project description).

Link: Critical Pedagogy on wikipedia.

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