Teachers of the World Unite!
Paulo Freire, the Brazilian educator, advocated the need for a complete restructuring of western educational practice, particularly when dealing with working class or non-traditional, poor students. Freire's seminal Pedagogy of the Oppressed describes his struggle to liberate, rather than domesticate, oppressed persons. I am interested in developing a network of international educators who, like Freire, believe that oppressed persons are willing and able to change the conditions under which they live.
"There is not a true word which is not at the same time a praxis.
Thus, to speak a true word is to transform the world."
-Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
International Liberatory Educator's Group
Let's change the world today!
Click Here for the Liberatory Education Site Guide
The International Liberatory Educator's Group seeks to open a forum where we can share teaching methods. My experience includes teaching at both the university and community-college level in the US, Armenia, Japan, and Palau. During my stay in Micronesia I tried to apply the principles of liberatory educators Paulo Freire and Ira Shor in my classrooms in Palau. My Palauan students were akin to "at-risk" US community college students; they are conversant in English, but they have serious difficulties with "Academic" writing. The challenge is to open these students to critical thinking without "domesticating" them by using the current traditional model of US teaching methodology. Last year, I changed both jobs and countries; I am currently living and working in Japan at the community-college level. The challenge here for a "critical educator" is to get the EFL students to realize the position of priviledge from which they view the world. My current students are all (almost all, at least) wealthy young Japanese women who have little experience of economic oppression. However, these young ladies certainly have some first-hand knowledge of sexist oppresion. My current work is an attempt at merging the critical teaching methods of Ira Shor with EFL methodology. Thus far, I have met limited success, but I am hopeful as my wife undertook a language project last semester which allowed some of her students to "Extraordinarily re-experience the ordinary." (Shor) If you are interested in opening students' minds without slamming the door to their souls, I can highly recommend Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed as a starting point. This text changed not only my teaching practice, but my life as well. If you want to support both my page and research, visit the Liberatory Education Book Shoppe by following the link below. Our book shoppe is associated with Amazon.com, and I've recently posted some reviews of titles that should be considered required reading for those who want to learn about the practice of liberatory education. Please send some news of your classroom successes or failures, or just join our dialogue by posting questions or concerns to our new online discussion group linked below. Sorry about the lack of fancy graphics here, but I want to save disk space for your input.
- Why are our students alienated?
- How can we encourage students to think critically about the world?
- As educators, what do we make of the "cultural literacy" (Hirsch) that is being pushed so stringently by some in the US system?
- Teachers, or ANYONE interested in liberatory education, please feel free to post questions in our forum or send me your questions using the Comment Form! Thanks for taking part in education!
- Share your classroom practice NOW in our new Teachers' On-line Discussion Forum Start our dialogue TODAY!
Web Resources for Liberatory Education
- For those unfamiliar with the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, a brief biography and a limited bibliography can be found at the Freire Page listed on the popular "People You Should Know Site."
- For those of you who have recently encountered Pedagogy of the Oppressed, or if you just want to check out a glossary of Freire's terminology try the Thresholds in Education Page.
- Education Theory without practice is worthless, so take a look at my experience trying to initiate liberatory pracice in the classrooom: Classroom Practice.
Send your experiences to the Comments Forum so that we can learn from one another!
- For a brief discussion of problems encountered while applying liberatory education in a second language situation, check out my experience and frustration in Palau.
- For EFL/ESL teachers interested in the application of liberatory education to language teaching, take a look at the NCLE Digest entry on Freire's approach to language instruction.
Language teachers: Please post your concerns or questions in our new ESL Forum!
- EFL Teachers: We've just added a page especially for you. Try our Politics and the English Language Page.
- Sign up NOW for the NEW Liberatory Education E-Newsletter. We are starting a new monthly or bi-monthly newsletter for those of you who want to liberate rather than domesticate students. Click HERE to join our Liberatory E-Letter mailing list and find out how you can contribute to this effort!
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Please contact us today either by e-mail or responding to our Comments form linked above if you are interested in changing the world by changing who, what, and how we TEACH.
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