FromThe Pedagogy of The Oppressed to An Educational Policy Model


This article analyzes the historical, dialectical and educational aspects refering to the Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire (1921-1997), a revolutionary text, considered one of the fundamental texts of critical and social pedagogy in the 20th century. Related to our article subject; we will analyze the theoretical and practical implicationsofthe principles of participatory and egalitarian education methods. How can we undermine the mechanisms of a non-critic education tamed by rules and coercive measures ? Problem-posing education, as a humanist and liberating praxis, posits as fundamental that the people subjected to domination must fight for their emancipation. The world no longer something to be described with deceptive words- becomes the object of that transforming action by men and women which results in their humanization. Pedagogy of the Oppressed stands out through the fundamental objective that is employed in the social and cognitive empowerment of education that is in critical condition, but also through developing an original educational technology which reflects an entirely metodological philosophy of the exceedingly difficult process of adult literacy. Theoretical and practical implications of this technology is a source of historical synchronic and diachronic analysis, exploitable in present across multiple sciences of education- from the sociology of education to psychology and anthropology of education , from curriculum theory to adult pedagogy theory , from sociology curriculum to educational policies , so on and so forth.

Keywords: Pedagogy of the OppressedSocial PedagogyDehumanizationAngicos Literacy ProjectSocio-cognitive EmancipationEducational Policies


The Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Freire, 1970) is one of the most influential works of the

pedagogy world, in wich there are debated themes born in the middle of the literacy from Brazil in the

60`s. This work of Social Pedagogy shows and analyzes deeply the problem of political and economical

oppression in Latin America, in relation with the historical phenomenon of colonization and

psychosocial matters. Over his career and pedagogy work, Freire tries to elaborate an adapted at a poor

social environment curriculum. In this context, he tries to start and implement actions of literacy, wich

purpose is to fight for the autonomy for thoes who are exploited in the process of alienation of the human

beeing by men. His ideas are reported specifically at thoes who are illiterate, at thoes who, having no

knowledge about writeing or reading, had no political, community or cultural rights, not knowing the

name of a bus, a street or a product from a store, not beeing able to read The Bible or recognize and sign

an administrative document etc. Illiteracy it`s transposing itself in a form of social invisibility that Freire

tries to combate by social pedagogy methods, not only by political approach or politicizing. He is

considering his difficult personal stories seen as inevitable in the way of social and cognitive

emancipation.This is the resource and the binder of the implementation of an epistemological revolution

in Social pedagogy . His educational and psycho- sociocultural dynamics it`s generated by the emotional

experience of each and every person who needs to be known, respected and harnessed at an social

pedagocial level.

2.Angicos Literacy Project: Historical, Social and Pedagogical Perspectives

Social pedagogy is centered on his Freire projects of pedagogical and social emancipation,

necessary in a social context determined history. In agreement with the paradigm of social pedagogy, the

project of literacy from Angicos is designed by reference to the general social situation of the 1960’s,

who have represented a historical period for Europe, USA and Latin America, characterized by the

proliferation of political movements and cultural, educational and religious, the appellant tending

democratic renewal. Freire’s pedagogy reflect this historical context and designing a road map in the field

of adult literacy organic achievable by means of special education, in an area marked by cultural

ignorance and social dependency.

The program will debut in 1962, thanks to the Convention signed between the SEC ( Securities

Exchange Commission -panorama II US Government) and the Brazilian region of Rio Grande do Norte,

thus creating the possibility to develop a literacy project with funding from the Alliance for progress

(Vittoria, 2010). Freire proposes a method of literacy in Angicos, a small town in northern Brazil and

isolated, which at that time had a mortality of 60 percent of all new-born children and an illiteracy rate of

over 70 percent of the inhabitants of the town, after the dates offered by the journalist Luiz Lobo (Lobo,

1963). You must note the exceptional creativity demonstrated in the area of educational technology,

necessary in a socio-cultural and economic context extremely vulnerable that inhibit the achievement of

literacy through viable solutions and pedagogical reasons, not only political or community. Freire noted

that during that period, the technique of learning reading and writing felt the paradoxes between

Phonetics and Semantics , between language and meaning of the word and the world . By fighting this

technique of learning cut off from the context, far removed from the reality of social psychological and

educated, in a critical situation, high vulnerability, Freire will create a new Social Pedagogy, developing

an original educational technology which reflects an entirely metodological philosophy of the

exceedingly difficult process of adult literacy.

2.1 The Praxis of Emancipation

For an understanding of the psychological identy dimension of learning oral and writtenlanguage

by adults, will be essential reporting to psychological theories that examine fundamental learning,

providing important suggestions in Pedagogy generally, Social pedagogy , specifically.

Such a theory of learning, to facilitate an understanding of Paulo Freire’s literacy methodology, is

the one developed in Thought and language (Vygotsky, 1962)- work that provides a significant

theoretical approach in social-interactive perspective, which argues that the intellectual development of a

human being can not be considered in a social vacuum, but in the zone of proximal development .

According to this theory, the acquisition of spoken language and its written code favours the elaboration

of subjective language intrapsychic, i.e. training, through social interaction (priority sociocultural and

affective) of an interior able to maximize language learning under the condition of social training.

Vygotsky, which apparently it inspires Freire, believes that only through national language, acquired in

social learning situations can be harnessed narrative of the availability of educated, their ability to

organize the emotions that give an existential sense of history in each individual.

Learning approach in the spirit of Vygotsky’s theory, reflected in Freire’s Social Pedagogy, allows

you to define conceptual literacy that represents, at the same time cultural, affective and social,

psychosocial and educational act is located in an enclosed space, and reported on the history of the

community in general and the individuals who compose it- in particular.

From a psychological point of view, we are able to manage what they feel and to convey in a

comprehensible manner what can represent a topic with relevant significance not only for others, but also

the context in which we live. In support of this idea, we call on an expression that belongs to Paulo Freire,

author of history of its own subject passed which can discover, at the same time (idea promoted also by

Pestalozzi’s pedagogy), his own humanity, which allows it to be recognized as an active member of

humanity (or community) with its own features. The acquisition of language is linked to the possibility of

using symbolic functions that organize thoughts and representations that we have about things, about the

world and about ourselves. What interests us here is to understand how written language-reading

interferes with the ability to produce subjectivity as a fundamental factor in human history, providing the

possibility for any human being to become conscious of themselves, of their own sources and resources,

to express itself according to its own characteristics, needs and abilities.

As well, the philosopher Alain Badiou exposed in the subject's Théorie du sujet (2008), passing

over the subjectivity (process in which language learning is important in the formation of consciousness,

how to be with respect to its own history) is an act of justice and is the basis for creating equal relations in

the same manner as these subjectivity are recognized. When people understand and make themselves

understood, there is autonomy , communication and meeting (Badiou, 2008). There is, therefore, the

necessary conditions for a harmonious and companionships efforts, which, in turn, creates prerequisites

for the respect for human dignity in the spirit of active citizenship.

Literacy is not, however, automatically generating the emancipatory and subjectivity. It depends

on the type of relation and of pedagogical objectives (psychological and social), assumed by the educator

as a subliminal vector in transmission patterns of bias and worldview. One can even say that any

educational report is based on a relationship of power, by configuring a conception on the human

relations. Danilo Dolci (1924-1997), italian popular educator, social activist, sociologist- who

alphabetized whole rural communities oppressed by the Sicilian Mafia in the 1950’s in the spirit of

opposition to powerty and social exclusion, exposed such domination power connotations: the power

belongs to all, everyone can think, act, can decide what he wants to, everyone can express their own

potential, could become the subject of one's own project of life and the subject of a broader human

project (Dolci apud Vittoria, 2010). Literacy is conceived as a sociocognitive process of emancipation,

and adult literacy is a priority, a complex process of liberation. There is no doubt that illiteracy is viewed

as a consequence of poverty and lack of equality.

Therefore, the process of literacy is not only cognitive but also social, even "ideological". The

method focuses on literacy development for learning, socratic dialogue after forming people who learn to

listen. Freirean educator values The many’ s ideas, their cultures, their ability to engage in dialogue in the

context of the collective, to learn and to emancipate.

2.2 The Dialectics of Praxis - a Source of Historical Synchronic and Diachronic Analysis

The Dialectics - a Hegelian concept- is a process of change which develops throughout the time all

over the world. Elements of dialectical thinking, one of the most important parts of holistic thinking are

found in Pedagogy of the Oppressed . According to Hegel’s ideas, the community is transposed here as a

process of self-development of the idea, determined by internal contradictions.

Paulo Freire’s method of literacy leverages that epistemological curiosity, developed as an object

of science, which is dynamic, allowing all members of the group to be participatory through the praxis-

sitemap. For the purposes mentioned by Aristotle, the concept of praxis disclose a process of critical

reflection, achievable through a critical distancing towards the world, necessary to contribute to the

transformation that world in a less unjust world, less bad, less inhuman. This transformation process aims

to learning social justice, validated on a personal level, but also collective. Stimulate awareness of

individuals through a genuine, political education, in a general sense, civic. With her help, people could

acquire knowledge and exploited power because foster literacy and social-political perception. In this

instance, it cannot be separated from the political : Each pedagogical act is a political act in favor of the

oppressed, the convicts of the society (Freire, 1970).

Epistemological revolution undertaken by Paulo Freire is accomplished by creating a methodology

in which literacy is based on words arising from the familiar language of the community- the proximal

area . It involves a subtly pedagogical process that, in its simplicity, it has profound social implications in

order to return (through language) to the people cultural dignity of community members in the research of

repositioning, able to create moments of dialogue and productive confrontation in an educational,

psychosocial plan.

In the education of the oppressed , teaching and learning spaces were arranged by Freire in Crop

Circles using the traditional layout of the class only if the Board or plates. Instead of frontal lessons,

Freire proposes a circular organization of the class, favouring in this way the interaction and dialogue

between educators and students, which gradually became subjects of knowledge process. This educational

process predict layout in the context of the roundness of a system of training that does not simply transfer

information from educator to student, but ask the tutor to build learning together with students, a generic

type to putting the lapis philosophorum to the foundation of awareness of knowledge’s relativity.

Adult person need to listen, but also re-discuss the word, to be able to receive and generate further

meanings and meanings. In this context, the word is not a trainer alone, provided the person who teaches,

but a common good of the group that reflects, discusses, develops through reasoning on the word itself.

In this direction lies, incidentally, and circularity in the perspective of culture of a democratic and

participatory education.

From the perspective of contexts, Crop Circles were organized in informal places: in prison, in

different public spaces (including school) or even in the homes of those who were going to be literacy’s.

Thus, the condition is created to the issue of the relationship between educator and educated by the

didactic discourse constraints traditionalist, magistrocentrist, centered solely on the authoritarian values

of education conducted in a formal school environment, relatively closed.

At the level of theory, training of teachers, normativity designed in the spirit of Sociology of

education and of interest to Sociology curriculum , specifically the process of gradual implementation. the

Paulo Freire’s method involves three-stages :

1) Research groups with lexical universe to work through some meetings with residents of the

Community debate within circles of culture, that same relevant issues, facts, experiences, the way of

understanding reality. In this first step, educators tried to live with those educated, entering into contact

with individuals, families, small groups, daily situations, without thereby be established in an invasion of

the community itself.It is addressed to the local community to explain intentionality’s.

2) Knowledge of the universe and the theme words used chiefly by the community which prepares

for literacy. The universe is made up of vocabulary explored common words, proverbs, songs, and

research opportunities are represented by prayers, holidays, meetings of Union-led so as to reduce the

maximum possible distance between the researchers and the community. It is a process that has as a

principle treating educated as you own research subjects, reflecting together on social reality and the

words described. At this stage occur: a) selecting the generating words -the terms used most frequently in

local popular language, underscoring hopes, anxieties, frustrations, future intentions, etc..; b) applying an

evaluation criterion in the triple when selecting words and enhancement:: b-1) syntactic criteria (wealth,

phonetic complex degree of difficulty); b-2) semantic criteria (major/minor intensity of the link between

word and you decide); b-3) pragmatic criteria (major/minor possibility of awareness that the word itself,

in conjunction with a range of socio-cultural reactions he generates from a person or group who uses it).

The word is itself generating thought, communication, dialogue, emotion and meaning. This was

in particular an understanding of the context in its historical dimension and daily life. The language was

first of all lived in the context of the interaction between the subjects integrated into a specific contextual

reality. Research universe activity involves vocabulary learning and teaching debate. The minimum unit

of research gets the Word as the Foundation of communication, dialogue, interaction, in his deep

significance to the world at an idea to a reality, at the intentionalities, the history of that. In this sense,

Freire refer that " (...) the problem arises not so reading the word, as a more rigorous reading of the

world that always precedes the word reading. The word is not an exclusivity of the trainee, offered by the

person who teaches, but a common good of the group that reflects, discusses, develops through reasoning

on the word itself (...)"(Freire apud Lyra, 1996, p.31). Expression of results, every group choose 15-18

words with important significance for community and allowed a phonetic adaptation in learning. These

terms were defined by the formula of generating words (Freire, 1970). The words selected from the

generating circles of Angicos recall the culture in daily life: povo (the people), tijolo (brick), milho (corn),

goleiro (goalkeeper), sapato (sandals), voto (note).

3) Description of some representative framework situations, inspired by the daily life of the local

community in the form of a drawing, a slide or holder is visible as an x-ray of community life. Cases,

coded in these "exposures" were decoded through collective discussions, by discovering their real

meanings. The methodology proposed by Freire, as educational technology subordinate to Social

Pedagogy, constitutes a cultural tool not only for educators, but also for those educated. Once the

generator word was individualized, broken down into syllables and syllables from successive reassembly,

learners groups formed new words, which, in turn, seemed familiar, and learned from their own context.

For example, the word TIJOLO (brick) was decomposed into syllables [ TI-JO-LO] , then there were

other identified similar syllables as follows: [ TA] [ TE ] [ TI ] [ TO] [ TU ] ; [ JA] [ JE ] [ JI ] [

JO] [ JU ] ; [ LA] [ LE ] [ LI ] [ LO] [ LU ] (Freire apud Lyra, 1996). Combining various syllables

from among those groups of students as exemplified, discovered new words-for example TELA (textile

factory). Another example is the word Espresso (bus from Angicos), used in daily language by members

of the community, whereas the bus was the only means of transportation with which they reach other

cities and towns (ibid., p. 31). Learning content thus are identified with learning process itself.

The three-stage process that emphasizes the pedagogical developed essential teaching actions

Freire and socio-cultural objectives which are specific to the: a) literacy; b) raising awareness; c) release.

The basic idea is that literacy is not an end in itself or a simple buying technique, but a constructive

pedagogical process which ensures that the rapprochement with the literate people of his own life,

realizing gradually, through awareness-raising, social context, the environment in which it participates, so

an individual release in communion with others.

3.Responses for Educational Policies following The Pedagogy of the Oppressed

The concepts used by The Pedagogy of the Oppressed praxis (action&reflection), easter

experience, dialogue, generative themes, codification, conscientization, education in which knowledge is

a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those whom they consider to know

nothing (Freire, 1970) - can be a concrete response, sought in the field of education, to the inequalities

and oppression from the marginalized people of symbolic violence, turning it into a practical theory that

can provide ideas for reorienting educational policies from every corner of the world. Developed on the

basis of the language of the community, the experience of Angicos in literacy had a surprising efficiency

demonstrated at the level of creative and communicative potential of the literacy’s. It is known in history

as the experience of the 40 hours of Angicos, because of the 300 days allocated to project complex,

literacy itself was done over a period of 40 days and 40 hours.

The process of engaging the general public in conjunction with the tendency to transform reality in

democratic terms as favored quickness in learning processes. On the other hand, it is equally true that the

social context of renewal, as Freire noted, clearly influenced the success of the project based on a specific

social literacy pedagogy. Freire himself points out that, in reality, a lot depends on literacy and historical

context in which it is carried out, certainly this historical climate influence learning time : One thing was

to take the activity in the 1960s, and another, completely different, to work in the 70’s…What conditions

could cause a stimulus within the meaning of the word, and reading world dominance, in the silence, like

the one from the 70’s ? (Freire, &Guimarães, 1987, pp. 29-30-31). In the process of literacy, therefore,

these two poles must be taken into account: on the one hand, the objectives of social conditions,

historical; on the other hand, the conditions of those involved in the process of literacy. The results, more

or less positive, not only for pleasure or less learning, because colonialism lives in a specific social

dependence. With regard to the process, since that time, Freire mentioned: I remark we insist a lot. . . in

order not to exaggerate both the issue of the 40 hours, and on the right to read and write (ibid., pp. 29-


The methodological philosophy inspired by Latin American space generates complex implications,

emphasizing the idea of becoming a human during and following the communication process in

communion with others - in other words, beyond reading the word is reading the world (Freire apud

Vittoria, 2010). It lies in the educational practice in observing the events, in dialogue with students in

what we can define generic reading experiences. The impact of educational technology launched by

brazilian educator will be reflected widely in open context, at the level of practice, and pedagogical

theory. It is a measurable impact in the area of General Didactics and Didactics of Sociology and

Psychology to Sociology, Curriculum Instruction, but also the Management classof students.

Teaching should (re)become a communication experience, an experience of human relations,

dialogue and cooperation, rather than a process of transmitting knowledge with one-way. Furthermore, he

must become a means of removing the obstacles that lie in the path of communication between

individuals, classes and social groups, between Nations. This is the most significant contribution that the

knowledge and experience they can bring to the development of education, training and educating the

young generation. The method Paulo Freire has the resources as yet unknown and unimproved in the

perspective of curriculum paradigm’sconceptual framework, understood and addressed as a paradigm of

the postmodern pedagogy, affirmed in postmodern society, knowledge-based information, and on respect

for social rights, democratic, cultural and educational figures, each.

Defining educational policies should be a process that is emerging problems, formulating

questions, searching for answers, and solutions are proposed taking into account the historical, cultural,

personal and social, the educational action. The theory cannot be dissociated of practice, she derives from

it and they interrelated toeach other, leading to a development of pedagogical science in tacit spirit of a

posteriori knowledge - that "knowledge cannot be separated from the production activity which

permeates " (Flona, 1994, p.21). Educational experiences in the spirit of social renewal are the Foundation

for all data analysis experience relating to human under the action of a community bounded in time and

space, reported to the social conditions, political etc.. The concrete content of human action composed of

all individual needs, with their special and peculiar implications is the origin theory.

In the field of Education Policies must lie on an important place of education achievement

facilitating participatory experiences, interpreted as a social fact that take advantage of efficient human

resources through: a) promotion of genuine democracy; b) the holistic vision of the human being over; c)

targeting the socio-cultural and anthropological understanding of personality education, in the context of

the environment in which they live and thrive; d) increasing the role of social reality analysis in decision-

making (the finality of education should reflect the requirements of the wider society/community

narrow); e) the development of national plans for integration into the socio-cultural environment, in

economic, political, moral; f) the expansion of the company's educational function.

Paulo Freire commented on the experience of Angicos in the terms expressed profound

psychosocial dimension, its educational technology, developed in a spirit of social reform, teachers can

even revolutionary: "We broke a number of methodological tabù’s. We exceeded the school through what

we call culture Circles, I exceeded the student through the participant to the debate, the traditional lesson

through dialogue, academic program through sociological situations that provoke reflection and debate

with the groups that propose and achieve a level of knowledge that exists and that's tied to people's

opinion of the existence " (Freire apud Lyra, 1996, pp. 114-115).


The concepts are universal for freirean methods that transcend time. Practice without analysis does

not produce change, just constant confrontation between theory and practice will produce new insights.

Pedagogy of the Oppressed , although it addresses issues of pedagogy, pedagogical passes and transcends

any specific disciplinary, cross because it is becoming deeply human. A historical process

marginalisation precedes dramatic, complex in terms of its devastating trauma, by the size of the

segments that we influence life: language, culture, economy, religion. It is a form of symbolic violence

that nullifies the individual identities of entities/a people, causing a real cultural schizophrenia.

Educational transformation of reality from an unjust society, in a more open and democratic, can be done

through critical analysis and the maturing of popular culture traditions, celebrations, legendary figures,

the uniqueness, its religiosity, which expresses the social and creative culture.

Historical sight is one of the basic principles of the Freire’s philosophy - inside of history it

construct a process of becoming, of integration into the world and not adapting to the world; Human

history, as a possibility, as the force of the human dream, may facilitate the construction of new

hypotheses of reading of the world- today we can learn how to design the future as a permanent

dialectical opposition between consciousness and the world.

THE CHALLENGE lies in criticism, learning exceeded understands social dynamics in their

complexity, acting through the dialectic between action and reflection on the action itself, constructing

theory, critical reflection on the practices of exclusion. REINVENTING Paulo Freire is possible and can

be challenging for rethinking Education Policies from Romania and from anywhere. Perfectibility is a

sine-qua-non of EDUCATION .


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