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on 30 June 2004
Friere's classic book seeks to understand the way that the form in which education is offered can have a profound impact on the effect which that education has. His work comes out of the experience of running literacy classes for peasant people in Latin America. What he found was that traditional types of educational practice reproduced passivity and disinterest, and reinforced in those people's eyes the idea that they could never acquire an education. He sought to offer a different kind of education where the process of learning was linked with an understanding of the dynamics of power and oppression. For Friere education was about the process of "becoming fully human" and coming to a consciousness of the world around you. He found these methods to be extremely successful, as have many educators working with socially marginalised groups who have entered education. At a time when large numbers of "non-traditional" students are entering the 'new university' sector in the UK, this book, offers an important resource to teachers and students alike. Though it has been several years since it was first published, it deserves to come into its own yet again.
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on 16 October 2007
An essential book for those who wish to understand how education is strongly connected to social inequality and how it is used to dominate the oppressed masses. This book is interesting and relevant not only within the context of Brazilian inequality, but also in a wider context that involves every developing country and perhaps even developed ones.
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Not an easy read according to some other reviewers.

Well it becomes difficult if the staple diet is pop psyche and other puerility; It takes me two or three goes to read a page and then let it sink in. There are some people I can skim but always balk at skimming this one, he says so much about education.

This is just the opposite of verbose, the insights are so distilled he says more in one sentence than most philosophers say in a book. It just keeps on going like a machine gun firing never ending bullets of corn seed, maize and magical insights to feed the imagination of the poor and those left out of the feeding trough. If you are an educational bully who believes in empty vessels then turn away now.This book is not for you, neither is teaching as a career.

In the first few pages he talks about the peasants rising through the system to behave as Kapo, people exhibiting worse empathy than the previous master, move over George Orwell. The "masters" who enjoy exercising power are emotionally empty, stripped by their educational journey- public school and lashings of it. Then there are the conservatives who wish to stop time and then replicate the perennial moment where they overpower all others. Alienation; as a tool to suppress the majority, by making their lives mundane. Countering this he perceives love as a weapon, rather than the use of machine guns, to create a new form of social interaction. The use of critical understanding to throw off the shackles of stupidity. These new regimes will replace the old by their versatility, the evolution of (wo) man.

The second chapter deals with the problems of education of stuffing knowledge into empty vessels, entailing the alienation of learning and its stifling of critical reflection upon the soul, destroying natural curiosity, shredding creativity and colonising the child with adult thoughts. Freiere looks at how people at the bottom of the rungs internalise the discourse of their own stupidity and through realisation, finally become aware they have been duped.

The book is brimming with distilled essence, 100% proof intoxicant liquor for the soul. Those who feign boredom are dead already, berated by the critical parent inside their heads repeating; Is that all there is?

The real critique of this book is why, after selling 500,000 copies, we are still living in one form of a capitalist cave when the golden fields of paradise beckon just beyond the horizon. What has inhibited the dreams of wide open spaces?

Is it the fear of freedom?
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on 26 October 2016
One of my favourite books of all time. Be warned- the translation from portugese to English can make the text seem a little impenetrable at first. In fact, I've been using this book on various courses through the years, and would say it took many readings to grasp the timeless wisdom contained within. Freire understands deeply what it means to be oppressed, and manages to illustrate how many routes to freedom simply 'flip flop' the power of the oppressor onto the previously oppressed. That might not be too illuminating a review, but I ensure you grappling withthis book will leave you with a much more developed understading of power, love and the human condition. A must read for all and particularly relevant to professions where there's a vested interest in dismantling inequality.
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on 10 December 2003
I admit that for most this hardly makes light bedtime reading, but it is worth persevering with. If you expect to pick it up, read it and instantaneously know everything there is to know about oppression then you are sadly mistaken, and as far as I understand the book at the moment, the author would not hope for that to be the case.
But this book is so so so worth persevering with. When the Freire's ideas are pondered over within the context of life, living and working with the oppressed, as a subject of oppression, maybe even as an oppressor, this book will be invaluable in the search for living out liberation.
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on 20 January 2011
Compulsive Reading

The Coalition Government is committed to training 5,000 'community organisers,' based on Freire and Alinsky, from 2011 - 2015. This book, Freire's most famous, is therefore compulsive reading for anyone trying to understand the impact these 'community organisers' might have on UK society, particularly at neighbourhood level.
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I purchased this book as part of my studies to gain full teaching accreditation. My assignment was on the Curriculum and my reading led to understand that Freire's works and theories on the Curriculum were paramount even in today's education. This book has been extremely useful in understanding how education for the poor, or the less privileged must be instigated by them and not by the ruling classes (as it were). This may seem somewhat are archaeic, but it is easy to see how the theories can be applied today, and the effect this needs to have on the Curriculum to enable inclusive education.Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Penguin Education) Highly recommended for those studying to gain their PGCE or PCET, or even for teachers who wish to improve their knowledge of education.
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on 21 April 2015
If you read one book in your life time, make it this one! I found this book one of the most enlightening reads I have ever had. As you read through you can see not only the historical issues that inspired Freire to write this book but you will also recognise the subtle oppression of the 21st century.
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on 14 April 2015
This book was a very good read in terms of opening my eyes to the interrelated aspects of oppression, liberation, and education (pedagogical methods). The author as well as the translator use very eloquent words in expressing the meanings they wish to convey, and thus define new concepts for the mind of the reader to use them throughout the whole text repeatedly in a very effective manner.

The author discusses the banking model of education in this book, and elaborates on this model's purpose of continuous oppression of the masses. He also offers a comprehensive analysis between dialogical and antidialogical approaches, and connects them very well (thought sometimes it was hard to comprehend from the first time) with the process of oppression. He simply puts education, liberation, and oppression together throughout the whole text in a way that ties them together as if it was the most obvious thing in the world (and it is to a certain extent, though I think that he got carried away).

On a con note, the book is too idealistic, and it also promotes several well-known dictators (or controversial at best) as dialogical and freedom-fighting figures. Probably that wasn't clear for the author when he wrote this book, or probably he wanted to see the cup half full with these characters as they resembled the closest relation the model he discusses.

On a pro note, the author elaborates (although not for long) on a modern approach towards a Socratic dialogue-like method in education and knowledge seeking, with the main aim of infusing the world with the people and reclaiming the people's ability to "name the world", leading them towards a higher critical consciousness which would eventually allow them to overthrow any form of oppression and create a prosperous critically thinking and acting (through reflection and action; "Praxis" as he defines it) society.

A great read, and a very strong book for all the third world nations and their peoples. It hits the right spots and the right buttons and I would recommend it as one of the essential-reading books of any nation-uplifting efforts around the world (especially in the face of oppressive regimes).
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on 21 April 2012
In social history the oppressed class has always had the same barriers, to perceive themselves as a group and then to create a change in their circumstances. Over time nothing changes except identity of the oppressed and the oppressor. This book is as relevant today as it was 40 years ago. It should be read by teachers, community workers, sociologists and all those interested in why the road to change is so slow.
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