Paulo Freire was regarded by many on left as one of the most significant educational thinkers of the twentieth century. His most famous book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed applies the ideas of Antonio Gramsci and U.S. philosopher and socialist John Dewey to educational projects of organizers and educators working along with the oppressed in a capitalist society.
In Brazil in the 1960’s, Paulo Freire and his coworkers taught peasants to read in about 30 hours using cultural circles. They developed a theory to explain their action. The theory required praxis, an interaction of consciousness, and social action on the side of the poor (Freire, 1972). Often working along side of efforts of Liberation Theology, Freire, his students and allies formed teams of cultural workers to engage peasants in dialogue to develop literacy and to democratize knowledge, culture, and power in their societies.
The works of Freire and his teams have had a profound effect on literacy, political ,and education practices worldwide. Revolutionary projects in Brazil , Nicaragua, Cuba, Guinea-Bissau, and elsewhere applied and developed his pedagogical ideas .
Activist come to understand the relationship between education and a political commitment to struggle for justice through dialogue with a group of participants engaged in political struggle. Then, with this clear view, they intervene to struggle for justice and democracy.
Freire’s work focused on the relationship between literacy, education and the practice of freedom.
In his work he noted that it was participation in social justice struggles ( not class room lectures) that educates profoundly.In the U.S., this work currently is described as Critical Theory, or at times Critical Race Theory and begins with an analysis of class conflict and ideological hegemony of the ruling class. His most famous book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed develops some of the ideas of Antonio Gramsci and U.S. philosopher and socialist John Dewey to educational projects of organizers and educators working along with the oppressed in a capitalist society.