Who is Paulo Freire?
The Freire Schools (we say “free-AIR-ee”) are named in honor of the Brazilian educator and theorist Paulo Freire, whose vision for a better future inspires us to be a different kind of school. Freire, who spent much of his early career teaching literacy in rural Brazil before going on to write several deeply influential books and essays on teaching and learning, argued that most schools failed to effectively empower their students to learn. Instead, Freire wrote, traditional teaching methods promoted the values of the dominant class, creating a “culture of silence” where under-served individuals were deprived the means to think critically about their place in the world.
Freire challenges each of us to reconsider our role in learning. Are students merely vessels to be filled with facts and numbers, or are they active participants in a learning process built on equality, diversity, and critical thought? It was, and is, radical to consider students as both learners and teachers.
At Freire Wilmington, we believe that every member of our community—students, teachers, families and neighbors alike—has much to learn and experience, and also much to teach. This growth begins in our classrooms and continues out through our wider community and into the world. We believe this holistic approach, which values autonomy, equity, and community, honors the legacy of Paulo Freire.