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We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change
by:Myles Horton, Paulo Freire
This dialogue between two of the most prominent thinkers on social change in the twentieth century was certainly a meeting of giants. Throughout their highly personal conversations recorded here, Horton and Freire discuss the nature of social change and empowerment and their individual literacy campaigns. The ideas of these men developed through two very...
This dialogue between two of the most prominent thinkers on social change in the twentieth century was certainly a meeting of giants. Throughout their highly personal conversations recorded here, Horton and Freire discuss the nature of social change and empowerment and their individual literacy campaigns. The ideas of these men developed through two very different channels: Horton's, from the Highlander Center, a small, independent residential education center situated outside the formal schooling system and the state; Freire's, from within university and state-sponsored programs. Myles Horton, who died in January 1990, was a major figure in the civil rights movement and founder of the Highlander Folk School, later the highlander Research and Education Center. Paulo Freire, author of "Pedagogy of the Oppressed", established the Popular Culture Movement in Recife, Brazil's poorest region, and later was named head of the New National Literacy Campaign until a military coup forced his exile from Brazil. He has been active in educational development programs worldwide. For both men, real liberation is achieved through popular participation. The themes they discuss illuminate problems faced by educators and activists around the world who are concerned with linking participatory education to the practice of liberation and social change. How could two men, working in such different social spaces and times, arrive at similar ideas and methods? These conversations answer that question in rich detail and engaging anecdotes, and show that, underlying the philosophy of both, is the idea that theory emanates from practice and that knowledge grows from and is a reflection of social experience. Brenda Bell is administrator of a regional volunteer organization and a consultant and a member of the Advisory Board for the Center for Literacy Studies at the University of Tennessee. John Gaventa is Director of the Highlander Research and Education Center and Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Tennessee. He co-edited (with Barbara Ellen Smith and Alex Willingham) "Communities in Economic Crisis: Appalachia and the South" (Temple). John Peters is Professor of Adult Education at the University of Tennessee.
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