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Critical Theory Explained
Critical Theorist: Michael Apple
Critical Theorist: Paolo Freire
Critical Theorist: Henry Giroux
Critical Theorist: Peter McLaren
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Henry Giroux


Giroux on Freire

"Paulo was crucial in forecasting a number of theoretical interventions including work in post colonial theory, cultural studies, critical adult education, literacy and language studies, and the primacy of politics in education. This is often missed by his critics. Moreover, his was a social and theoretical project, it was not simply about methodology or practice. Paulo's work suggest at least three important interventions:

  1. He exemplified what it meant to be a broader intellectual. Paulo was never home in one place. Paulo's gaze around the questions of power and possibility cut across continents and borders.
  2. He revitalized the relationship between theory and practice as an act of politics and struggle for social justice.
  3. Paulo gave us a sense of what commitment was. Paulo was a provocateur who gave his life over to struggling for and with others, and made pedagogy the central defining principal of how you take up questions of agency, power, and politics.

Paulo was a great teacher, a model of humility and inspiration.

. . . Many people have labeled me a Freirian but that label is antithetical to everything Paulo represents. Because he was always concerned about the relationship between context, pedagogy, and politics. One didn't imitate Paulo, one tried to use his work as theory rather than a method, and this meant one had to be a producer of theory rather than one who simply implements other's theories. Hence, I used his work along with the work of others within a political project that was specific to my own context, problems, and concerns. This also suggests that rather than seeing critical pedagogy as one narrative, it has to be seen as a panorama of narratives, many of whom appropriate Freire in different ways."

Carlos Torres: " There is one thing that Paulo has said over and over again, which is, 'You don't have to follow me. You have to re-invent me.'"


Giroux Introduction Page
What is Critical Pedagogy? What is the Role of Schools? What is the Role of Teachers? What is the Role of Curriculum? Giroux on Freire Giroux on Giroux Links
Updated: 11/22/99
Laurie Williams