Paulo Freire and the Pedagogy of Autonomy

Paulo Freire (1921-1997) and the proposal of the pedagogy of autonomy.

Paulo Freire and his method of awareness constitute an important reference of critical thinking in education. Critical thinking in education seeks to develop an awareness of freedom, apply democratic practices in social and educational life, and develop the ability to create and build.

It seeks to critically integrate the knowledge of society, the knowledge of each one is a starting point for the creation of knowledge. Paulo Freire is considered one of the founding figures of decolonial pedagogical thinking, because it reflects the relationship between meaningful and relevant learning. Everyone has an innate capacity for knowledge, which when mobilized together, produces new knowledge and new relationships.

Its proposal starts from the idea of ​​complexity of the complexity of the human being and its organized structures. Its contribution to the epistemological operation derives from its proposal to focus on the individual, as a component of the total, from which to constitute a group action through the generated commitments. Awareness of this wholeness is the basis of the growth of the individual, of the recognition of the complexity of the outer world as a process of dynamic interrelations on which one can interact. This recognition not only provides the individual with a reference to his identity, but also implies the transformation of the reality in which he participates.

The subject, becoming aware of his position towards the outside world, will participate in a dialogue between him and the object. The observation of an object influences the perception of the subject. In seeking to distinguish the object differentiations are established. The differentiation of quality is a distance in which the subject participates. Therefore the result of observation is always a two-way result. The subject is not independent of the object. And if both participate in a unity, the movement of one also implies the movement of the other. As the subject (human) cannot fail to fulfill his mission (of being human), that is, can not fail to act on the world (to feed, to warm, to reproduce, if we talk about the basic motivations, to doing good, justice, freedom, equality, solidarity or any other social value) creates an awareness of being. Critical consciousness is therefore simultaneously a dialogue with the world where action is generated.

And it is this ontological awareness of participation in the world (as its integral part) that impels it to action. And that this action is also a shared action with all those who interrelate with each other and influence each other. Because the world is made up of all the other ontological subjects who act like it, and the physical and temporal support where all the action takes place. All matter which influence is simultaneously influenced by one’s consciousness.

It is this form of critical consciousness that allows, as Paulo Freire says, the option for action. It is in this operation, of the subject’s relationship with the object, in which other subjects participate, that opens the possibility of action option. The option for action is then the first moment of consciousness. The awareness of your freedom. The option, together with other individuals, to concert paths or goals, is the domain of collective freedom that is achieved by awareness. The option for collective action then the option for freedom. Consciousness is your tool.

The methodological proposal of awareness is then the practical application of liberating action. From an action aimed at the individual who frees him from his previous condition to transport him, together with his companions in space and time, to the construction of a new reality. It is in this confrontation between freedom and collective necessity that the consciousness of action emerges.

As Lourdes Pintasilgo stated in clairvoyant words: “Paulo Freire was one of the first thinkers to give voice to complexity – the self-guiding principle of the self-organization of systems – as the root of the theoretical-practical relationship. And work has begun on complexity at the highest level, where it is irreducible to simplistic elements – at the human level. Their perspective of awareness is based on the recognition that each person brings with him the entire universe – culture is the addition that man makes to the world he has not made“. T

This recognition thus goes so far as to postulate that the process of gaining individual freedom is the trigger of the liberation process of society. Faced with the complexity of the human being, Paulo Freire tries to see how one can get to his core so that he can reveal himself. Each person must become aware of a multicasual world, in a life perspective that eliminates the diabolization of people or facts as well as the sacralization of heroes or historical events.