Introduction: Transformation through education in contemporary times: a Freirean reconsideration

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No one else has problematised the transformative power of education better than Paulo Freire. Rather than favouring the intuitive preference for reason and logic, he places emphasis on “generative” human subjectivities and their affective engagement in the educational process, as well as the importance of emotion in transformative endeavours. The neutrality, or indeed ‘objective’ and disinterested stance of the teacher or educator is therefore a myth, conditioned as we are by our idiosyncratic lived experiences and the retrospective readings we make of them in constructing our subjectivities and value judgements over a lifetime. What matters is how conscious we are of our actions on those with whom we engage with educational activities and their often lasting effects, molding them as we are, in the shape of our own agendas, and banking on them our own internalisations of the transformative agenda. How much we allow for them to develop their own voices and agencies in becoming free and creative thinkers, empowered in the knowledge of their own liberties and emancipated selves, is often the habituated given. Freire proposes the “problem-posing approach” as an alternative, which allows the space to empower people into looking at their existence critically; a lens that makes them view reality not as static but as a process of transformation. Most importantly, within the context of teaching and learning, it allows learners to take up agentive positions in negotiating life-changing experiences through critical learning. This chapter considers how, in the spirit of the emancipatory philosophy of a Freirean-inspired pedagogy, we need to acknowledge the power of education as a transformative force that can be activated and enforced through a recognition of alternative forms of educational enactment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransformation and Empowerment Through Education
Subtitle of host publicationReconstructing our Relationship with Education
EditorsRaqib Chowdhury
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780429431050
ISBN (Print)9781138364851
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Transformation
  • Freire
  • Paulo Freire
  • Pedagogy
  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed
  • Equity

Cite this

Chowdhury, R. (2019). Introduction: Transformation through education in contemporary times: a Freirean reconsideration. In R. Chowdhury (Ed.), Transformation and Empowerment Through Education: Reconstructing our Relationship with Education (1st ed., pp. 1-16). Routledge.