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The Freire Institute is an organization for transformative community-based learning. In our programmes your own knowledge and life experience becomes the raw material for education. We develop tools and approaches based on the work of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, whose work has inspired many social movements and educational programmes around the world.
Education in this sense is a tool for individual and community empowerment and transformation. Our approach is informal, challenging and exciting. You do not need any formal qualifications to take part, just a commitment to learning and change. Programmes and activities are open to individuals, community groups and churches and we can tailor programmes flexibly to suit your group's needs. We also hold one-off community arts events and workshops around specific issues.
Our name is inspired by the work of Paulo Freire. Our approach owes a lot to the techniques pioneered by Freire and supplemented by practice elsewhere. We also draw upon organizing principles derived from Saul Alinsky and others.
These techniques and principles have been successfully adopted by community organizations, church-based groups and issue-based networks in many countries. The Freire Institute welcomes enquiries from anywhere around the world, and we seek to co-operate with other Paulo Freire-related institutes and organizations.
Our courses are aimed at activists and organizers working for social change, and thus we try to provide courses that are as affordable and accessible as possible.
We offer a model of learning which is not dry and academic but is based upon sharing our experience and using the 'social knowledge' that we all have. In this model of learning we can all become both co-learners and co-teachers.
This social (or 'experiential') knowledge is combined with various analytical tools and frameworks provided by group facilitators. This adds valuable 'analytical' content to our knowledge.
Finally, we test our knowledge and experience through action - practical involvement in the process of community and social change. People's community involvement becomes the raw material for their learning.
We currently offer the Paulo Freire Formation Programme, or you can take the first course module of this (Paulo Freire and Critical Pedagogy) separately. The Community Resources Initiative will also be coming online soon. All of these courses are delivered online, although the Paulo Freire Formation Programme also includes an option to attend a Summer School (the "Intercultural Formation Meeting") in Part II.
Alternatively, if you are interested in workshops (one to five days), either in-house or at Burnley, click here; or if you are interested in university courses offered by the University of Central Lancashire, click here.
A starter course to introduce you to the major themes in our work and help both you and us to see whether what we offer would be suitable for you. Themes include: Paulo Freire & key concepts in his pedagogy; social analysis; methodologies; action-research; the organizing process & reflective practice.
Our principal programme. The Paulo Freire Formation Programme is an in-depth course in social analysis and popular education methods for full training in Freirean tools and approaches. This course is aimed at those who are committed to working for social change.
Coming soon: The Community Resources Initiative will provide practical Training Packs for community organizations, church groups and individuals, in order to develop skills and knowledge for community-based activities. Individuals can also work towards accreditation.
If you would like to discuss whether any of these courses would be suitable for you, please contact us.