It’s good to know that some people in higher education are committed to teaching about Paulo Freire. Here’s a letter in The Guardian from Dr Helen Jones of Huddersfield University on 15 March:
Suzanne Moore (5 March) wonders whether anyone reads Paulo Freire any more. Students on the youth and community work degree course at the University of Huddersfield certainly do. Of course, it’s ironic to cover Freire’s ideas about liberatory education as part of a curriculum and it’s encouraging when students point this out.
The chair of the Freire Institute, Ron Mitchinson, welcomed her comments:
It is encouraging that students on the youth and community work degree course at the University of Huddersfield (Letters, 15 March) are reading Paulo Freire. It is even more encouraging to see how perceptive they are of Freire’s ideas on education to see the irony in covering his ideas about liberatory education in a university curriculum.
Freire is certainly not forgotten and there are many of us who, for a number of years, have used his ideas not only in education but socially and politically. The Freire Institute works with others in this country and overseas. We offer programmes of social analysis; training for transformation and community organising. We use Freire’s ideas andmethods, and we include in this work the ideas of Saul Alinsky. In all the talk of the “big society” and the training of community organisers there appears to be little recognition of the ideas of Freire and of Alinsky. This is not surprising, as the radical nature of education in which people themselves are both teachers and learners is far more radical than anything this government is likely to encourage, let alone recommend. The Freire Institute welcomes interest from anyone wanting to take seriously Freire and Alinsky’s ideas as means of transformation. We have international contacts and are hoping to expand our work in this country.
The recent renewal of interest in community organizing makes this a particularly good time to be revisiting Freire and Alinsky. When options for change and progress seem to be blocked through the traditional routes of party politics, the underlying politics of culture and community become far more important.