The learned passivity: Introduction of Freire

3 min readMar 26, 2022



Reading Freire disturbs my learned passivity.

« Dans la conception de Freire, si les opprimé·es ne mettent pas en oeuvre une transformation sociale, c’est que la bourgeoisie développe une série de mythes qui visent à les décourager d’agir ».

My schooling went excellently: I adapted to the system with excellent grades.

The polysemic nature of the terms oppressor and oppress is widely discussed. Why do I immediately identify with the oppressed party and not the oppressor? I identify with the oppressed part because I had no choice during my schooling: I was obliged to excellence if I wanted to belong to that system, which I glimpsed and did not fully understand. A system of cultural and semiotic references to which I did not belong. I realized pretty early on that I had to gain access to culture, music, fiction, and poetry. Otherwise, I would not have come into contact with them. Forcibly schooling was my emergency remedy: assimilate, repeat, give back. Once, I made an act of courage I remember clearly: repeating only what I understood and leaving the rest alone.

In reading a lot of books, I was free: I could explore as I wanted. Thanks to the serendipity, I jump from one book to another, receiving insight on a similar or exciting author. I accessed the text but not at the reference system to contextualize the text. I remember that in middle school, I read Simone de Beauvoir’s “The Woman Destroyed” (1967). Dangerous readings for me of that age because they are not contextualized and guided. It was a binge of words and phrases that I couldn’t connect to my reality as an introverted girl on the periferic life of a small town.

What I lacked was a liberating perspective.

“On the contrary, liberating pedagogy must promote hope. Thus, with Freire, the limit situations are historic-social, and therefore surpassable. The goal of a liberating pedagogy is to imagine other possibilities (it is “the unprecedented possible”), which must allow the realization of “borderline acts” capable of transforming history, to produce a “viable novelty” (Introduction, XXIII)

Perhaps participating and writing this blog is part of a process of personal and collective praxis of my experience in the light of an object (the book) that belongs to the collective. Although the activity of writing is passive for me for the moment, the idea of an imaginary audience through this blog becomes a reflexive action. Combine action and reflection, which I now express in writing and which I hope will translate into dialogue with the community.

«Personne n’éduque personne, personne ne s’éduque soi-même, les êtres humains s’éduquent entre eux, médiatisés par le monde.»




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