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100 Cartas para Paulo Freire de quienes pretendemos Enseñar

Francisco Gárate Vergara

3. Reflexiones y educación

Education and Citizenship as an emancipatory practice; a thank you letter

Cristian Moises Coy-Torres

Texte intégral

1Dear Paulo,

2I wish you were here so I could talk to you about the huge contribution you have made in my life, inside my pedagogical practices, and for my behavior as citizen; all this is thanks to the path you walked through, and the legacy of your great ideas that I came to reflect upon the concept of citizenship, education and its many dimensions.

3Most of us might think of citizenship as a concept that deals with the sense of belonging to a country, leaving aside the sense that it also has of belonging to a social group, or belonging to a community within society; we have been labeled as citizens of certain lands, but we have not been able to explore and decide ourselves what citizenship could be for us. Citizenship goes beyond the fact of belonging to a certain part of the world, citizenship deals directly with how we deal with the world and our surroundings. Citizenship can be constructed in the sense of praising and making ours all our lived experiences, those lived experiences as a valuable source of knowledge (Facio & Lara, 2014), and thus, we can get to read, live, experience, deal, and understand the world from within a bigger dimension, rather than just living our citizenship under labels imposed by the system. We have come to such point in which we live so closed to our mindset, our feelings, our traditions, our ancestors, our self, that we do not bear in mind the powerful source of knowledge that we can be if we see our lived experiences and take them as our tool to see and portray the reality we live.

4Thanks to you I learned I can have the hope to live outside a system that is always telling us what to do, how to behave, how to interact, how to deal with every situation in life; unfortunately, most of us have been taken as those empty vessels you talked about on your Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and thus we have silenced our voices. We lost the richness of our opinions in academic settings, everything must fit the requirements of the preestablished rule, and we might not be heard if we try things in a different way; we have been taken our way to read the world, our surroundings and our Memoria. By living in such way, we have become dehumanized, we have become ally to the systems of oppression that take advantage of policies at every setting of our daily lives; we study, we work, we interact with the environment, we live inside our communities, and thus we start executing our citizenship, thinking of acting with no humanity, sometimes even deprecating the others, and our ancestors, when they all are another version of ourselves.

5Thanks to your contribution I managed to understand that the worst thing that could ever happen to education is to lose its sense of freedom, since education is the door we can use to liberate ourselves from the system, but it takes time and a lot of effort since the system itself has its own conceptions on how education should be carried on; the system does not want teachers as human beings in interaction with other human beings, having a chance to expressing themselves, their peculiarities, their idiosyncrasies and their reflections upon what is being studies inside and outside the classroom.

6You, Paulo Freire, made it clear that we as teachers are more than people who go to a bank to deposit money; you left me a great learning about education, and thus citizenship, as a social process we perform everyday by learning, interacting, reflecting, sharing our experiences, and having into account that we are all human beings who cannot be labeled, standardized or dehumanized, since we all have different backgrounds and needs (Freire, 1970). Education, as well as citizenship can be performed, and thus lived and learned through conscientização dialogues, in which everyone’s opinions and ideas matter, praising the diversity of their contexts, culture and human nature; a new way to nurture one another, and thus, free ourselves from all the oppressions we experience every day; Overlapping of oppressions is not just a way to control our ideas, but also a way to fragmenting the oppressed so that he or she copes with the system.

7Finally, I learned from you that I should not lose the hope, and that going out of those oppressions we can constitute our set of experiences to improve our way of living our citizenship and make a change to our contexts, so we become citizens aware of our role as agents of change, leaving a concept of citizenship as one that goes farther than the one of belonging to a country, but to another that involves us as active participants of interaction with the others, our ancestors, and our surroundings.



Facio, E. & Lara, I. (2014). Fleshing the Spirit: Spirituality and Activism in Chicana, Latina, and Indigenous Women’s Lives. (1a ed.). University of Arizona Press.

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London: Penguin Books.

Lugones, M. (2005). Multiculturalismo radical y feminismos de mujeres de color. Revista Internacional de Filosofía Política, 61-76.


Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica Colombia


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