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There is no possibility for teaching without learning.
As well as there is no possibility of learning without teaching.
Paulo Freire

My friends, first of all it is a pleasure for me to be here. It is a pleasure to say something about education to you. Of course I have had in my life, experiences all over the world in talking to such a quantity of people, but from time to time, I feel as if I am lost.

I ask myself: What can I say? Sometimes it is good to say to the young people, that a man like me with many experiences of speaking and writing, also sometimes does not know what to say and even becomes afraid. Right now, for example, I am afraid and it is good to acknowledge this.

I asked my wife when we were coming. You know, I feel like I am forgetting about the things which I taught in San Paulo.

“Why don’t you speak about teaching and learning?” she said.

I will talk about the difficult task of teachers and learners here [in the US].

The first point I want to make is that there is no possibility for teaching without learning. As well as, there is no possibility for learning without teaching. The two tasks are so united and so contradictory also. It is absolutely impossible to teach without learning and to learn without teaching. Let us try to think about this kind of relationship. How is it possible to dichotomize them [teaching and learning]?

The Teacher, The Learner, The Content
Teaching implies, or demands, the existence of two subjects. By subjects, I mean [you have] the educator, and on the other hand, [you have] the educatee. However, there is another [part of this process]: the object to be known. We also speak about the object to be taught, learned, or known as the content. If I teach biology for example biology is the object to be taught, learned, known, then biology is the content of my practice.

What Is The Role of the Teacher?
Let me speak a little bit about these three elements. First, the teacher: What is the role of the teacher? When we ask ourselves this question, we discover that there are different answers for this question. I don’t want to refer to the problems of methodology, for example the methodology for teaching mathematics or teaching history. These things really are objective things.

Teaching Is Not A Neutral Process
What is really important is to discover that teaching is not a neutral process. It’s not a neutral action.

A Progressive Teacher
This is a teacher who has a progressive vision or understanding of his or her presence in the world; a teacher whose dreams are fundamentally about rebuilding of society. [A progressive teacher is one] whose dreams are dreams of changing the reality to create a less ugly society?

The Opposite of A Progressive Teacher
We also have teachers whose dreams are to keep society as it is – that is to keep a discriminatory society. To keep society crushing the so-called minorities, which prevents the possibilities of the children of minorities from becoming themselves.

If you ask the first kind of teacher, the progressive teacher, “What do you mean by teaching?” and if you ask the second [kind of] teacher, we will have different, contradictory, antagonistic responses.

It Is the Love of the Progressive Teacher
I think we still have people who become stupefied when we say that education is political, but it is. It is a question of the [very] nature of education [which I will address].I ask you to forgive me because I am not interested in describing the role of the reactionary teachers — that is a question for the reactionary philosophers, not for me. I will stay in the field that I love. It is the love of the progressive teacher.

What is Required of Progressive Teachers?
Teachers need to be humble. Why does the process of teaching demand the teacher to be humble? It is necessary for the progressive teacher to be humble precisely because of the impossibility of separating teaching from learning. If the teacher is not humble, the teacher does not respect the students. It is as if the students have nothing to do in the process of learning, but just to listen patiently to the voice of the teacher. This is precisely a totalitarian teacher. The totalitarians do not need to be humble.