»Paulo Freire Democratic Project

"The act of learning to read and write has to start from a very comprehensive understanding of the act of reading the world, something which human beings do before reading the words."
-Paulo Freire

Paulo Freire SketchPaulo Freire has written that educators need to be clear about what he calls their ontological vocation. The Paulo Freire Democratic Project's (PFDP) vocation, broadly stated is to bring to bear a synthesis of progressive/critical and ethical/democratic practices upon both formal and informal educational contexts. To accomplish this mission, PFDP gathers together a number of constituencies from all levels of education to promote the full democratic, intellectual and critical development of students, teachers, administrators, parents and other community members.

About Paulo Freire

Brazilian philosopher and educator Paulo Reglus Neves Freire was born in Recife, Brazil, on September 19, 1921. He died of heart failure in Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 2, 1997. His political philosophy of education and his life-time obsession with integrating theory and research is what Freire's work is best known for.

For more information on Paulo Freire's life, work and publications view the following sources:
Infed.org -Paulo Freire Page

Paulo Freire Personal Vita (Syracuse University)

The Freire Project

Shirley Steinberg - Celebrating the work of Paulo Freire

  • Research
  • Social Literacy
  • The PFDP Award for Social Justice
  • Contact Us
  • Essential to the project's purpose is the inclusion of participatory and collaborative modes of research honored for their empowering potential by which individuals become actively engaged as researchers of their own conditions. The premise is that people gain knowledge about social and educational reality through analysis of their own lived situations, through their own investigation and not by relying on expert, external knowledge created for purposes to their common interests. Special emphasis is placed upon participatory research within schools and associated settings.

  • Freire's theory of the levels of consciousness (magical-conforming, naïve-reforming, critical-transforming) and his problem posing methodology (naming, reflecting, acting) guide the project's efforts to assist schools in their quest for democratic, safe and violence-free cultures.

  • The first recipient of the Paulo Freire Democratic Projects Award of Social Justice was Dr. Peter McLaren. The award was presented by President James L. Doti, and the Dean of Education, and The Faculty of the College of Educational Studies in April 2002.


    2002 Dr. Peter McLaren
    2003 Los Amigos of Anaheim (Organizational Award)
    2004 Ruebén Martinez (Individual Award)
    2004 Pio Pico Elementary School, Santa Ana (Organizational Award)
    2007 George Wood (Individual Award)
    2009 Sonia Neito (Individual Award), and Rethinking Schools (Organizational Award)
    2010 Russell Bishop (Individual Award), and The Wooden Floor, Santa Ana (Organizational Award)
    2011 Shirley Steinberg (Individual Award), Padres Unidos, Santa Ana (Organizational Award)
    2012 Dr. Christine Sleeter (Individual Award)
    2012 Little Sister's Book Store (Organizational Award)

  • For further information on the Paulo Freire Democratic Project, and/or Pedagogical Panther manuscript submission, please call Dr. Suzanna SooHoo at (714) 532-6024 or e-mail soohoo@chapman.edu