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Paulo Freire

The Global Legacy


Edited By Michael Adrian Peters and Tina Besley

This collection is the first book devoted to Paulo Freire’s ongoing global legacy to provide an analysis of the continuing relevance and significance of Freire’s work and the impact of his global legacy. The book contains essays by some of the world’s foremost Freire scholars – McLaren, Darder, Roberts, and others – as well as chapters by scholars and activists, including the Maori scholars Graham Hingangaroa Smith and Russell Bishop, who detail their work with the indigenous people of Aotearoa-New Zealand. The book contains a foreword by Nita Freire as well as chapters from scholars around the world including Latin America, Asia, the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. With a challenging introduction from the editors, Michael A. Peters and Tina Besley, this much-awaited addition to the Freire archive is highly recommended reading for all students and scholars interested in Freire, global emancipatory politics, and the question of social justice in education.
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Chapter Six: Humanization in Decolonizing Educational Research: A Tree of Life Metaphor



Humanization in Decolonizing Educational Research: A Tree of Life Metaphor


The Tree of Life is an ancient motif that appears in many cultures and religions. The Tree is symbolic of the interconnected nature of our world(s) and is often used as a reminder of the sacredness of life and its connection to the earth. This chapter uses the metaphor of the Tree of Life to explore the methodology of Participatory Action Research in a decolonizing educational project. A group of science teachers explored the possibilities of the mandated inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures in the new national Australian Curriculum. The chapter connects Freirean ideas of conscientizção and humanization through the processes explored by the teachers and the educational outcomes sought. The importance of nourishment, protection, and interconnectedness related to the Tree of Life is explored in this context.


Through the process of my doctoral work I spent much time musing on the methodology of Participatory Action Research (PAR) and searching for a way of representing my work that could relate to both critical and indigenous1 understandings. From the perspectives of both the critical tradition and indigenous methodologies, the theme of interconnectedness was one that recurred throughout my reading of theoretical underpinnings. More than this, interconnectedness was a ← 103 | 104 → theme through the work itself, manifesting in unexpected and serendipitous ways. In some Australian Aboriginal understandings, it was explained...

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