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Paulo Freire

The Global Legacy


Michael A. 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 Four: Paulo Freire and the Idea of Openness



Paulo Freire and the Idea of Openness


There has been a flurry of pronouncements over recent years about new forms of openness in scholarly and pedagogical activity. Reference has been made to open education, open learning, open knowledge, open technology, open content, open source, open access, and open courseware (Iiyoshi & Kumar, 2008). In surveying some of this work, it sometimes appears as if such initiatives have come from nowhere, with a history no older than a decade or two and no discernible epistemological or ethical roots. Openness is often viewed merely as an unfolding reality: an outcome of new social practices and modes of cultural life in the digital age. Attention also needs to be paid, however, to the philosophical heritage of discourses on openness and to some of the conceptual contours of openness as an ideal.

This chapter considers what it might mean to talk of openness as an educational virtue. Drawing principally on the work of Paulo Freire but with prior reference to Aristotle and a range of other thinkers, I set out to show that openness has ontological, epistemological, and ethical dimensions. Openness has application in multiple areas of educational life and can serve as a principle for both lifelong learning and social organization. The optimal pursuit of openness in pedagogical settings, I shall argue, requires the presence of other virtues and can be contrasted with various forms of closure, including dogmatism, excessive certainty,...

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