Instructor Reflection – Paulo Freire and a Manifesto for Disability Pedagogy (11.1)

By Jan Osborn, Chapman University

Taylor Hein’s website takes seriously the call for engaging with the work of Paulo Freire in contexts that extend freely in pedagogy into 21st century efforts to address barriers to liberation, liberation both within education systems, and in larger cultural realities. Hein’s invitation to work with others who experience oppression, with the goal of critically transforming conditions of dehumanization, is reflective of their understanding of core Freirean and concepts, such as the need for collaboration, the liberation of both the oppressed and the oppressors, and a call for critical reflection. In fact, the caveat to proceed critically in exploring the Freirean revolutionary manifesto for disability pedagogy attunes the audience to the potential for change, and the possibility of being changed as one engages with the site. The site’s ontology of disability critically reflects upon the language used to shape being for people with disabilities, calling for a reframing and renewed ideological reality and connecting Freire’s thematic universe with the disability rights movement has great potential for revolutionizing the conversation disability rights activists have within ableist objectivities. A transformed thematic universe of subjectivity is essential. Subjects intervening in their own reality, a Freirean praxis, reflection and action directed at structures to be transformed.

It is this transformation that is central to the manifesto. It is this transformation that is essential in larger networks of disability studies and educational reform.