Advocates of Children’s Rights Education (CRE) often describe their work as transformational and frequently cite Paulo Freire to argue their case, but they do not always espouse the kind of radical pedagogic practices promoted by Freire. This creates a mismatch between the revolutionary rhetoric of CRE and the rather timid practices that are often promoted. The first part of this paper introduces Freire and identifies some of the aspects of his work that are popular among CRE advocates. The main part of the paper explores Freire’s work in more detail, starting with his views on the relationships between learners and teachers, and then moving on to consider the ideological implications of adopting his work for CRE. The final part of the paper draws on Freire to suggest six complementary ways in which CRE can be genuinely transformational. The purpose of the paper is to introduce people to Freire’s work and demonstrate how it can be used to develop contemporary educational practices.
Lee Jerome is Associate Professor of Education at Middlesex University. His main areas of interest are children’s rights, citizenship education and the professional development of teachers. In addition to his teaching and research Lee is actively involved in the Association for Citizenship Teaching where he contributes to training, resource writing and edits a magazine for teachers (www.teachingcitizenship.org.uk/journals). This presentation is based on his most recent book project with Hugh Starkey ‘Children’s Rights Education in Diverse Classrooms’ (soon to be published by Bloomsbury).