The Field Education as the Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Rafael Rossi

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The Field Education as the Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Rafael Rossi

PhD student in the Department of Education, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Presidente Prudente, Brazil


In this article we will present briefly the history of Rural Education in Brazil, from the mobilization of rural social movements. This education part of the culture of the people and the field can be understood as a realization of Pedagogy of the Oppressed. So we aim to extend this debate towards greater social justice in the field from the educational debate.

Cite this article:

  • Rossi, Rafael. "The Field Education as the Pedagogy of the Oppressed." American Journal of Rural Development 1.4 (2013): 75-80.
  • Rossi, R. (2013). The Field Education as the Pedagogy of the Oppressed. American Journal of Rural Development, 1(4), 75-80.
  • Rossi, Rafael. "The Field Education as the Pedagogy of the Oppressed." American Journal of Rural Development 1, no. 4 (2013): 75-80.

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1. Introduction

This article presents preliminary thoughts on the ongoing thesis titled: "Questioning the Popular Education in Rural Education: Analysis from the Earth in the course of Pedagogy UFSCAR". There is a movement that articulates mobilizing researchers and social movements in the struggle to guarantee the right to education for rural populations. This movement is called Rural Education and are becoming an object of analysis that enables to apprehend the class struggle, from the perspective of education in our society. Because it is a move that spells class struggle this concept of Field Education, still in formation, also has been the subject of disputes between groups that attempt to privatization of education and the subordination of the working class and those who advocate an understanding of emancipatory education, concerned with the development of human potential in their ties of class solidarity, towards a society with greater social justice.

Discuss and collectively researching about education field allows broaden our understanding of the difficulties and potentialities that particular school community features, as well as deepen the understanding of the contradictions and conflicts that also manifest in projects and educational perspectives involving the territory peasant. In general, we find that the educational standards of schools located in urban influence and are reflected also in schools in the countryside. This enables us to state that we are not taking into consideration aspects belonging to peasant culture which, in turn, contributes to a mischaracterization cultural and social depoliticized understanding of the field also as a producer of knowledge.

Throughout the text we defend the political dimension of education, as it has taught us throughout his work, the educator Paulo Freire, you can not deny the political nature of education nor the educability of the political act. However, schools must also be concerned with content, which in turn, must be related to the territory of the country, in order to democratize knowledge philosophical, artistic and scientific and also discuss issues connected to the context in which these schools are fall. So will expand to walk the bases not only in the interests of critical consciousness, but a critical active, reflecting on the challenges of their time and do not "sell" to a immobilist determinism. Just to be critical, that thought is based on reflection and study, but materializes in organized collective action in the fight for social rights guarantees.

It is important to state that all our arguments about education field approaches an understanding of struggle and resistance that social movements develop in the area of education, in particular, the Movement of Landless Rural Workers - MST. That way we do not share an understanding of education present in many speeches groups allied to agricultural development model of agribusiness, where the concern is guiding the technical skill in handling machinery and equipment in their day-to-day in various plants and farms included in the logic of land concentration and income, where the process of mechanization of farming is already at an advanced stage. This type of education tries to "train technically" rural workers, spreading through the dominant ideology in this biased media image, the mask and veil of "educational inclusion and income generation", which is actually maximize exponential levels in the exploitation of peasants and their subordination. The field education in direct conflict with this educational imperialist rationalism, since it advocates empowerment, reflection, praxis, critique and human formation and not alienating their annihilation.

To achieve our goal in this text, we will split it into two more parts. The first part tells an approximation of the player with the movement of rural education in Brazil, and in the second part we present this type of education while holding the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, from the consideration of the educational process run by the populations of the field. The third part, intended to our final thoughts on the subject here under discussion. It is important to state that our aim is to broaden the discussion of rural education as a right education that peasents have been demanding.

2. The Movement of Rural Education in Brazil

In the period 1979 to 1984 was the beginning of pregnancy Movement of Landless Rural Workers - MST - since met the pioneering experiences in the area of land occupation and meetings. In 1984 occurred the First National Meeting of the MST in Rattlesnake in Paraná. In 1985 his first Congress was held initiating the expansion of the movement throughout the country (FERNANDES, 1999). The theme of education began to attract the attention of the movement since a survey conducted in 1994 and 1995 in settlements and camps MST showed that 29% of the population was illiterate, 1.6% of children finished primary school and 70% of young and adults were unable accessible to school. In 1987 was held the First National Seminar on Education in the Holy Spirit with the theme: "What we want with schools settlement"

Caldart [1] states that when the MST in your organization creates the Educational Sector, abandons a naive view that the struggle for agrarian reform occurs only by fighting for a piece of land. In fact the aim is also to guarantee social rights and among these the right to education had been historically denied to the population field. Just remember the "rurality teaching" as a result of the strong growth of urbanization and migration occurred during the 1910s and 1920s in rural understood that education should encompass techniques of reading and mathematical achievements, without consideration of the context of the field and their struggles.

Thus, it is clear that the change from "rural" to "field" implies a qualitatively different approach, ie, a position that is linked to the concept of education as training, practice and reflection. This understanding gives up from the rural social movements and not the state or other entities.

The text: "What we want with schools settlement" was published in 1991, aiming to instigate debate on the educational project of rural schools and the formation of the Landless. So now that the 1991 document is a clear need for the educator / to be committed to the struggle for land developed by the MST, so as to underpin their teaching practice in thought and practice fighting this movement socioterritorial. In 1992 was published the text: "Education Notebook: How do we want the school" with a preliminary sketch about the educational curriculum, as the result of a structured learning from lived reality over time and also the interaction and dialogue with researchers from several universities.

In 1995, the National Association of Agricultural Cooperation - ANCA - Confederation of Agrarian Reform Cooperatives of Brazil - CONCRAB - inaugurate the Technical Institute for Training and Research in Agrarian Reform - ITERRA - in Veranópolis, in Rio Grande do Sul In 1996 in ITERRA, MST founded the School Josué de Castro that happen in the Supplementary Education 1st and 2nd grades. The ITERRA has the objective to contribute to the education and research in accordance with the demands of its affiliates, without neglecting and / or forget the education of the human being. Also in 1995, the MST was awarded the Education and Participation Itaú - UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund), the program "For a public school quality in the areas of settlements" like Fernandes [2] explains.

According to Fernandes [2], in 1997 the MST held the first National Educators Educators and Agrarian Reform - ENERA - on the campus of the University of Brasilia with the support of UNICEF and the university. This event replaced the discussion of Field Education and even did the proposal of the National Agrarian Reform Education - PRONERA. In 1998 the PRONERA was established by INCRA in partnership with the MST and several universities. Also in 1998 was the first National Educators and Educators of Young People and Adults in Recife, where the Landless paid a tribute to the educator Paulo Freire. Even in 1998 Luziânia - GO, I happened to National Conference For a Basic Education Field, with the organization of MST, University of Brasília, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - UNESCO - UNICEF and CNBB. Around 1000 participants from various institutions were present, and the experiments carried out in different parts of the country were discussed, as well as public policy and educational projects that would help in the process of maturation of Basic Education Field. The research of Fernandes [2] point out that the day after this conference, the five entities met in order to continue the movement triggered and promote the dissemination and creation of a collection of Books Basic Education Field, thus constituting the "Articulation Towards a National Primary Education Field.”

In 1999 the seminary happens Joint National Basic Education As a Field Office in Cajamar in Sao Paulo. Participated in this event: the Movement of Small Farmers - MPA - the Movement of Rural Women Workers - MMTR - Pastoral Rural Youth - PJR - the Movement of Dam Affected People - MAB, agencies of the Catholic Church and other collective subjects. We discussed the principles and achievements of the walk, defining lines of action and challenges to deal with.

In 2000 a Public Hearing was organized within the Commission for Education, Culture and Sports of the Chamber of Deputies in Brasilia, on the situation of Rural Education in Brazil. At this hearing, were present: the MST, the National Pedagogical PRONERA Commission, the National Union of Agricultural Family Schools, the University of Brasília, UNICEF, UNESCO and CNBB, according to Molina [3].

In 2002, was then performed the National Seminar Towards a Basic Education Field, with the participation of over 400 people, involving higher education institutions, state and municipal departments of education, educators PRONERA, regional offices and several INCRA social movements: MMRT, MAB, MST, ANMTR, PJR, CPT, FEAB, CONTAG, UNEFAB, and some NGO CIMI this event reflects on educational policies at the national and the term "rural education".

It is important to state that the MST is a social movement of fundamental importance in the Movement of Rural Education. However, it also occurs partnership and companionship of struggle from other movements such as the Movement of those Affected by Dams (MAB), the Movement of Rural Women (MMC), the Movement of Small Farmers (MPA), rural workers' unions these unions and state federations linked to the Confederation of Agricultural Workers (CONTAG), the Movement of Rural Women Workers - CONTAG linked to the Education Network of Brazilian Semi-Arid (RESAB) and the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), and a number of organizations.

A particularity of the MST is combining several professionals in your organization who support the struggle for agrarian reform: the geographer, attorney, educator, Father etc. An example is the work entitled: "Dictionary of Field Education" that it is a collective effort, which included the preparation Polytechnic Joaquim Venancio Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro and the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST). Altogether there are 107 researchers linked to the struggle for land that contribute to form the 113 / concepts related entries in the Education Field. The organizers (Roseli Salete Caldart, Brazil Isabel Pereira, Paulo Alentejo and Gaudencio Frigotto) state that the goal of this book is to clarify some concepts and categories that allow us to understand the Field Education as an effort of social movements that struggle for land as an education befitting with the territory they inhabit and peasant toil. This work is an important theoretical framework to be taken into consideration with regard to the analysis wishing to understand more fully the struggle for education, inserted in turn, the struggle for land. This process inevitably involves the class struggle through the critical approach of this book enriches the reading and reflection instigates concerned with the interests of the working class peasant in his daily territorialized.

In 2004 appears the Department of Continuing Education, Literacy and Diversity - SECAD - under the Ministry of Education and Culture. In this department there is the General Coordination of Field Education, responsible for the recognition of the demands of the field and its specificities. Within the federal government, some projects are examples of the importance of mobilizing this collective subjects at various conferences and events:

• Support Programme for Higher Education: Degree in Education with a Field - PROCAMPO. This program supports the creation of courses in public institutions in the country focused on training educators of the field;

• Active School Program: Aims to contribute to school improvement in multigrade classes;

• ProJovem Field - Knowledge of Earth: Allows young farmers have professional qualification. Participating who have not completed high school and have from 18 to 29 years, aiming in this way to tackle educational inequalities of the field;

Also in 2004 came the Second Conference For a Basic Education Field in Luziânia - GO, with the participation of entities: CNBB - MST - UNICEF - UNESCO - UNB - CONTAG - UNEFAB - UNDIME - MPA - MAB - MMC. The theme of this event was "Towards a Public Policy of Rural Education" and has defended the character of universal public policies that reaffirm the guaranteed rights, instead of spreading compensatory policies.

From the point of view of law, such contracts also had strong influences and advances. Although already in the Law of Guidelines and Bases of National Education (LDB - Law No. 9.394, of December 20, 1996) in its Article 28 stated:

Article 28. On offer basic education for the rural population, education systems promote the necessary adjustments to their suitability to the peculiarities of rural life and each region, especially:

I   -curricula and methodologies appropriate to the real needs and interests of students in rural areas;

II  -own school organization, including adequacy of school calendar to the phases of the agricultural cycle and climatic conditions;

III -appropriate to the nature of work in the countryside.

Only with the article n.10 of DOEBEC (Operational Guidelines for Basic Education in Schools Field) that appears thinking about the need to create mechanisms for the school that the local community, educational management bodies, social movements and other sectors of society can participate in their school management. This legislation and the decree n. 7352 establishing the National Policy for Rural Education and National Education Program in Agrarian Reform areas - PRONERA - help to understand the significance of events, meetings, conferences and seminars, as emerged from these referrals and mobilization of collective activities discussion. Not surprisingly Arroyo (2006) argues that education will field questions the education in the broad sense, rather than formal schooling. In 2010 appears the National Forum of Rural Education, as an important part of socialization experiences of struggles and educational organization policy conference. All that mobilizing the rural social movements help to exemplify the education field while materialization of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, as we discuss in the next section.

3. The Debate in Field Education: Achievements of Pedagogy of the Oppressed

A first approach to the design of Pedagogy of the Oppressed indicates the need to understand that all knowledge part of social experiences. This conception is intelligible and strength when explicit political-pedagogical practices and reveals social, cultural, political and cultural, like Arroyo [4] explains.

This is an understanding that clashes with the prerogative of Science contempt for everyday people suffered and lived through the field. Just the opposite takes place, ie that part up everyday in their social expressions, understood here as elements general expression values cultural, political and educational, so that the knowledge and academic systematizations generated can prosper a methodology consistent with the object of study. But even this understanding of object happens to be questioned, since one of the challenges of research and education is to involve your participation in investigative opinions and worldviews of the peasant population with whom you work, or we should not close in a posture that only counts data and information, transforming subjects and their struggles in decontextualized discourse.

Mészáros [5] presents ideas and arguments enriching the pedagogical reflection to link the social and educational processes. In his view there can be no radical changes in the education system, but without having breaks and reforms in control of the capital system. In this respect, education should not worry as only qualify with views to the labor market, but for life. Education should be the contribution necessary to invest in research and teaching strategies to promote the overcoming of alienation process put in place by the capital, where profit, competition, individualism crowned by the logic of "self-made man" become increasingly present in reality transmitted through the dominant ideology.

For the author it is important to emerge teaching practices that allow students to discuss with the disruptions and changes essential to building a society without exploitation. Therefore, we believe that work is the subject of paramount importance to be reflected, because it is a characteristic mark which is present in all subjects with which we develop our educational activities. Therefore, we need to understand what is the meaning and the feelings present in class when it comes to work, from their experiences and cultures, can instigate dialogue towards criticism and reflection. We believe in the same direction that the author under discussion here, that education should not be based on mere transfer of knowledge and information, with a view to producing a "student/machine", ie someone who only has encyclopedic knowledge without reflection some, but yes, one of the primary tasks of education should be to create awareness, where hope becomes totally plausible and palpable, requiring logical thinking in another production, another company, another less education more inclusive and democratic, with public policies more qualified.

Arroyo [4] lucidly warns us that when concepts are distant social processes, relationships and political tensions and subjects who develop them; loses intelligibility and radical political and pedagogical. This occurs even as regards the subjects themselves. This understanding becomes so important to have in mind, just because talking in field education is to consider a teaching practice developed by the populations of the field, as well as speaking in Pedagogy of the Oppressed is to recognize and reflect on education developed by and from the oppressed. Thus, it is not merely a play on words, but a worldview that expresses the political position of those who pronounced when discussing these issues.

The Pedagogy of the Oppressed so radical translates the vision and conception of thinking and acting educationally, clearly recognizing the men and women from the countryside who are educated in the struggle for social justice. This principle is providing organic and class consciousness, to which litigants, as in the case of rural social movements, another way of organizing society. So the more you keep your struggles, these movements are more educated and are organized in a historical process that confers resistance to a collective identity from the principle of emancipation.

The Pedagogy of the Oppressed is processes of occupation and resistance outside the institutional spaces of formal education. But rightfully so, inspires everyday practices within the school, they are more concerned with their context and to reflect more deeply on spatial and disputes over dominance in other spaces. This task of liberation and reflection does not exclude the commitment and concern for the artistic, scientific and philosophical accumulated over time by mankind. However, this accumulation of knowledge in Pedagogy of the Oppressed leads to collective action and transformative, that thanks to the struggles and this knowledge becomes critical and emancipatory.

The innovation in the fight carried by the movement of field education is to think from the perspective of the whole society. Do not struggle only for conditions, public policy and education projects as having only concern the reality of the field, but on a prerogative that is concerned and also reflects the inequalities present in conformation / organization of current society, having as a goal the realization of guarantee of social rights, secular segregated the peasant and urban working class in Brazil, acknowledging the task of freeing the oppressed and oppressors.

Thus, we can understand that the Pedagogy of the Oppressed no despises scientific knowledge. Rather, his challenge is in occupation of school spaces at all scales, that from his reflection and his way of playing educational processes, can flourish new meanings and knowledge critical to their struggle. From the struggle of existence, productive life, men and women are educated, however, also need to articulate to other spheres, so its critical perception can be enriched and transformative action can gather other subjects and in other contexts territorialize . Hence the importance in realizing the differences between the education field and part of an education designed for the field.

It is important to understand the views and propositions paradigmatic in this debate. Therefore, the Paradigm of Agrarian Question dialectically understand that capital expands and develops so plural and heterogeneous in this respect, the study of territorialization of capitalism in the countryside, from the perspective of class struggle, allows us to understand the processes of persecution and defamation of the social movements of the working class peasant, as the concentration of income is through land concentration. So this paradigm comprises prospects for overcoming these inequalities, according to Fernandes [7].

Already the Agrarian Capitalism Paradigm understands that the focus is not on the agrarian capitalist development, but the very peasant. The resolution of this problem pervades a vision of subordination of the peasantry to market logic. This paradigm does not discuss prospects for overcoming this situation.

It is this understanding that we associate education field with the Paradigm of Agrarian Question and education to the field with the Paradigm of Agrarian Capitalism. The first is the prerogative of emancipatory works emancipation of the entire working class in order to discuss broadly all inequality and land concentration and income in capitalism. Have a thought to the education field, not working in an overall view of the holding force, but rather an understanding of status quo.

It is precisely because of this incompatibility between capitalism and freedom that you cannot think about rural education in the perspective of the working class peasant from the logical model of agricultural development in agribusiness. This model is based on a contradictory and uneven development, and capitalism, because only the ruling classes in this sector take advantage of this development and in so doing, to incite resistance and mobilization of the peasantry. The researcher in education concerned with the education that comes from the countryside and its people need to understand their movement and their struggles, not to be deceived and strengthen thereby the imperialist bourgeois hegemony in educational thought for the working class peasant.

4. Considerations

Thinking Rural Education means thinking immanent and structural conflicts of the capitalist mode of production, ie, means questioning, deconstructing, propose and fight in a way where hope of respecting the dignity of hundreds of men and women, children, youth and Older people make entirely plausible, urgent and necessary. The concept of territory is of fundamental importance in this discussion, because the field must be respected and seen as the territory of several subjects, with their constitutional right to education and that contemplates - for us - enhances their knowledge, cultures and traditions. Hence also the intrinsic link between education and popular education field, since both represent hegemonic aspirations against resistance. Fight to resist the homogenization process set in motion by the current globalization as increasing wickedness, as discussed by Prof. Milton Santos. Theoretically this struggle and resistance also invites reflection on methodological procedures capable of analyzing such policies in its implementation process and development in different regions of the country, inviting also promote discussions that address this type of education in the process of territorialization, or is in its flow materialized where, again, conflicts become present and necessary to be disclosed and explained.

We believe it is necessary to achieve more effective levels for a qualitative change of rural schools, who worry about working precepts of rural education, the collective engagement of all stakeholders as a result of a historical process pervaded by conflicts and struggles for ensuring an education that is consistent to the population living in the countryside and has been seen over time by the educational policies bourgeois as synonymous with backwardness and ignorance. The educational theoretical paradigms that only serve to stifle and bureaucracy in the education field must be overcome, making room for new methodologies that seek to contribute to praxis.

From the discussion presented here, we discussed an overview of the structural elements and structuring of Field Education, understanding it as a Pedagogy of example, since it provides lessons learned and the whole society, from the earth, his metaphors, his people mobilizing conscious and organized. Pedagogy in this example shows that you cannot think about the guarantee of the right to education, without heed for the creation of mechanisms to ensure inclusive participation of the populations of the field and management of content from its territory. Nor is it possible to discuss rural education without relating to other social rights such as those who work the land, health, housing etc.. It is the articulation between the federal entities in the problem of social issue we move towards more effective levels of social justice. Attitude that exemplifies this actuality and importance of the concept of class struggle.

If it is true that the struggle educates through the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, mobilized the oppressed of the field, as we argue throughout the work, constituting itself as a Pedagogy of example, it is equally true that such experiences approaching fighters, and affective approach towards Heartwarming, since every time the collective is organized and cares about cooperation. Class solidarity among those who share the same battles with the same emancipatory educational project, is an essential factor to be taken into consideration so that academic research does not forget to be developed next to your object and with that he can learn otherwise, we will strengthen even more massive disconnection in the name of science "neutral" and "pure", when in reality the purity happens in simplicity dialogue between the act of educating, letting himself be educated.

If the Education alone is not enough in the effective transformation of the concrete conditions of exploitation existing in social reality, nor will it without any possibility of successful socialist enterprise. The Rural Education can be read as Pedagogy Example already laying in large areas and crisp hopelessly pedagogic task of mobilizing and acting consciously critical not looking deconstruction of the established social order for the suppression of one class by another operator. Rather, this Pedagogy Example being developed, explains the urgent need for reflection and realization of a qualitatively different social order of today, but with a class consciousness in which the release of all can be guaranteed, as both of the dominant who resist and, precisely because of this, can only be performed by those who organize themselves and resist oppression centuries.

Workers peasants, organized in social movements / field of the earth, not only fights develop, marches, occupations and encampments in the struggle for land, Land Reform and Education. Develop above all a rich and practical example to the whole society: the unsustainability of the current organization of the capitalist mode of production and its urgent need for transformation. Given all the arguments and examples cited in this book, it is clear the incompatibility of agribusiness with human life, precisely because this is a fundamental and logic pertaining to operating and capital expansion. You need to say: There's no fighting the agribusiness within capitalism, since the two are inseparable and work together. The education field is also showing the people of the city from its struggles to develop an agroecological farming family, without the use of pesticides and without land concentration and income, we need to criticize and make us aware of the structural problems of capitalism, otherwise , so we are only addressing timely issues and well located, through fashion compensatory policies that function as ideological element of the constitution of the consensus of the working class against social inequality and as an element of the status quo.

We understand that from the point of view of academic research, rural education issues born of struggle, therefore, challenges and practice elements of such struggles engaged by rural social movements. Even so, and because of this, she needs a systematization of practices that only the university and its accumulated knowledge over time can provide, as long develops rigor in analysis and writing. We also need concrete evidence of the realities of schools located in the field and we know that, in many cases, dealing with issues of local municipal "hamper" their development in a participatory education management prerogative. We hope that this text allows reflections of the field education in Brazil and its challenges to the future.


[1]  Caldart, R. S. (2012) Field Education. In: Caldart, R. S., Pereira, I. B.; ALENTEJANO, P.; Frigotto, G. (eds.) Dictionary of Field Education. Sao Paulo: Popular Expression.
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[2]  FERNANDES, B. M. F. (1999) Basic education and social movement field, Collection through a Field of Basic Education, vol. 2nd. Brasília, 40-78.
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[3]  MOLINA, M. C. (2003) The contribution of PRONERA in building public education policies and sustainable development of the field. Brasília, 2003. Thesis (PhD in Sustainable Development) - University of Brasília.
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[4]  ARROYO, M. G. (2006) The school's field and research field: goals. In: MOLINA, M. Castagna. (ed.) Education and Research Field: Questions for Reflection. Brasília - DF: Ministry of Agrarian Development.
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[5]  ARROYO, M. G. (2012) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. . In: Caldart, R. S., Pereira, I. B.; ALENTEJANO, P.; Frigotto, G. (eds.) Dictionary of Field Education. Sao Paulo: Popular Expression.
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[6]  Meszaros, I. (2008) Education beyond the capital. Sao Paulo: Ed Boitempo.
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[7]  FERNANDES, B. M. F. (2008) Entering Territories Territory. In: PAULINE, ET; Fabrini, JE (eds) Peasantry and territories in dispute. Sao Paulo: Popular Expression, 273-302.
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