Renowned scholar Donaldo Macedo delivered the first Leavey Presidential Chair Lecture to an engaged audience at LMU in February. The talk, “The Ethics of Linguistic Democracy in Schools and Society,” noted that schools of education that “take multilingualism and multiculturalism and that take diversity and these issues critically will be institutions that will be in the forefront of education transformation in this country.”
Macedo collaborated and wrote with Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator and philosopher and one of the founders of critical pedagogy, a philosophy of education where individuals construct their own knowledge. Reflecting on the relevance of Freire today, he remarked, “Paulo Freire is not passé. Paulo Freire is more relevant today than he had been when he wrote Pedagogy of the Oppressed because the world has become much more complicated. The world has become, in many ways, more unfair.”
Speaking to the educators in the room, Macedo said, “I am an optimist and hopeful and I want to end my talk with the pedagogy of hope that I learned from Paulo Freire – but, we need to understand that things are not becoming easy…I have huge, huge faith in you and others that will be preparing teachers for the future, working with teachers – that are choosing to be teachers, to be there to make a difference.”
Macedo is a Cape Verdean-American critical theorist, linguist and expert on literacy and education studies. He is professor of English and a Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston as well as the founder of the UMB Applied Linguistics Graduate Department. A central figure in critical pedagogy over the last 25 years, Macedo’s work directly challenges the educational experts who seek to keep issues of power and social struggle outside the purview of education. Beyond his groundbreaking collaboration with Paulo Freire, he has published extensively in the areas of linguistics, critical literacy, and bilingual and multicultural education.
The Leavey Presidential Chair Lecture was established in 2014 by Antonia Darder, an internationally renowned Freirian scholar who joined the LMU School of Education in 2011 as the inaugural Leavey Presidential Chair, an endowed chair in ethics and moral leadership. The annual lecture provides a community forum where distinguished scholars in the field can critically engage a variety of ethical and moral questions in ways that can move us toward greater emancipatory life – within schools and the larger society.
Watch the video and view photos from the lecture.