In this article, Part I of Cultural Action for Freedom, Paulo Freire rejects mechanistic conceptions of the adult literacy process, advocating instead a theory and practice based upon authentic dialogue between teachers and learners. Such dialogue, in Freire's approach, centers upon the learners' existential situations and leads not only to their acquisition of literacy skills, but also, and more importantly, to their awareness of their right as human beings to transform reality. Becoming literate, then, means far more than learning to decode the written representation of a sound system. It is truly an act of knowing, through which a person is able to look critically at the world he/she lives in, and to reflect and act upon it. (pp. 480-498)

In this article, Part II of Cultural Action for Freedom, Paulo Freire explains the process of conscientization as an intrinsic part of cultural action for freedom. He rejects the mechanistic and behaviorist understanding of consciousness as a passive copy of reality. Instead, he proposes the critical dimension of consciousness that recognizes human beings as active agents who transform their world. He makes specific reference to the political and social situation in Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s, discussing the need for cultural action in order to break the existing "culture of silence." (pp. 499-521)

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