Débora B. A. Junker

Associate Professor of Critical Pedagogies

Director of the Hispanic-Latinx Center


  • B.A., Methodist University of São Paulo
  • M.R.S., Methodist University of São Paulo
  • M.A., Christian Theological Seminary
  • Ph.D., Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Educar Para Pensar e Pensar Para Educar

One of the fundamental issues for me regarding education is deeply rooted in the dialectical relation between “educar para pensar e pensar para educar“ (educating for thinking and thinking for educating). Because we live in a time when social injustices and unjust human sufferings no longer seem to engender the moral indignation and political struggle necessary to combat and create a more just and ethical world, we cannot engage in an educational praxis without becoming committed to a critical “reading of the world” as Paulo Freire has postulated. Therefore, the two dimensions mentioned above must be considered simultaneously by all the participants in the teaching-learning process to achieve the goals of a liberation education.

From a Critical Pedagogy standpoint, conventional education lacks the theoretical and analytical abilities necessary to challenge the hegemonic “ways of being and doing” that persistently promote decontextualized and colonialist forms of education. To contest these approaches, deeply rooted in cultural repertories of exclusion, we need to engage in what Freire calls a process of “conscientização” (consciousness raising). This educational praxis implies the construction of historical subjects — individual and collective —who understand and perceive their indispensable role as agents of change while highlighting their ethical and aesthetic significance in the creation of democratic and sustainable societies. Moreover, from a Judeo-Christian perspective grounded in a prophetic tradition, religious education must help us overcome our contradictions and lead us towards a global consciousness and commitment to love God and our neighbors, while collectively caring for our planet.

Through my interdisciplinary approach to education, my areas of interest range from Paulo Freire’s work, critical pedagogy, global citizenship, intercultural and postcolonial studies, cultural-historical theory activity (Lev Vygotsky), and liberation theologies.