A Portrait of Practitioners' Understanding and the Use of Freirean Pedagogy in a Summer Camp for Girls in Iran

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In the summer of 2008, I went to Tehran to conduct a one-week Freirean summer camp in collaboration with a team of Iranian and Iranian-American practitioners in order to create a liberatory space for adolescent girls to practice expression skills. Bartlett (2005) identifies that "understanding the meaning of dialog" and "transforming traditional teacher-student relations" (p. 345) are among the most challenging aspects of Freirean pedagogy for practitioners around the world. Examining Freirean approach in theory and practice, I use Bartlett's (2005) study as a heuristic framework for my research to portray how the practitioners in the summer camp understood the key concepts of Freirean pedagogy. In this study, I used portraiture methodology to draw a picture of the practitioners' understanding and employment of Freirean pedagogy. Portraiture is a qualitative narrative inquiry methodology that paints individuals and their detailed and complex socio-historical contexts with words. Painting with participants' words, I portray how sociopolitical complexities of the society influence practitioners' understanding and employing of Freirean approach in theory and practice.