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Donaldo Macedo, Ph.D., Ed.D.
Department Chair of Applied Linguistics, College of Liberal Arts
University of Massachusetts, Boston
Donaldo Macedo is a Cape Verdean-American critical theorist, linguist, and expert on literacy and education studies. Macedo is professor of English and a Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is the Graduate Program Director of the Applied Linguistics Master of Arts Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Donaldo Macedo has been a central figure in critical pedagogy over the last twenty years. His work with Paulo Freire broke new theoretical ground in its attempt to develop a critical understanding of the ways in which language, power, and culture contribute to the positioning and formation of human experience and learning. He is known as Freire’s chief translator and interpreter in English. Macedo’s published dialogues with Paulo Freire are considered classic work for their elucidation not only of Freire’s own theories of literacy but also for the way in which they have added a more critical and theoretically advanced dimension to the study of literacy and critical pedagogy. His coauthored book with Paulo Freire, Literacy: Reading the World and the Word, is central to critical literacy in that it redefines the very nature and terrain of literacy and critical pedagogy. In addition to his seminal work with Freire, Macedo has played a central role in constructing a literacy of power for use in critical pedagogy. Contrary to popular belief and dominant ideology, schools do not always serve the best interests of their students. Schools as well as the cultural pedagogies of media and other social institutions too often perpetuate ignorance or, as Macedo puts it, stupidification. As schools and other institutions fragment knowledge and deny contextual understanding, students find their ability to make connections between school information, their lived worlds, and relations of power and privilege more and more difficult. Macedo’s work directly challenges the educational experts who seek to keep issues of power and social struggle outside the purview of education. As Macedo argues, questions of power vis-à-vis socioeconomic class relations, gender dynamics, and racial discrimination are suppressed by many mainstream political and educational leaders. What does class analysis have to do with education, hegemonic educators ask, when we live in a classless society? Such positions, Macedo asserts, conveniently ignore questions of ethics. As long as such questions are suppressed and a literacy of power is ignored, schools will remain tools of the status quo. Macedo ties this literacy of power directly to what he describes as an emancipatory literacy. An emancipatory literacy, Macedo posits, involves students becoming knowledgeable about their histories, experiences, and the culture of their everyday environments. In addition, they also must be able to discern the dominant culture’s codes and signifiers in order to escape their own environments. In an educational context shaped by an emancipatory literacy, therefore, teachers must constantly teach a dual curriculum. A language of possibility, Macedo argues, permeates this two-tier curriculum that both empowers students to make sense of their everyday life and gain the tools for mobility valued in the dominant culture. In this context, Macedo writes that students celebrate who they are while learning to deal with ways of seeing and being that are not their own. In this way students from marginalized backgrounds can make their own history (Freire and Macedo, 1987; Macedo, 1994; Macedo and Bartolomé, 2001).
Information obtained from: http://www.freireproject.org/content/donaldo-macedo
He has published extensively in the areas of linguistics, critical literacy, and bilingual and multicultural education. His publications include: Literacy: Reading the Word and the World (with Paulo Freire, 1987), Literacies of Power: What Americans Are Not Allowed to Know (1994), Dancing With Bigotry (with Lilia Bartolome, 1999), Critical Education in the New Information Age (with Paulo Freire, Henry Giroux and Paul Willis, 1999), and Chomsky on Miseducation (with Noam Chomsky, 2000).