Becoming an activist teacher: Learning from Timor Leste

  • Lyndall Judd
Keywords: Critical literacy, history, Paulo Freire, East Timor, preservice teachers, cultural disadvantage, activism, social justice, classroom dynamics, literacy


I often felt like I was a bit of a tourist: ever the onlooker, keen to see the sights, have some thrills, applaud others and do bits and pieces to keep busy. My adult years were spent working in art schools, waitressing, selling second-hand books, working in aged and disabled homecare, and high-level administrative positions for the NSW government (the later providing a bird’s eye view of the reckless state of affairs for the haves and the have-nots). The weary moment came, I wanted the comfort of home, I had seen too much and the discomfort was beginning to be palpable. Like so many educated white girls, I was not groomed to be a fighter, I was groomed by society to guard my piece of the pie with a nonchalant air of entitlement and to try and look good in the process. I was groomed by society to acquiesce, to please others first, to display some shining wit, to marry and to climb a social and material ladder. I found myself on the wrong side of the culture of power despite the opportunities granted me, despite my skin colour and my fluency in navigating according to the subtle cues of the dominant culture.
How to Cite
Judd L. (1). Becoming an activist teacher: Learning from Timor Leste. Breaking Out: Journal of Community, Schools and Social Justice, 2(1). Retrieved from