Currently, Brazil still has a large number of illiterate people, however, some are beginning to want to continue or start their literacy and teaching paths. As much as this desire is possible and there is no right time to learn, one of the main problems for this is the lack of incentive, social inequality and government initiatives.
A few days before the elections and in a reality where the alternative of child labor is being erroneously accepted as an alternative for education, mainly due to the need for children to contribute early to family incomes, our column sought to interview teacher Ana Paula Yazbek – pedagogical director at Espaço Ekoa, in São Paulo. Her experience is largely linked to the early years, especially the first three years of teaching.
During the interview, the professor spoke a little more about the deficit that literacy has experienced in Brazil and the hopes and points that we should be aware of with the government’s next course. Check out the interview!
Despite its importance, unfortunately our country still has a high rate of illiterates who can only complete this stage of education in adulthood. What is this deficit due to?
There are many factors that contribute to the high illiteracy rate in our country. Among them, we can highlight social inequality, which keeps children away from school from an early age. For many low-income families, keeping children in school implies a large investment, ranging from commuting to schools to the impossibility of constant attendance. We must be clear that, unfortunately, child labor is a reality in our country and that children contribute with income to their families by performing sub-services, for example.
In addition, schools start from an excluding logic, benefiting those who correspond to the so-called necessary knowledge and devaluing those who have difficulties. There is a lack mainly of public policies that make it possible for children to continue in the school environment and that are committed to their learning.
Due to the negligence and lack of incentive caused by the government, many people end up not even being able to start their training processes. Do you, as an educator, see this search, still in adulthood, as a victory for education?
I believe that Education is fundamental for the growth of our country and an essential asset for all citizens, therefore, Youth and Adult Education has a great reparation value. Much more than a win, it’s a way to recoup some losses. The continuity / resumption of studies in adult life is still part of the logic and individual availability, there is a lack of massive investment policies that encourage the return to the educational path of the adult population. If there were this, we would have, then, a great victory in educational terms.
One of the complaints that we have seen is the issue of attention that teachers give to their students, trying to meet the needs of each one individually, however, in multi-age education, we have children of different ages. How is this situation in relation to meeting educational needs?
The school is characterized by a collective space and this is a quality and not a problem. When we say that there is a look at individuals, we are reinforcing the idea that it is possible to recognize individual paths and that there are possibilities for interventions that favor the learning of each student/child.
In this sense, the challenges are similar both in a room with children of the same age group, as with children of different ages. Looking at the educational needs of each subject is a constant and necessary challenge for any teaching project.
According to their arguments, the interaction between different age groups ends up helping in the construction of knowledge. In the case of both practice and theory, how does socialization act as a beneficiary in this process?
The interaction between children contributes a lot to the teaching and learning processes. In the interaction between different ages, children experience different roles. The older ones act as role models and as a result they may become concerned about how they relate to and teach others. They still learn fundamental aspects, related to the way they should relate to others, develop greater clarity on the importance of care and zeal with minors and attention to their well-being, aspects that unfortunately, are not usually taken as necessary content for educational work.
With the elections approaching, what are your predictions for the improvement that may occur in education in Brazil?
Depending on the outcome of the elections, we can move towards an improvement, or a major setback in educational terms. It is essential that the different governments establish an education plan that is perennial, that sets long-term goals and seeks to eradicate illiteracy and learning deficits in mathematics and science.
Despite the benefit of multi-age grouping and socialization in literacy, many parents still opt for homeschooling. What is your opinion about this system and what could be the consequences for the future of these children?
In my view, the arguments in favor of homeschooling are fallacious. They say they protect children, but by undermining the possibility of socializing with others, they end up not equipping them to deal with diversity and this interferes in significant aspects of their socialization. Homeschooling, if anything, covers only curricular content, but the school educational environment is much broader, diverse and complex than the teaching of subjects.
In addition to the future impacts, we have to consider that the present of these children ends up being limited to the domestic environment, making them have to respond to great expectations of their families and to the ways of understanding and learning that are limited and constant. In school life, in addition to peers, children live with teachers, employees, family members of colleagues and this interaction provides contact with different ways of understanding and dealing with the knowledge and complexity of the world.
Some education professionals often say that the process of educating a child in Brazil is extremely challenging. So why is this process of teaching a child so difficult?
Education is a complex process permeated by multiple factors. In addition to the content itself, there are cognitive, social, emotional, synesthetic and physical aspects that permeate the possibilities of teaching and learning.
It is not possible to understand literacy only as the instrumentalization of children in relation to reading and writing. Literacy is a broad process, which starts from the first contacts that the individual has with the literate environment, until the end of his life.
By considering literacy in this expanded way, we can look for ways to ensure that children, in addition to decoding the written code, can understand more and more the complexity of communication.
Regarding childhood, this phase is usually also very marked by its heterogeneity and its experiences end up reflecting throughout life. What are the main consequences that the quality of childhood experiences can influence in adult life? How can play and study make us what we are today?
As educators, we must always remember that childhood time is limited. We only think, act, understand the world, interact like children while we are children. Based on this assumption, we must remember that playing is a constituent of the way of being and being in the world, it is language, it is understanding and expression. The more opportunities a child has to play, the more possibility he will have to establish relationships, solve problems and act in the world in a unique and creative way. Certainly, the experiences will be enriched and will contribute to make them more available in adult life to seek ways to solve the problems that arise.
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