Brazil gov't unveils new guidelines for primary education curriculum

Empathy and respect for diversity are part of the new National Common

Published in 09/04/2017 - 09:00 By Mariana Tokarnia reports from Agência Brasil - Brasília

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Empathy and respect for diversity are part of the new National Common Curricular BaseAgência Brasil

To cultivate empathy and promote dialog, cooperation, and respect must be part of schools' everyday routine. Students are also expected to welcome and embrace diversity. These are some of the skills listed in the National Common Curricular Base (BNCC in the original Portuguese acronym), which provides the guidelines for both public and private schools throughout Brazil. The full, definitive version of the text was unveiled Thursday (Apr. 6) by the Ministry of Education.

In addition to stipulating what must be learned each year for each field of knowledge, the document sets forth ten general skills that should be developed throughout a student's school life. Among them is students' ability to recognize and appreciate themselves, taking care of their physical and mental health, recognizing their own emotions as well as those of others. The goal to achieve the so-called total human development.

“There is no separation between cognitive, social-emotional, and communication skills. A child must learn to show solidarity, respect others, be responsible, and learn to live in society. They must learn to read and solve problems, to be a citizen of the world, respect diversity and communicate,” said Maria Helena Guimarães de Castro, executive secretary at the Ministry of Education, who chaired the committee tasked with the final version of the BNCC. “If [a child] does not have good self-esteem, isn't encouraged or welcome at school, they will have difficulties developing their knowledge,” she added.

The BNCC also mandates that students are educated to assume a more autonomous role as subjects. Among the skills to be promoted is the ability to exercise their intellectual curiosity and resorting to scientific approaches, including investigating, deliberating, critical analysis, imagination, creativity, elaborating and testing theses, solving problems and finding solutions based on knowledge from different fields.

Especial doa dis Professores, Professora Maria Eduarda Andrade (José Cruz/Agência Brasil)

In order for the BNCC to work in real life, specialists argue, teachers and their training must be viewed with great importance, as they are the ones directly responsible for these changes to reach students.José Cruz/Agência Brasil

Teacher training

In order for the BNCC to work in real life, specialists argue, teachers and their training must be viewed with great importance, as they are the ones directly responsible for these changes to reach students.

“Without a doubt, both initial and ongoing training, as well as working conditions and teaching materials should be rethought so that teachers can cope,” said Anna Helena Altenfelder, superintendent at the Center for Studies and Research into Education, Culture and Community Action (CENPEC). She is also a member of the Movement for the National Common Base, a non-government group for education professionals.

According to Ayrton Senna Director for Innovation Mozart Neves Ramos, schools also need to adapt. “For this to actually land in the classroom, on the school floor, schools will also have to adapt. Classrooms will have to be given a new architecture, so that a new school can reach the new world and major changes can take place.” As an example, he mentioned the need to change students' seating arrangement. “A classroom with desks lined-up traditionally may provide an environment where collaborative and creative aspects are not developed.”

The steps ahead

The Ministry of Education expects the National Common Curricular Base to effectively reach classrooms in 2019. The document covers school education in Brazil in all of its stages except high school, which should be addressed in the upcoming months.


Translated by Fabrício Ferreira


Fonte: Brazil gov't unveils new guidelines for primary education curriculum

Edition: Valéria Aguiar / Nira Foster

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