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August 2019 - Year 21 - Issue 4

ISSN 1755-9715

Questions to Brazilian Experts and Panel of Writers

Is Brazil the 4th or 5th most populous land on Earth?

Would around two hundred and ten million people be roughly correct?

With an official illiteracy rate of 10% does this mean that twenty+ million people over 15 years old are innocent of any ability to read or write?

What percentage of primary age kids get no schooling at all across Brazil?

Has the pioneering and world famous work of Paolo Freire now reached out even to the remote and hard to reach areas of country, or has it slowly died?

How has Freire’s Christian-socialist student-empowering methodology developed over the past half century?

Is it true that around 11% of Brazilians go to University or equivalent Higher Education Establishments in your huge land?  (In UK, in the late 1950ies, did as many as 5% of my age group go to Uni?) The mist of years precludes me offering a firm answer.

How big is the opportunity gap between University graduates and those who do not get this elite branding? I use the word “branding” in both its meanings.

What proportion of young folk in this major power in Latin America receive financial help to carry them through tertiary education?  I am not referring to parental/family help.

Would it be an exaggeration to think of the university -educated elite in places like Rio de Janeiro. Sao Paolo. Campinas etc as belonging to an apartheid-like system designed to maintain the privileges of those who belong?

Having read the genuinely excellent articles offered to Humanising Language Teaching readers in this issue of the webzine I want to ask you guys what innovative things are going on in State primary schools, in State secondary schools , in State technical schools? What is new and exciting in State kindergartens where the foundations of school learning are laid for the mass of the population?

Does Clarissa Rosa’s thrilling article AN ODE TO SELF ESTEEM bring its bright light to illuminate the lives the millions of kids who live in favelas, villas miseria or callampas (mushrooms) to use the Chilean term for “shanty town”?

Clarissa I WAS thrilled as I gobbled up your lilting prose.

I have known PEANUTS, Iole Vitti’s brilliant private school in Poços Caldas, just inside Minas Gerais State for more than 30 years  but what percentage of the parents in Poços are able financially to squeeze their children in there?  (To study at Peanuts under one of the world’s leading methodologists is a rare experience for anybody.)

One last question:  What about the others?


Methodological note

My oratorical strategy in this short piece is to express my thoughts and doubts using  repeated interrogative patterns.

How different   might it have felt to you had I used  grammatically declarative sentences?

Different again had you only had exclamations to read on the various topics touched on.

What difference would it have made if the thoughts had been couched in conditional sentences?

The point here is that repeated use of the same verb patterns bit by bit changes  the” thinking mood” of both writer and reader.

Knowing as I do, that I have a choleric sort of mind (that I am a grumpy old codger!) I chose the interrogative form to soften my thinking and to try to make it less spiky.

To find out more about this set of ideas see SING ME THE CREATION and WORDS IN PLACE    both in the Rudolf Steiner , or Waldorf Schools tradition;

Author: Paul Matthews

Publisher: Hawthorn Press .      

Both books are, in my view, breath-takingly good.

Tagged  Voices 
  • Live Long and Teach – Star Trek and the ELT Classroom
    Hugo Dart, Brazil

  • Questions to Brazilian Experts and Panel of Writers
    Mario Rinvolucri, UK