A few days ago I had the honor and pleasure to attend the VIII Seminário de Educacao in Câmara de Lobos, on the Portuguese island of Madeira. Although I was invited for a face-to-face intervention, I intervened online for various reasons. This two-year epidemic has introduced us teachers to a new formative communication culture. While it is true that presence has indisputable incentives, virtual modality undoubtedly provides convenience, time and expense savings benefits.
Wearing pajama bottoms and slippers sometimes during the pandemic (your image will be close-up or at most mid-shot), I can tell the family:
I go to Mexico, I go to Argentina, I go to Colombia, I go to Chile, I go to Portugal, I go to Bilbao, I go to Barcelona…
I would go down the twelve steps of the stairs leading to my study/library, give my lecture and return in two or three hours… I would climb the twelve steps and enter family life.
This two-hour response entails a week if you must travel to a transoceanic destination, with the inevitable inconvenience of jet lag to and from, the consequent costs to organization, travel risks, and mandatory distance to and from. family.
Câmara de Lobos is a municipality of approximately 40,000 inhabitants divided into 5 districts. neighbourhood. It is a fishing village with its typical colorful boats located in the west central region of Madeira. Many years ago this was the home of the seal known as ‘Lobo Marino’ in Portuguese, and this is where the name Câmara de Lobos came from.
The town is surrounded by vineyards and is known as the birthplace of “poncha,” a blend of lemon juice, brandy and honey, as well as excellent Madeira wine. Its idyllic bay has been a favorite of painters since Sir Winston Churchill painted it during his holidays in 1950.
You don’t see or step into that wonderful scene from your computer screen (which I enjoyed in other educational activities a few years ago), you don’t personally connect with the attendees, you don’t hug, greet, or share a meal. or a dinner where experiences are told and valuable feelings are experienced.
The slogan of the two-day seminar was “Pedagogia das emocôes”. Obscene and ambitious questions: Leadership for inclusive education, the impact of emotions on learning, cinema as a supporter of social and emotional skills, laughter therapy: managing emotions with humor, technology at the service of humanistic education, what is for culture… From the importance and necessity of heart assessment and how assessment is put at the service of learning After the speech I mentioned, university professor António Sampaio da Nóvoa, Honorary Rector of the University of Lisbon, spoke. He became a candidate for the existence of the Republic independently with the support of leftist parties in the 2016 elections.
He intervened himself in front of an audience of about two hundred and fifty teachers. The title of his thesis was: What is culture for? I followed his lecture on my computer screen. The speaker is short, solid, and chirpy, one of those that grabs you with the idea, envelops you with the magic of words, and moves you desperately.
Sampaio argued, among many other thought-provoking ideas, that schools should go to more than one. There is no teacher anymore, a group born out of a homogeneous grouping criteria such as one hour, one subject, one theme, age, one rhythm, one method in the classroom. to another intervention method, where there are several teachers in various subjects, in various groups, in various fields, in various subjects, with various grouping criteria, with various rhythms, with various methods…
Professor Sampaio insisted a lot on the word and concept of “together”. Because this blessed university professor thinks education is a common public good. We have to share, defend and develop together.
“Together”, in his view, we should focus on processes rather than outcomes, the community rather than the individual, and tomorrow rather than today. Obsession with results increases utilitarianism. What is philosophy for? Philosophy does not work, it is served.
We should question a one-size-fits-all classroom where a teacher works with a supposedly homogeneous group. All together, all the same. all at the same time, all in the same way, all with the same rhythm, all with the same assessment, all with the same teacher…
There is no student who resists ten teachers who agree. The boat cannot move forward if each rower is going in a different direction. Let me give an example: If there is a co-educational program in a center run by a female teacher, and the male teachers in the teachers’ room are making the rudest jokes in the area while the sessions are going on. about female partners, you can move forward. What one does, the other relentlessly undoes. It would be like trying to make fried ice cream: an impossible task.
But the value of being together is not just about the effectiveness of student learning, it also enables teachers’ professional development. It is not possible to progress without the support of the whole society. I believe that other colleagues should observe our work and discuss what they observe with us in order to understand reality in depth and thus improve the rationality and fairness of the practices. And, of course, it supports the good emotional climate in which innovations tend to thrive. You can find not only teaching resources but also emotional support in your colleagues.
This fact raises the need for teachers to be trained in the paradigm of colleague cooperation. The teacher is not ready to give private lessons, but to be a member of a team that prepares, develops and evaluates a joint project.
Routine, the cancer of institutions, burdens us with repetitive practices from one year to the next, without subjecting them to questioning criticism. There is no institution with more prescriptions than a school. If everything is in order, all you have to do is follow the prescription faithfully. No need to think.
Mariano Fernández Enguita wrote a book a few years ago (if I remember correctly in 2018), the title of which very well reflects an understanding of educational work based on the paradigm of colleague solidarity, very different from the traditional one-versus-few philosophy: “More schools and less classrooms to the School project. I agree with the emphasis. And in the need to break the dynamics of the unit class to move into what Enguita calls a hyper-class.
Teamwork of teachers supports, facilitates, encourages and supports the collaborative work of boys and girls. Students cannot be persuaded that cooperation is necessary when they ask us: So why don’t you talk to the late teacher?