Caindo no Brasil: We have incredible examples of educational creative solutions all over the country
Caio Dib was one of the speakers in the first Edu Hackathon I visited in São Paulo and he became one of my inspirations which lead me to decision to organise Edu Hackathon myself.
Caio is educator-enthusiast who left his carrier of journalist behind and started mapping innovative methods used in Brazilian schools, unknown to other researchers. His finding are going to be published in a book this August. Watch out!
On top of that, he runs various projects with youngsters and work as a consultant in the educational field.
Follow Caio on Twitter and on Facebook.
1) You've studied journalism - when and how have you became interested in education?
When I was 17 years old, I studied in a Media Literacy course called Idade Mídia. I liked it a lot and I chose Journalism to continue working in educational and communicational projects that I had been doing. When I entered the Journalism university, I discovered that I didn’t like the Journalism itself in Idade Mídia course; I liked the way how we learn journalism, the educational process.
2) What does the word 'education' mean for you and who is your favourite educator?
I believe that Education is one of the best ways to create a social revolution. Education can make each person a change-maker inside his/her reality.
To be true, I don’t have only one favorite educator. In the academic way, I believe that Paulo Freire is a great educator. When we are talking about Education in practice, my father and my teacher of Idade Mídia course are two great examples of educators.
3) What is by your opinion state of Brazilian education system and what are its specific challenges?
Brazilian education system has a lot of problems, but it has a lot of creative solutions too. On one hand, 64% of our public schools don’t have basic sanitation and more than 20 thousand don’t have filtered water. On the other hand, a hundred of good practices have been sent to me every month.
I believe that we need to consider the problems in our horizon, but we need to leverage the good and creative solutions in Education. More than that, I argue that Brazil has to pay attention to three important issues: the management of Education budget (today, more than 10% of all federal resources for cities “disappeared” somewhere on the way because of the corruption), the improvement of life quality inside schools and another educational spaces (it’s impossible to study in a school that doesn’t have filtered water, for example); and, the most important one, is the appreciation of Education and educators.
4) How do you think children, families and communities can support diversity of education?
It’s usual to stay inside a school for 4-8 hours a day. In theory, children stay 16-20 hours out of the school. Schools cannot educate on their own, though. It’s important to potentiate these 16-20 hours using another ways to educate and to live. Because of that, I’ve been working on a research looking for schools and another projects outside those institutions.
5) Last year, you've decided to leave your job and travel around Brazil, mapping the schools that are using different approaches. How did this idea come about and what was the impulse that made you to leave your life behind?
Early that year, I worked serving consumers all over the country. This small taste raised in me a huge curiosity and I decided to drop my phones and internet, hit the road and meet real people and the different sides of Brazil. I decided to enjoy this moment to dive, head first, in a universe that has always fascinated me: Education. That’s how the Caindo no Brasil project started: 5 and half months travelling through Brazil by a bus, looking after our country’s realities and inspirational educational practices.
There were 17 thousand km on the road, 58 cities in 12 states and the Federal District. I left São Paulo with a list of directions, but I also let the trip to surprise me: I found great local initiatives that were unknown to any specialist, but known by heart by my hostel’s receptionist or the museum’s monitor. That’s how I've met 30 inspiring initiatives that were usually known only locally. Fourteen of those will be in the book. Not only schools, because I do not believe education depends on such an encased space. I believe, as said by Tião Rocha, that school and education are two different things. School is a medium, while education is the goal. I got even more convinced of it after knowing projects like the Bairro-Escola Rio Vermelho or stories like Mr. Luiz’s, who never set foot in a classroom because school was a 2 hours walk away from his home, but was a Doctor and managed to put his daughter through technical education in Engineering.
6) What criteria you used when choosing the schools to visit and how have you learnt about them?
I was looking for educational inspirational practices which use creative solutions to solve educational problems. We have talked about poor schools - which don’t have bathrooms, transportation or filtered water, for example – and we know a lot about “good schools” – which just train students for final exams. I was looking for educational initiatives which develop competences and abilities that we will really use in our lives. Now, I’m developing a new document to define objective criteria to continue the educational mapping with 30/40 more educators of different areas.
7) I imagine that the schools and their methods differed greatly. Have you found any geographical, social or other patterns?
Most of the projects that I visited have one person responsible for everything.
8) How has the journey changed your opinion about the schools and teachers?
The journey hasn’t changed my opinion about schools and teachers because I’d already believed that Brazil has good schools and teachers. The journey only reinforced that Brazil has incredible examples of educational creative solutions all over the country.
9) What would you recommend to parents when they are choosing a school for their children? How they can better orientate in all those alternative methods of the education - because not always alternative equals better?
As a researcher, I would recommend parents when they are choosing a school for their children to explore the educational method and to check the space that the school give to parents daily and on institutional decisions.
I visited a school which was chosen by the parents only because they considered the distance from their homes. However, this is a Democratic School, which doesn’t have classes and grades. The director has problems with many parents because they don’t understand that their children were learning outside of the classroom.
In another school, parents usually stay in school when they pick up or drop off their children. It’s a good moment to meet another parents and exchange experiences. I met one father who has put his son to another school which doesn’t have these “parent’s moment”: in the first week he was 'noticed' because he was making trouble in front of the school. He told me: “I was only making jokes with children!”.
10) Is there anything you would like to add?
I will launch a digital book of Caindo no Brasil in English on November/14. In August, I will launch a printed and digital version in Portuguese. Everyone who is interested in education in Brasil is welcome to read and discuss what I have found.