10 Brazilian initiatives that stimulate student leadership

Autonomy is in the foundation of entrepreneurial education: a teaching focused on students’ protagonism, that develops critical sense, responsibility and proactivity. Ten Brazilian initiatives show how students’ co-participation in choosing content, format and even school management can make a difference for a more holistic education.

1- Escola Emaus - Camaçari (BA)

Kindergarten classes where students themselves decide what they want to study. This is possible and has worked well in Bahia countryside. At Escola Emaus, the idea that education is done along with children and not for them is taken seriously. In the beginning of the school year, children choose the theme they wish to work throughout the year and that will guide all activities. At the end of the year, they present their discoveries to parents, teachers and colleagues at a seminar, organized by themselves.

2- Escola Estadual Doutor Antônio Ablas Filho - Santos (SP)

Creating Youth Clubs was the solution found by E.E. Doctor Antônio Ablas Filho to develop students’ protagonism and creativity. In the Clubs, students must work on a project of their own, from the beginning to the end – starting with the choice of the subject and going through the goal setting, choice of methodology and even the list of materials. A group leader and deputy leader, elected by the students, lead the activities and students of different grades are welcome to participate – all they need to to is to sign up and submit their motivations for the project. Slackline, cinema, oriental culture, music and computer science are some of the themes already chosen by the students.

3- Escola Democrática Rômulo Galvão - Elísio Medrado (BA)

The word democracy is present not only in the name of this school. Since 2010, students, parents and teachers actively participate in the semi-annual election of school board representatives. One of the main outcomes of it is more engagement and more interest in school community’s affairs, since policies are discussed collectively and not imposed.

4- Escola Estadual Professor Antônio Alves Cruz - São Paulo (SP)

To fight students’ lack of interest, E.E. Professor Antônio Alves Cruz adopted the Institute for Co-Responsibility for Education (ICE)’s integral model of school. One of the method’s characteristics is to work on each students’ dream:  in the first week of class, they idealize their life project; throughout high school students develop activities related to their dreams and receive tutoring. The goal is creating more meaningful lessons and getting to the end of the school with a more structured idea of ​​which way to follow.

5- Rede Potiguar de Televisão Educativa e Cultural - Currais Novos (RN)

Rede Potiguar de Televisão Educativa e Cultural (a TV network) offers communication education, helping children and teenagers in the Rio Grande do Norte countryside have access to cultural assets and digital technologies. The project, carried out by RPTV and the  Centro de Documentação e Comunicação Popular (Centre for Documentation and Popular Communication), has activities in both rural and urban areas that include photography workshops, debates, reading sessions, writing. Young people from 10 to 18 years also receive training to learn all steps of audiovisual production.

6- Cemei Paulo Rosas - Recife (PE)

Developing integrally children from 0 to 4 years old is the main goal of Centro Municipal de Educação Infantil Paulo Rosas, in Recife. For that purpose, four ‘ateliers’ are carried out  and work psychological, emotional, physical, social and cultural aspects through movement, theatre, language and arts. Children are free to choose the activities they wish to accomplish within the diversity offered by each environment.

7- Escola Técnica Estadual Tiquatira - São Paulo (SP)

Cleaning of the lunch area, making decisions about school space signs or the Tech Week program.  At ETEC Tiquatira, these things are decided together by students and the school’s management team through the Grêmio Escolar. The group is comprised of class leaders, elected by the students, who meet weekly with the coordination to discuss topics of common interest and seek common solutions to school issues.

8- Escola Municipal de Ensino Infantil Gabriel Prestes - São Paulo (SP)

The main pedagogical tool at Emei Gabriel Prestes is dialogue. Conversations guide relationships among teachers, students and families, building an atmosphere of listening and respect. One of these moments, called Cafés com Poesia (Coffee with Poetry), invites families to take an active part in school life and to enjoy the place as a cultural space.

9- Colégio Viver - Cotia (SP)

The pedagogical process at Colégio Viver is driven by children’s choice and they are stimulated to select and mediate information, time and relationships. On the other hand, elementary school students learn subjects through common interest themes, indicated by themselves. Humanities class is also a highlight: a place for discussion and collective construction in which subjects are learned in an interdisciplinary way by students from different school years.

10- Escola Municipal de Ensino Fundamental Campos Sallesd - São Paulo (SP)

Inspired by the experience of Escola da Ponte in Portugal, EMEF Campos Salles management decided to put on a radical change in school: classroom walls were broken down, students were organized in groups of six and teachers role changed – now classrooms are shared by three teachers. Students choose their individual learning pathways, based on a pre-established script, and themes are discussed in themes.

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