Classroom fallacies

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By JANDERSON LACERDA TEIXEIRA & JEAN PIERRE CHAUVIN*

Teachers must assume the effective position of educators to resist bourgeois ideology in the school environment

One of the consequences of the deterioration that affects a considerable number of education workers is their apparent lack of interest (or lack of motivation) in relation to the political act of reading. We are not referring to the indispensable “reading of the world”, of which Paulo Freire spoke; we are reflecting on the resistance of some colleagues to consume newspaper reports, study articles disseminated in scientific journals and enjoy fiction and non-fiction books (in addition to the best sellers reproduced by the cultural industry, which includes recipes coach).

Whenever we are faced with situations like this one, we will be authorized to question attitudes that have already become commonplace: (1) how can the educator/teacher charge his students to be disciplined and do extracurricular tasks, if he himself, from whom if you expect the greatest example, don't do the US homework? (2) why does part of the professorship confuse consulting books and periodicals with the action of pedantic people, restricted to “privileged” spaces, such as the university? (3) since when did stimulating students' criticality become something negative?

We do not ignore the precarious conditions to which teachers are subjected in this country, at least since the 1970s. But what we seek to defend is the argument that, if the situation of the category is admittedly bad, it will not be transformed until there is a change in the attitude of its professionals. And the first step for this is to encourage opportunities for dialogue and convergence, aiming at the greatest possible unification of peers.

A good alternative for this would be to encourage reading groups, with a view to promoting the flow of books and ideas and, at the same time, expanding opportunities for interaction beyond the compulsory activities of the small-big school world (meetings, preparatory courses, completing of reports, correction of tests, registration of absences and grades, etc.).

Of course, we will deal with the reaction of colleagues who see no point in studying and reflecting on their own practice. But whoever says “unification” also says cohesion. It is not necessary to reiterate the truism that an effectively united category would not be resignedly at the mercy of far-fetched strategies in charge of the School Board; nor would it passively wait for incisive attitudes from “politicized” leaders, and then follow them.

For this very reason, it is compulsory to ask the most uncomfortable questions. For example, “Is school an end in itself?” We assume not. The teaching institution should be conceived institutionally and understood by its “clients” as a transmission belt; ideal place for the construction and sharing of knowledge. Removing the critical posture of students and teachers, it is worth asking what the purpose of teaching-learning is.

Yes, because the educator cannot avoid the act of “professing”, that is, of exposing himself. While he teaches subjects of his actual knowledge, he also reveals ways of conceiving the world. After all, the teacher is still a reference for his student. For this very reason, the education professional is a being in constant change, who updates himself, within the possibilities, incorporating new languages, technologies and learning methods, without ever losing sight of the situation that the category is experiencing.

In 2019, João Adolfo Hansen introduced his Great Hall for Languages ​​students at FFLCH, USP, recalling the etymology of the word that translates our profession: “I speak as a teacher. Professor, I remember with Derrida, is what he professes. A word of Latin origin, “to profess” is linked to the verb profitor, professus sum, profiteers, made up of the terms pros, “in front of”, and fateor, “I speak”, or “I speak in front of”, “I declare openly”, “I declare publicly”. The declaration of who speaks or declares publicly as a teacher is performative, that is, it is an action. As an action or act of faith that has nothing religious about it, the declaration pledges a testimony, like a certificate, a promise. In a strong sense, the declaration is a commitment, since to profess is to commit responsibility”.[I]

First of all, the educator is the one who recognizes teaching as a process and not as a ready-made task. We know how exhausting it is to reproduce topics over a long working day, simulating neutrality like an automaton, without expressing any point of view about the content itself on stage. We should know, since Aristotle, that there is no neutral discourse, politically, or without intentions. Precisely because educating is an act of research and speech, as Roland Barthes said,[ii] that both the content of the subject and the teaching methods need to be constantly reviewed, during our work inside and outside the classroom.

In this sense, the teacher – more than a title attributed to those who take a degree course, duly authorized and recognized by the Ministry of Education (MEC) – is an educator. And those who educate assume a commitment to the students. This commitment goes beyond the act of transmitting content through methodologies that do not necessarily dialogue with the students' reality. The act of teaching is political and must be discussed from this perspective. Failure to do so is to deny the established commitment and abdicate the role of critically educating.

The word “educator” is very different from the terms imposed on teachers in order to diminish the importance of their knowledge and practices for society. This is what we see in “facilitator”, but also in the newest nomenclature used by the State to legitimize the performance of professionals who, supposedly, have specific knowledge in a certain area: the “Professionals with Notório Saber”.

They are authorized to teach; but will they teach what and how, if they do not understand the dynamics of the educational process? If education is a political act as such, its first task is to question the structure and organization of society. Especially when that organization tends to reproduce, if not defend, the “values”, “initiatives” and “reforms” of the so-called dominant classes.

As Aníbal Ponce warned, “a meek and resigned people, respectful and discreet, a people for whom the bosses are always right, how could they not be the ideal of a bourgeoisie that only aspires to solve its own crisis, unloading all the weight on the shoulders of the oppressed masses? Only a "gentle and meditative" people could withstand ferocious exploitation without "discussion". It is this people that fascism needs and what its school is hastening to prepare”.[iii]

Thanks to the “New Secondary School”, the professional with notorious knowledge, endorsed by the education systems, receives the alienating mission of teaching content related to Entrepreneurship and Financial Education. In a country like Brazil, marked by profound social inequality and hunger, offering disciplines to the most underserved with the aim of “awakening creativity to undertake” reinforces individual responsibility for the failure of the State.

The professional “with notorious knowledge”, now named “teacher”, has the function of modeling peaceful individuals incapable of understanding the exploitation process to which they are subjected. At the same time, educators watch astonished or, worse, credulous at the dismantling of education. The school becomes a place destined to form a mass that, if you're lucky, can be exploited in precarious jobs without any rights.

In short, it is urgent that we, teachers, assume the effective position of educators to resist bourgeois ideology in the school environment. At the same time, it is necessary to rebel against the yoke imposed on the popular classes. The political act of educating is fundamental for raising awareness and mobilizing for the class struggle.

*Janderson Lacerda Teixeira is a professor at the University of Santo Amaro.

*Jean Pierre Chauvin He is a professor at the School of Communication and Arts at USP. Author, among other books, of Mil, uma dystopia (Luva Editora).

 

Notes


[I] Joao Adolfo Hansen. Great Hall. Rio de Janeiro/Copenhagen, 2019, p. 5-6.

[ii] Roland Barthtes. Class. 14th ed. Trans. Leyla Perrone-Moses. São Paulo: Cultrix, 2009.

[iii] Hannibal Ponce. Education and classes fight. 18th ed. Trans. José Severo de Camargo Pereira. São Paulo: Cortez, 2011, p. 171.

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