Feeling teenagers, seeing Heller and listening to Freire

Image: João Nitsche


The philosopher's and educator's thoughts on the organization, meanings and direction of daily life lived, felt and thought

To feel the teenagers revealed by Abramovay (2015) and, through them, try to reverse (feasible!) the mythical condition of high school in Brazil, this text finds some texts by Agnes Heller[I] and two excerpts from the work of Paulo Freire, whose fifty years explain the country today mythologized by the recurrent meanings of authoritarianism. It seeks, therefore, to understand the thought of the philosopher and the educator about the organization, meanings and direction of daily life lived, felt and thought. In this movement, and under the methodology of critical discourse in history, there is a cross between the creation of the patron saint of Brazilian education in a poem and a handwritten graphic and moments that are realized as pedagogy and political practice in Heller's work. Added the book-interview of the Hungarian philosopher I miei occhi hanno visa (2012), worked as a control of their coherence of thought. This columnist met with Heller at the Freirean world meeting, in Turin, 2014, when the last cited work was debated.

How do Freire and Heller work? Immediately, the ways of creating on the author's side of everyday life in history, the look, the clarification; as for the patron of Brazilian education, the lines that provoke dialogues in search of political meanings, synonymous with revolutionary action and belief in the human. One discourses by capturing the look and the other discourses by the intuited and desired conversation. Privileged senses are worked on to clarify and to stimulate the construction of knowledge and awareness. It is a movement with a metonymic axis, in which everyday life, often prosaic, moves and makes the generic whole of consciousness be seen and heard in new encounters. In the movement, the clarity of the seen and the conscience of the interlocution about community and social facts and data intend to articulate the physical senses of the human, sign of the political conscience that tends to overcome the inhumanity and denounce the mythical state; therefore, on the path of changing the person and life. Wouldn't this be the great strategy of the school, understood as the construction of humanity? We are not thinking here of Minister Ribeiro's school, nor of NGOs subjected to the OECD's rant.

At the beginning of the book-interview, Heller ratifies his methodology: “Vedete da dove ha origine quella lungasciadi male que ha facto scorrere fiumidi blood lungo i secoli desa storia fino alle dittature que si sono impadronizate del nostro Novecento? And he responds immediately: it is a question of turning the negation of the other into a political project, which happened with several known “isms” directed at Jews, homosexuals, heretics, Christians, gypsies, blacks and others. In the poem, written in 1976, Geneva and inserted in Pedagogy of Possible Dreams, 2001, there is o foreigner, who had kept silent and, when he had spoken to the people of the valley, had treated of nature and its movements of beauty; however, another speech is inaugurated, a “now I tell you” that goes to the end, evangelical, seeking in wording a discourse that is as different as it is permanent, a discourse of liberation. Add to the analysis the sequence of the book The Pedagogy of the Oppressed (the manuscript)[ii]. Such a sequence, according to the organizers of the work rewritten by hand by Freire in 1968, does not appear in known translations, as it was removed from the pioneering editions in English. The theory of the revolutionary movement that Freire develops (pp. 156-158) presents two designs, one of revolutionary action and the other of oppressive action. One goes from intersubjectivities (intercommunication) to the transformations and objectivity of humanization, via interaction. The other takes place from the actor-subjects towards the objectivity of oppressive maintenance, via the construction of subject-objects.

Such reading privileges, apparently and through dialogue, are not carried out exclusively, but with sufficient force to mark a convergent way of constructing meanings. Evidently, the shared seeing and listening that dialogue aim, immediately, to create a praxis of humanization.

In short, Heller's work creates an exemplary figure, much to the liking of the master Gyorg Lukács: “…that a generic method is chosen, thus illuminating with clarity the path that runs through the different ways of reacting from the moment when they emerge spontaneously until who acquire a complete figure” The generic (for example, textual morphology and syntax) illuminates reactions (of those who read and write), which range from spontaneous discoveries to the rigor of the complete, visible, connecting figure. Less complete, but recurrent, the way of building in Freire's poetics assumes spontaneous speeches about the local nature and culture of the people of the valley, which are organized as an initial body that offers space for the second and third discourse. The first of them begins with an adversative conjunction in the evangelical way (but now I say it...), which seeks to overcome the naive conscience[iii]. The next one tries to reach the complete figure, transverse to all the work of the patron of Brazilian education, wording, a different and permanent discourse, an original thing of critical consciousness according to Freire.

Revolutionary theory, always repressed in this society, would seek not to massify. In this movement of ideas, two points stand out: the sense of praxis and the effectiveness of theory. Heller draws attention to the primary need not to understand praxis as any human activity, from which derives the very effectiveness of theory, which occurs in the connective movement of praxis.

Return to Heller. The text translated by Carlos Nelson Coutinho and Leandro Konder (2.ed. 1985) presents the development of the ideas of the excerpt, insofar as “the structure of everyday life is basically characterized by the silent coexistence of particularity and genericity” (op.cit . p. 23). The form of the chapter specially treated in this essay is impressive: 50 descriptive paragraphs of what everyday life is like, with some adversarial arguments in favor of building the “generic human”, above the awareness of repetitive day-to-day life. The last 6 paragraphs begin to demonstrate that everyday life is not necessarily alienated as a definition, as there were non-alienated historical representations, especially linked to science and art. So, the orientation of the text is made by the verbs to enable, to mean, to suppose, to become, to engage, to discover, to have, to convert, to commit oneself (pp. 17-41). It is not difficult to understand why. It is about believing, from Goethe and Marx, that the “conduction of life” is engaged in the class, discovers relationships, makes possibilities explicit and, therefore, sees the effective chance of self-enjoyment, which is already a sufficient sign of leaving the class. alienation. Life becomes representative; there everyday life is transformed into moral and political action.

Knowing that catharsis (p.26) is the summit of moral elevation above everyday life, the place of consciousness of the human-generic of the person, such action takes place, repeat, privileged, in art and science. However, despite the fact that everyday thinking is driven by spontaneity, the provisional, imitation and immediacy, associated with the history of people understood as possibility and thinking moved by a pragmatic attitude, the everyday human is not immune from becoming part of the praxis from their practical activity. This human-generic moment of consciousness, which is praxis, is capable of building the new.

It is about not believing, again with Freire, that “weakness is not an ornament of our bitter lives”. Then, two virtues drawn from everyday life in transformation are proposed: “not believing” in those who impose the naturalness of alienation/weakness (as is customary in the captain-president of Brazil), but “hiding” from the powerful, as a tactic, the that we already know, at least for a certain time, because they must continue to believe that the “valley people” know nothing and know nothing. Meanwhile, the discourse “that will shake mountains and valleys” is being prepared, that is, the different discourse (the “our wording”), which will be a permanent discourse. Here, a strategy for overthrowing the myth/the mythical.

Some phenomena of the contemporary Brazilian educational situation allow correlations to the texts. The reform of Brazilian secondary education, debates on gender, mass exams and the no party school embody the challenging framework of mythical representations and lead to the discussion of the consciousness and action of the “poetic foreigner”, from which arises the expectation of subversion of education strongly held by the mythical to victimize Brazilian adolescents. .

Even without a broad debate on the condition of Brazilian adolescents (three million out of school in the hands of police and militiamen, a few thousand sentenced for recidivism of infractions and high mortality rate among the poorest), in the light of the phenomenon already lived and known the mediocre performance in the Pisa exams, MEC launches in 2016 a “savior” PEC of Brazilian high school. It proposes to the 27 education systems of the federation a reduced budget associated with a repertoire of offers of curricular components according to the possibilities of each system and even of each municipality and school community. Therefore, a long-term action and subject to many variations.

I do not, or do I use marketing media coverage was intense and produced the image that everything is happening at the same time, a time of reversible truth, or that the redemption of this educational stage has already arrived. It should be noted that there is no forecast for the application of the Guidelines for the Initial and Continuing Formation of the Magisterium, created by the National Council of Education at the end of Dilma Rousseff's government in compliance with the National Education Plan, 2014. Education by 2022, an evident projection of the “importance” of education in the reading of the captain-president.

Now, the precariousness of the Brazilian teaching of basic education is well known, after 50 years of training carried out at the whim of theories on duty and commercial colleges, the minimum curriculum, the voluptuousness of the services market and the directions in the didactic-pedagogical organization. This is a forgotten key marketing. Despite this, precariousness did not prevent the formation of strong mediating organizations in teaching spaces, which, however, follow pragmatic, salary guidelines, marked by poor achievements. The exception is CONAE, the National Education Conference, now transformed into CONAPE, the National Popular Education Conference, created after the probe of the National Forum responsible for the conference held by the Temer government. In it (2010-2014), fundamental axes of Brazilian basic education are worked on collectively and reference documents lead to the effective creation of policies. Some of its axes: management, social quality, didactic-pedagogical process and formulation of a national education system. It should also be recognized that CONAE is a battleground for educational postures, political dispositions and economic-financial impositions.

The phenomena are therefore connected. The accumulated precariousness of the entire training process, the disorientation of guidelines and the market expansion of educational services meet with the denial of the diverse and open school. The daily life of school work is a kind of Brazilian disgrace to be redeemed, but the structuring consciences of the lived reality and its future are still not visible. However, the unpublished is viable, as suggested by Freire.

The Anped document, published on March 20, 2018, fits into this point. The theme is the same, the supposed reform of secondary education, clearly endorsed by the unfeasibility of secondary education in Brazil. In it, scholars show that Law 13.415/2017, originated in the PEC, proposed constitutional amendment, number 746/2016, admits partnerships between the state and the private sector, including distance education companies, to offer courses that integrate the high school curriculum. This in up to 40% of the curricular components. Then, it demonstrates the precariousness of investments in basic education (and the captain wants to put his hand in the hope of the new Fundeb) and states that the alleged reform increases precariousness in most states of the federation, reduces the curriculum to a minimum, problematizes the process training and socialization of adolescents and deprives them of their constitutional right to quality education. Furthermore, such partnerships are the outsourcing of the educational process in state governments that claim their “financial and economic breakdown”.

What can be expected, therefore, is the expansion of the apartheid, expected result of the breakdown of educational policy and the advent of the myth, which characterizes the absolute lack of government interest in schooling children and adolescents. In terms of the text:

It is not admissible that, given the historical development of science, art and culture, poor young people are kept away from school by limiting face-to-face time to three days a week. Equally inadmissible is the use of public money for the commodification of this education according to interests, demands and needs that do not correspond to those of our youth. Equally serious is the possibility of changing the curricular orientation of these courses, based on market and neoliberal parameters, which predominate in private initiatives, compromising a solid, critical and socially contextualized education for all high school students.

The human-generic awareness of education would still be somewhat distant, as it would mean the very social quality of educational work in everyday life, both within the school and in the community. There are no walls, but fences of various sizes to overcome.

It is not without reason that one wants to symbolically banish the reading of gender, at the same time that the teenagers' rights to choose are stressed. He who must make choices does not even have his effective status as a person and citizen as a guarantee. If adolescence is prohibited from defining itself as a person in itself, the essential generic human for reading the world and its forces has not yet been given, in the face of which the I would assess its personal forces and apprehend the relations between them and the social forces of belongs.

Before listening to the teenagers, what we have is that the forms, marks and vestiges of the texts recover their meanings. The guidance channels of the I and the we of education are nothing more than vestiges. While in Freire there is a clear mediating suggestion coming from someone who has the gift of looking at the entire inhabited space and who, from a certain moment onwards, enters into communion with the people of the valley, in Heller the forces of the self and society do not distance themselves. , but they must know and recognize themselves as strength and as a figure of strength. Well, there is no effective valley view of Brazilian education since the re-democratization in the 1980s. Since then, theories of this or that visitor-writer, seduced and induced by publishers, reign in the pedagogical work like a will-o'-the-wisp, until the arrival of another, without forgetting the private education systems and the interested and self-interested NGOs in education, which place themselves to guide the governments and the Brazilian state.

In the end, little remains, not least because public and private readers are in favor of massive tests, whose results amplify their mediocre results, as if it were an adolescent reaction to their use and abuse. Minister Mendonça, in 2018, met with the Sphinx of the OECD, the Pisa exam and fell into the myth next to it, a reform that does nothing more than demean Brazilian adolescence. Out of the question, therefore, that dialectical thought that takes place in the considerations of the stranger in Freire's poem. In this one, an adequate speech is only reached after much elaboration, in addition to acts of synergy and analysis of the inhabitants and the use of their potentials.

This is precisely the problem posed by the documents that support the implementation of PISA for millions of adolescents. In countries under the influence of the OECD, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the view that students are subjected to massive exams and the tuning fork of cognitive skills does not consider that these crowds may be demanding a but, an adversative expression that induces a new look at the generic human experienced by the teenager, considering his new technological expressions and modes of socialization. The cognitive imposition does not even remotely respect the fact that the best skills of the new teenager will be those drawn from his discoveries of the social self that he represents and the social forces that constitute him towards his political representation, or his awareness of an educational subject. It is considered, therefore, that the educational routine that prepares adolescents for massive exams greatly delays their constitution as a political subject.

It is worth presenting here the densest qualitative and quantitative research carried out in recent years in Brazil. Abramovay and colleagues (2015) accompany, listen, test and dialogue with adolescents and young people from public schools, resulting in an indispensable work.

the long Survey part of previous findings, added to the thought that presides over the work. It is worth quoting a text that recalls Dayrell's research (2007):

The fundamental common characteristic for the author is the fragmentation and diversification of the processes of socialization and construction of identity. The author indicates the existence of three dimensions: culture, sociability and time/space. In his understanding, they are marked by inconstancy, fluctuation or volatility. It is a posture based on experimentation, on adventures and excitement that seek to overcome the monotony of everyday life. (pp.26-27)

The focus groups, carried out in dozens of Brazilian cities, from various regions, reveal the various everyday phenomena that lead high school, youth and adult education and Pró-Jovem Urbano (high school compensatory) students to continue in the school, giving up, skipping, abandoning, having fun, getting bored: lack of teachers, monotonous classes for working students, fights, illness in the family, work, pregnancy, tiredness, drug dealing, total family discouragement, lack of prospects for the future ; in short, a universe of facts and conditions that, if on the one hand they represent the daily reality of Brazilian high school student youth, on the other hand they suggest their departure, as there are talks about self-interest despite everything, the good work of certain teachers , the pleasant conviviality inside the school, the reading of the future time in the individual's life to differentiate himself from the family “who did not study”. Emblematic of the relationship between the sad maintenance of everyday life and the awakening to the new is the reading of the teachers' work, as can be read in the speeches of high school students:

(1) We notice when the teacher does not like to teach. When he's there because he graduated in a profession, he thought he was going to find a job in an area and he couldn't and ended up being a teacher. We notice, that teacher who likes it is visible, that he makes an effort, that he says: – No, you are having difficulty, I will help you, we will sit together, you will be able to solve this doubt. He arrives with the colleague who knows more and says: - You two sit together. So it's that teacher who likes what he does. That's a good teacher. (2) A good teacher would be the teacher having pleasure in being a teacher and in that total pleasure he would make the person who is there paying attention to have pleasure in being a student. That she could be there. Interact in class. The teacher is explaining and at the same time he explains the person is having full attention. I believe that being a teacher is not just getting to class and: – Well guys, today I'm going to explain, this, that, root of x in the cosine and I don't know what and such. Do you understand? - No. - I'll explain again. That systematic, robotic thing. I'll get to the classroom, blah, blah, blah and that's it. It's not that. He has to win the affection of the students (Focal Group Debate High School, Cuiabá). (p.114)

There is a crisis in the authority relationship. The generic understanding of the teaching power is in ruins in the teaching of adolescents and young people, as the research shows. However, since this is not a universal position, in fact there are “loopholes” for a new awareness of the work of the educator/teacher, since, as a rule, students feel the primary need for the mentor, the advisor, the opener of new perspectives , which is often not found in the limited daily life of school, community and work. But teachers, especially in Secondary Education and parallel programs for young and adult audiences, are under strict analysis of their procedure, of their educational reading of the world, of their didactic-pedagogical attitudes. Which is good for moving away from generic readings towards an awareness of social relations in the school community and, consequently, for the construction of identities of the person who studies and works and who is already moving towards citizenship awareness.

Another statement by a student is an example of this process:

Last week the Geography teacher talked to us, then he was explaining that our teaching model is very old, it is Jesuit. Then he said that we should learn other things, that's why we like his class, that his class is a different geography. Then I thought about it, I said “wow, we learn at school, but what we learn is not what we really should learn, about the world, about the life we ​​are going to have, and we learn about life in street and not inside the school” (High School Focus Group, Rondonópolis).

“Then I was thinking…”. The world and life meet in the outcrop of thought, between spontaneous and systematic, driven by the dialogue that everyday life also makes possible. The interaction that took place in the geography course at that school provides an individual force that begins to meet with social forces in world life, which may lead to the political capacity to think about society. Therefore, this thinking, which also implies dialogue, is the greatest desire of Heller and Freire, the touchstone of the speeches presented here, as it composes the methodological proposal capable of enabling the leap that leads to the acquisition of the “complete figure”, politics, in the revelation of life and the world from everyday life. Here, the method (meta hodos) to combat the mythical experience in education.

The result of the work of understanding the day-to-day life of young people, between school, family, leisure and work, allows researchers to verify what also passes through the reflections of the authors studied here. To know:

To prevent phenomena such as dropout, repetition and disenchantment with knowledge, it is not enough to list uneasiness about school, but to reflect on everyday life, micropolitics, which involves subjectivities, frustrations and, above all, possible awareness, ability to to criticize and to mobilize wills, since such criticisms are translated as knowledge and awaken or dampen an active citizenship. (p. 231)

Therefore, the researchers coordinated by Abramovay conclude:

It is impressive, not because it is specific to this research, but because it is an indicator of a denied cultural citizenship, the scarcity of alternatives to have fun, to have pleasure and regulate your life rhythm, a field of extensive research and present in the narratives of young people. Theater, museums and travel are rarely mentioned; collective parties are more likely to be restricted to free popular music concerts and gatherings at friends' homes. Cinema also appears little, especially among young people from EM. These, in greater numbers, know how to use the Internet better than those from EJA and PJU. Young people arrive at school without cultural capital, which, in turn, is also not part of its agenda, with an incomplete socialization predominating, which compromises the knowledge process (...) (p. 232)

The adolescent condition again refers to the texts under analysis. In the poem, the transversal theme of all Freire's work reappears, communion, indispensable for teaching-learning acts in the world. The controversial text that we do not educate the other and this one does not educate himself either, because in fact we educate ourselves mediated by the world immediately leads to the concept of communion, encounter. There is no commonality in the making, application and evaluation of the massive PISA-Esfinge exams; much less does the institution understand itself as someone who learns something in these decades of imposing exams, as a rule induced by global economic analyzes concocted in Paris for the EU. Nor has it been possible to arrive at Heller's assertion, which bears repeating: “only when the man has recognized and organized his 'own strengths' as 'social strengths' and for that reason he does not separate from himself the social strength of the figure of political strength …” In Freire and in Heller, the central figure that triggers everyday life is the emancipation of the person, the anti-myth, as long as the split between forces of the self and society is not carried out, made as an act of political emancipation. Now, an impoverished and directive secondary education, with massive exams without reflection on those who apply and who are obliged to take them, along with the absence of the right to define oneself as a person, if it does not establish a social wall, it certainly produces a lot of strength of alienation. However, just in case, it gives indications that are signs of urgency, if not feasibility.

Despite the distances, the texts analyzed from Miei Ochi Hanno Visa move their meanings in the same direction. The central fact in the debate of the long interview is that within the violence there were, systematically, disputes, because the resisters had “chiarezza” of what happened, because they were able to look at what was happening. The clarity was no less than that of those who imposed their powers. The clear and sharp look produced resistance, openings and new propositions.

The path, therefore, according to Heller, passes through Lévinas, who finds in the “other” (recognized and valued) the sign and compass of knowledge of the world (p.119). From there, goodness and beauty emerge. His last words, taken from See the Giustizia P. 411: “Non sono io lafonte della felicita, mal´altro. Il mio volto è radiaso non perché illuminato da una comprensione, ma perchè il volto di um altro èrivolto verse de esso” (p.121).

The everyday felt and lived finds trails of conscience. Heller ends his dialogue with Francesco Comina and Lucca Bizzari (op. cit. p. 111 ss) with reflections on contemporaneity and the role of the philosopher. She shows that her divergence from Heidegger was guided by the fact that she believed in the authenticity of man in his everyday life. Therefore, he ceases to understand himself as a particularity and sees himself as an individual, a person in a group, in relation to others, who is formed with others and can produce beauty, knowledge, knowledge, kindness. This individual is the one capable of questioning, questioning himself, asking questions. Freire would say to admire, understanding oneself as unfinished, curious and competent to go beyond what is given and established.

He clearly saw the revolutionary action of the encounter between the self and the other mediated by the world and challenged to the fruitful communion of communication/education. He just couldn't see more because Latin America and his country, Brazil, cyclically do the work of Sisyphus and postpone the extended exercise of rights and the practice of freedom.

With the decisive contribution of the voice of the adolescents, the meetings suggest the upheaval of the humiliating and lethal situation. The mythical robbery of the voices of Brazil, started in Temer and taken to a maximum level with the captain-da-porrada, awaits the new paths of conscience. It must be remembered that the latter eppur si muove. We are not yet at the end of the story.

*Luiz Roberto Alves is a senior professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP.



[I] Theory, laprassi and bisogniumani (1973); The Sociology of Everyday Life (1977); Daily Life and History (1970)

[ii] Editorial project, organization, revision and introductory texts by Jason Ferreira Mafra, José Eustáquio Romão and Moacir Gadotti. Published by EDL, Editora Uninove and MEC, 2013. This is the “backup copy” made by Paulo Freire and left in the hands of Salvador Allende's minister Jacques Chonchol and his wife Maria de Oliveira Ferreira, in the spring of 1968. In the dedication to the Freire couple, he concludes: “I would like you to receive these manuscripts of a book that may not be worth it, but that embodies the deep belief I have in men, as a simple homage to whom I admire and esteem”.

[iii] Perhaps Freire's richest passages on the idea of ​​naive consciousness (and consequently its opposite) are those in which he directly thinks about the educator's work in contact with his students. In Autonomy Pedagogy, P. 122 ss. it combines the incompleteness of the young person with their passive condition of someone who receives content to store and perhaps respond as required. Remember, therefore, the old reflection on the bank deposit. The natural unfinished and the cultural liabilities constitute naive consciousness, the central theme of education understood as a political act.

See this link for all articles