Learning and collaboration in Brazil

Wednesday 28 June 2023

A postgraduate student group recently travelled to São Paulo as part of the Prime Minister’s Scholarship to Latin America study abroad exchange programme, which aims to facilitate New Zealand-Brazil connections.

The group with New Zealand Ambassador to Brazil Richard Prendergast (front, centre).

Ten Graduate Diploma of Teaching and Learning students recently visited the city of São Paulo in Brazil. The trip included visiting Brazilian schools to learn about their award-winning educational projects, attending seminars by Brazilian experts and presenting public workshops at leading Brazilian universities to showcase examples of educational innovation and social action in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The visit was made possible by the Prime Minister’s Scholarship to Latin America study abroad exchange programme, which aims to facilitate New Zealand-Brazil cross-country connections. The programme also enables discussions of education initiatives that address 21st century challenges, including sustainability, indigenous rights, multiculturalism, media literacy and refugees.

Lecturer Dr Genaro Oliveira and Associate Professor Lucila de Carvalho from the Institute of Education were instrumental in obtaining the support from the Prime Minister’s Scholarship exchange programme.

The group found the visit exceptionally valuable.

Student Georgia Donaldson says the group were very grateful for the three week trip and were excited to bring new learning home.

"We will certainly continue to learn from this experience and keep in touch with our Brazilian whānau long into the future."

For Jamie Gibson, a highlight was the visit to the school Amorim Lima.

"It was an 'aha' moment for me as to what's possible in education. To me, Amorim Lima signified that education is political and we should educate our rangatahi on the society they live in, who it is serving and who it is not. Amorim Lima would have 'circles of conversation' everyday where ākonga would lead their own discussions on what's important in their world. It was a wonderful experience.”

Angela Gilberd says it was an honour to teach high school students at Escola de Aplicação at the University of São Paulo (USP).

"We broke into four classes to share as much as we could about New Zealand culture and history. Our students were very welcoming and were confident in sharing their perspectives on the similarities and differences between our two countries. We all learnt a lot from each other.”

Sam Phillips enjoyed a visit to Centro de Inovação da Educação Pública (CIEP).

“At CIEP we engaged in discussions with a range of technology based professors aimed at improving both teacher and student understanding of what technology is and how to utilise it in today’s society. Today was also the final day we would be seeing two of the Brazilian Professors from USP in Rita and Diana. I’d like to say a massive thank you to these two for coordinating and creating opportunities for us that I’m sure have become lifelong memories.”

Deeper collaborations and research

During the visit, Dr Oliveira also conducted research and gave academic presentations at USP. This was in partnership with local USP researchers Professor Diana Vidal, Dr Rafaela Rabelo and Dr Rita Gallego, who are involved in the project Knowledge and practices in frontiers: toward a transnational History of Education.

These researchers had been in New Zealand a few weeks earlier, giving public lecturers and conducting research on comparative education between New Zealand and Brazil.

Overall, the project aims to deepen collaborations between Massey University and the University of São Paulo, in particular collaboration between their faculties of education.

The project’s objectives include building on previous successful initiatives between USP and Massey to establish the first research collaboration between the faculties of education of both institutions, establish comparative studies of teacher education in Brazil and New Zealand and provide opportunities for researchers to carry field research, visiting national libraries, archives and universities in both countries.

Dr Oliveira says, “We are looking forward to seeing a number of valuable research outputs from this collaboration, including publication of articles, book chapters and lectures/workshops in both Aotearoa New Zealand and Brazil. The longer-term objectives of this project include co-development of teaching resources based on shared experiences from both countries, disseminating project results in an especial issue of a high-impact educational journals and organising periodic joint conferences between education staff from USP and Massey.

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