Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
Modern objects in the Brazilian foreign language classes: following the European and American trends
Marta Banducci Rahe

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


In History of Education, the materialities of the schools are being analysed to understand the meanings of the objects, their uses and relations with people, and also the routine at schools. Some studies, mainly the Spanish (ESCOLANO BENITO, 2009) and English (LAWN & GROSVENOR, 2005) ones, carry on a close dialogue with the Ethnographic Anthropology, focusing on the material heritage and memories of a school time, others, like the Italian (MEDA, 201) ones, discuss how the objects demanded by the schools became part of an industrial production.  Most of these studies pointed out that images, spaces and objects, when not neglected by the researchers, carry relevant pieces of information and open windows which may reveal how innovations were incorporated or abandoned by the institutions and their professionals. This paper intends to show one of the results achieved by an investigation developed in a  city, in  Brazil, in the central part of the country, far from the capital and more developed states, from the 1930s to 1960s. Based on the studies of Material Culture and the Ethnographic Anthropology its purpose was to look for traits and signs of the foreign language objects in two secondary schools, to understand their arrival at these institutions and the purpose of their presence there,  when, in this country,  there was a big attempt to follow the  international perspectives and innovations for foreign language teaching at secondary schools. At that time, the Brazilian government was committed with the organization of secondary schools, especially with the intent of modernizing its society and become part of the modern and civilized world. While the expansion of this level of schooling and the idea of homogenization were imperative, debates about whether schools would keep a more literary culture and curriculum or build up a more scientific one emerged. In relation to foreign modern languages, for the first time, an official document assigning instructions for their teaching and learning was produced, and one of its items was the use of records, slides, films in the language classrooms. These instructions created the necessity of purchasing these objects to enable the application of the Direct Method. They were bought by the schools, what could be confirmed by their documents, but when reading the teachers´ and supervisors´ writings and reports of their daily practices, none of them were mentioned. Besides this, in one of the researched schools, we found these objects with no vestiges of use. It was possible to conclude that although the official documents show the intention of following the new trends for teaching and learning modern languages in Europe and in the United States of America, in the schools where the investigation was carried out, these objects seem to be only devices purchased by them. They did not become essential elements for the classroom activities, showing that their presence at these schools did not change or modernize significantly their routines.