Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
New Education, Race, and Corporal Punishment in Brazil
Diana Vidal

Última modificación: 2017-07-16


New Education in Brazil was scarcely a topic mentioned in the The New Era journal. The sole reference found was in the article entitled “Corporal punishment, some reflections upon corporal punishment”, by Susan Isaacs, published in 1929. The author assured that corporal punishment in Brazil was illegal. At that time the New Education Fellowship did not have a Brazilian Section, created only in 1942. However, the mention indicates that amongst educators associated to NEF some were in contact with Brazil. As a matter of fact, since 1854, corporal punishments were prohibited in Brazilian primary schools. By law, they should be replaced by moral punishments, such as reprehension and expelling. Despite that, sources show that the practice remained used in both girls’ and boys’ schools and had the support of parents, in a society where slavery was still present until 1888 and violence part of the culture. As I argue before, during last ISCHE in Chicago, The New Era, as a platform of educational changing, relied intensively on psychoanalysis approaches to understand children’s universe and to treat their behavior. Susan Isaacs’ article was an example. She argued that the educational problem in early childhood was not to create or foster the sense of guilt. The child had to be free from the tyranny of his neurotic conscience and the unconscious need of punishment and for her only the constructive methods of liberal education could do so. If it is true that from 1888 to 1920, Brazilian education changed considerably, it is also true that violence was not completely banished from the classrooms. In 1940, according to testimonies, there were still corporal punishments, mostly related to the use of palmatória (an artifact made of wood, with some holes, to hit the student’s hand). This paper aims to explore these contradictions in the introduction of New School in Brazil, comparing references to the social and culture values to this new psychoanalysis approach in the educational discourse and questioning the presence of prejudices of gender and race, disguised by the scientific discourse.