October 23, 2010 by Willy Cardoso
You talk a lot about self-organization. Can you illustrate how could it have taken place in one of the classes you were as a student?
The teacher told how long we had to spend in an exercise, how would she know? She was a teacher not a student, we students had to conform too much, if we didn’t finish the exercise in time we would be an underachiever, that shrinks the kid’s self-image immensely, because it’s an authority, the teacher, telling that doing the exercise in 10 minutes is the norm. Now, I believe that if the children together or in small groups were let to figure out how long to spend on the exercise, this activity itself, negotiating time by considering your abilities and the others’, would already be a great thing. This is roughly what I mean by learning to interact with others, by seeing beforehand that your classmate needs 5 minutes more than you to accomplish the same task you might think of helping him after you do yours, that can only happen if the class is not an authoritative competitive ground.
Also, there was a sitting layout, you had to sit where the teacher thought you should sit. Pretty bad if you were tall, you’d be in the back all the time. Also, if you were more talkative you’d be put in the middle of the shy girls, pretty bad too. I was neither, so I could hang around in the middle, my friends were also pretty average so I had them around.
How did you feel in the classroom, that is, the physical room itself?
Chairs and desks were not so comfortable. Not being able to see everyone’s faces was also not so good I think, I mean, not everyone, but not being able to see the face of the girl I liked was awful, and she sat right in front of me. Her hair was nice, it was blond, smelt good, but I would’ve had more chances with her if I could see her face and if she could see mine too, then she’d really know how handsome I was. 😉
I see… anything more relevant than that?
Let me think… oh yes,
The garden! We had a small garden, actually it was a good piece of land we could use to grow stuff, veggies and all. Every class had one in the back, it was meant for the kids to take care of it. But we were too busy learning other stuff that we didn’t really have time to work on it. I think I must’ve gone to this little land once or twice in the first year and never again. But it was a lovely idea, wasn’t it? Every class having a veggie garden to take care of… imagine all that us kids could’ve learnt! But we had some notions of science using the blackboard and some photocopies, it was more practical than actually getting dirty trying to grow stuff and being responsible for that.
That’s not really the answer to your quetions, right? Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to mention that.
Are you ever going to say any positive aspects of your school in these interviews?
I’ll try harder next time. Maybe we can talk about… I don’t know, oh, they had a dentist there, it was a good idea I remember her, she was really nice, she taught us how to properly brush our teeth, that was useful! And we actually did it for real instead of only being told how. And she gave me my first couple of fillings too. I remember that everytime I open my mouth wide in front of the mirror.