Exploring Brazil's Mosaic Curriculum
– or –
Lumiar: What’s Different About it?
Eduardo Chaves
February 2008
Lumiar: History
• Conception: 2002 (discussions, visit to other schools)
• Operation:
• 2003: Pre-School (Ages 2-5)
• 2004...
Lumiar: Objective
• Objective: to be a school that is highly innovative in its
• Pedagogical vision
• How it views things ...
Pedagogical Vision: Education
• Education as human development
• Formally, a process that aims at transforming the origina...
Pedagogical Vision: Learning
• Learning as building and expanding capacity
• To learn is to become capable of doing that w...
Pedagogical Vision: Schooling
• Schooling as a dedicated, formal learning environment
• Despite this, it ought to be conti...
Pedagogical Practice: The Mosaic
• Mosaic: tool to integrate curriculum, methodology and
evaluation
• Curriculum (what to ...
Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies
• Competency:
• High-order capacity to mobilize skills, information (or
knowledge), val...
Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies
• For a Basic Education curriculum (K-12), the emphasis is
on basic competencies
• Yet ...
Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies
• Even though attention at Lumiar is concentrated on
basic competencies, they are many ...
Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies
• At Lumiar we chose the “Four Pillars of Education” of
UNESCO as overarching categorie...
Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies
• At almost every level or cycle of Basic Education all of
these categories are involve...
Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies
• Verbal competencies in the mother language
• Learn to read (decode and understand) si...
Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies
• Logical competencies
• Learn to classify / order and compare things as to their
physi...
Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies
• Interpersonal competencies
• Learn to understand the notion that persons have rights
...
Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies
• Lumiar sees itself as a democratic school – not as a
libertarian, laissez-faire schoo...
Methodology: Problems and Projects
• The human race evolved by facing and solving problems
• Some of the problems were int...
Methodology: Problems and Projects
• The largest – and greatest – problem anyone faces is
how to live his life
• Unfortuna...
Methodology: Problems and Projects
• Two principles governing learning through projects
• There are always multiple ways o...
Methodology: Problems and Projects
• Lumiar does not passively wait for students to find
problems that they would like to ...
Parenthesis: The Pedagogical Staff
• The teacher of the conventional school is, at Lumiar,
“split in two” pedagogical prof...
Evaluation: Learning Portfolio
• The first of the two pedagogical professionals is charged
with the following tasks, in th...
Evaluation: Learning Portfolio
• The second of the two professionals is charged with the
following tasks, in the area of e...
Parenthesis: The Circle
• The Circle is the general school assembly that meets
every week on Wednesdays, right after lunch...
Evaluation: Learning Portfolio
• The Student Learning Portfolio should show, at any time,
for each student:
• His initial,...
The Digital Mosaic
• When Lumiar became one of Microsoft’s Innovative
Schools it had only two old PC’s and its Mosaic tool...
Concluding Remarks
• Lumiar was created to be an innovative school, both in
its pedagogical outlook and in its pedagogical...
Concluding Remarks
• Whereas the Digital Mosaic will be a tool that can be
transplanted to schools with a different pedago...
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Ec lumiar-what's different about it-1-sao paulo-20------

  1. 1. Exploring Brazil's Mosaic Curriculum – or – Lumiar: What’s Different About it? Eduardo Chaves February 2008
  2. 2. Lumiar: History • Conception: 2002 (discussions, visit to other schools) • Operation: • 2003: Pre-School (Ages 2-5) • 2004: Elementary School (Grades 1-6, Ages 6-11) • 2005: Intermediate School (Grades 7-9, Ages 12-14) • 2007: Microsoft’s “Innovative Schools Program” • 2008: 82 students altogether • Founder: Ricardo Semler , Brazilian businessman and social/cultural entrepreneur, author of Maverick and The Seven-Day Weekend • Nature: private, not-for-profit organization
  3. 3. Lumiar: Objective • Objective: to be a school that is highly innovative in its • Pedagogical vision • How it views things (education, learning, schooling) • Pedagogical practice • How it does things (curriculum, methodology, evaluation)
  4. 4. Pedagogical Vision: Education • Education as human development • Formally, a process that aims at transforming the original incompetence, dependence and irresponsibility of the child into the competence, autonomy and responsibility that ought to characterize the adult • Substantively, the content of human development is not programmed into human beings: it is, to a large extent, a matter of choice – of choosing a “life project” • Competence, autonomy and responsibility do not evolve naturally, as part of the growth process: they have to be acquired (built, constructed) and filled with content • Learning is the mechanism to acquire them and fill them with content
  5. 5. Pedagogical Vision: Learning • Learning as building and expanding capacity • To learn is to become capable of doing that which one could not do before (Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline) • So learning is an active process of building or expanding capacities (or developing competencies), not a relatively passive process of assimilating information • The process of learning involves: • Observing other people do things • Desiring to do those things • Attempting to do them • Failing and getting feedback and support • Trying again • Succeeding – and perhaps becoming an expert
  6. 6. Pedagogical Vision: Schooling • Schooling as a dedicated, formal learning environment • Despite this, it ought to be continuous with other non- dedicated, non-formal learning environments (home, community, church, clubs, libraries, media, sports, arts, work, etc.) • Thus schooling will be integrated into life and everyday experience – the larger (and, perhaps, the best) of all learning environments
  7. 7. Pedagogical Practice: The Mosaic • Mosaic: tool to integrate curriculum, methodology and evaluation • Curriculum (what to learn): • Basis: Competencies and skills, not subject-matters • Focus: Capacity building, competency development • Methodology (how to learn): • Active, focused on problem-solving , based on projects • Evaluation (how to assess learning): • Form: Based on constant observation of student progress in the area of capacity building, not on tests and exams • Focus: Centered on the development of competencies (on “knowing-how” more than on “learning that”
  8. 8. Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies • Competency: • High-order capacity to mobilize skills, information (or knowledge), values, and attitudes and bring them to bear on the performance, with a high level of excellence, of the acts required within a specific field of endeavor • Basic and specialized competencies: • Basic: required for the business of living as such in a given socio-historic context • Specialized: required for specific life projects • Example: reading and writing are basic competencies today – but in the Middle Ages they were specialized
  9. 9. Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies • For a Basic Education curriculum (K-12), the emphasis is on basic competencies • Yet children have different interests and talents – they do not need to develop all the basic competencies with the same depth • Under the advice of Lumiar’s pedagogical staff and of the parents, they can choose their area(s) of greatest concentration • Part of “freedom to learn” charter: to choose where to concentrate one’s efforts
  10. 10. Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies • Even though attention at Lumiar is concentrated on basic competencies, they are many and need to be organized (into a matrix, a table, a wheel…) • To organize them we need criteria and categories • The “Four Pillars of Education” by UNESCO: learning to be, to live with, to do/act, to know/learn • The “Multiple Intelligences” by Gardner: verbal, logical, numerical, spatial, musical, artistic (other arts), sportive (kinesthetic), interpersonal, perhaps moral and spiritual competencies
  11. 11. Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies • At Lumiar we chose the “Four Pillars of Education” of UNESCO as overarching categories (mega-competencies) and employ something similar to Gardner’s multiple intelligences as basic categories (competencies proper) • The mega-competencies are: • Personal (learning to be) • Interpersonal (learning to live with) • Cognitive (learning to acquire new competencies) • Active (learning to do, act, undertake, “entreprendre”, “emprender”, “unternehmen”)
  12. 12. Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies • At almost every level or cycle of Basic Education all of these categories are involved • So, for the “first cycle” of Elementary School (ages 6-8) we have: • a “sub-matrix” of competencies drawn from all of these categories • and, under them, verbal, numerical, logical, spatial, musical, artistic (other arts), sportive, interpersonal competencies • For instance:
  13. 13. Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies • Verbal competencies in the mother language • Learn to read (decode and understand) simple texts • Learn to write simple texts • Expand the capacity to express more complex thoughts orally and in public (e.g., by telling stories in public) • Numerical competencies • Learn to count and to classify / order quantities • Learn to add and to subtract with at least 2-digit numbers • Learn to distinction the physical quantity and the value of things (such as money) • Learn to measure time and distance
  14. 14. Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies • Logical competencies • Learn to classify / order and compare things as to their physical features (size, weight, volume, shape, color, etc.) • Learn to look for the cause(s) and effect(s) of events • Spatial competencies • Learn to deal with spatial notions (in front / behind, left / right, above / below, inside / outside, etc.) • Learn to orient themselves as to where the school is in relation to public places and eventually their home • Kinesthetic (sportive) competencies • Learn to practice one or two sports and one or two ways of dancing that require bodily skills
  15. 15. Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies • Interpersonal competencies • Learn to understand the notion that persons have rights and duties • Learn some of the basic rights and duties that ought to orient our conduct in the school • Learn to behave accordingly
  16. 16. Curriculum: Matrix of Competencies • Lumiar sees itself as a democratic school – not as a libertarian, laissez-faire school • It seeks to respect the students’ freedom to learn, but it does not relinquish its responsibility, as a school, to define what it considers important for them to learn at the present time in Brazilian society and to persuade them to learn it • That is why it does have a curriculum (the Matrix of Competencies) but allows the students (always under advice) to choose the areas of the curriculum where they will concentrate their efforts
  17. 17. Methodology: Problems and Projects • The human race evolved by facing and solving problems • Some of the problems were intellectual: their solution came in the form of theories… • This is how philosophy and science (“pure”) evolved • Other problems were practical: their solution came in the form of either methods, procedures, notations, or tools, instruments, gadgets of every sort… • This is how technology evolved: even our languages and institutions are technology, in this sense • A project is a deliberate and systematic attempt to solve a problem – theoretical or practical
  18. 18. Methodology: Problems and Projects • The largest – and greatest – problem anyone faces is how to live his life • Unfortunately, traditional schools give little attention to this problem • The result is that what students do while in school has virtually no relevance to their life project (even when they do have one, it is developed outside school – see the movie “October Sky”) • To tackle this “father of all problems”, students need to practice on smaller problems – but even these must be related to their interests and, eventually, to their life project
  19. 19. Methodology: Problems and Projects • Two principles governing learning through projects • There are always multiple ways of learning something – i.e., of developing a competency • As we are deliberately trying to learn something, we, as a rule, unintentionally learn a lot of other things on the side • Because of these two principles, it is possible to let students choose the projects that interest them – i.e., that correspond to problems they would like to solve, or questions they would like to answer – and, at the same time, rest assured that, with correct supervision, they will also learn what needs to be learned on the side
  20. 20. Methodology: Problems and Projects • Lumiar does not passively wait for students to find problems that they would like to solve: it offers them, every two months, a choice of projects that tackle problems in different areas • To be able to do so it maintains a Project Data Bank, in which projects are listed – and for each project there is a list of the competencies those engaged in the problem ought to develop in the process of tackling the issues • The list of projects offered every two months is broad enough to give the students freedom to choose – under the advice of the pedagogical staff and of their parents
  21. 21. Parenthesis: The Pedagogical Staff • The teacher of the conventional school is, at Lumiar, “split in two” pedagogical professionals: • One with a mentoring, counseling and orienting function, who acts as advisor to a group of students basically in the same cycle of study (3-5, 6-8 years, etc.), and who stays with them through the years, while they remain in that cycle – this is a full time, permanent pedagogical staff • Another with the function of facilitating learning, who designs and/or supervises learning projects, assuring that they do the activities that they commit themselves to, when they contract that project, and that they so learn what they ought to – this is not a full time or permanent pedagogical staff, coming and going as needed
  22. 22. Evaluation: Learning Portfolio • The first of the two pedagogical professionals is charged with the following tasks, in the area of evaluation: • Make the initial baseline assessment of the student, registering in the Student Learning Portfolio what the student knows or masters as he enters the school • Accompany the student all the time, welcoming him when he arrives every day, being the first person of contact as any need or problem arises, periodically talking with him about his project activities, and delivering him to the parents at the end of the day • Formally evaluate the student every two months on the basis of observations, discussions and the performance of the student in the various projects he contracted
  23. 23. Evaluation: Learning Portfolio • The second of the two professionals is charged with the following tasks, in the area of evaluation: • Make sure that the students in his projects do all the activities that they commit themselves to, when they contract that project • Make sure that they also learn what they ought to, i.e., that they develop the competencies that the project syllabus said they would develop if they contracted that project • The result of these evaluations go into the Student Learning Portfolio to be incorporated into the formal evaluation that takes place every two months
  24. 24. Parenthesis: The Circle • The Circle is the general school assembly that meets every week on Wednesdays, right after lunch • Principals, pedagogical staff (the two kinds), technical, administrative and support staff , students and even parents participate in The Circle and can bring to it their criticisms, complaints, praises and suggestions of what is happening at the school in any area • The Circle discusses the issues and indicates the way to improve the quality of the school experience • Even disciplinary issues are discussed in The Circle • The Circle is a tool for the democratic management of the school – and also a learning tool for the students
  25. 25. Evaluation: Learning Portfolio • The Student Learning Portfolio should show, at any time, for each student: • His initial, baseline assessment, which out to map the competencies he had when he entered the school • An indication of his interests, special talents and also his weaknesses – in view of his eventual definition of a life project, and, therefore, of areas in which he might want to concentrate (or which he might want to avoid…) • The competencies developed in each project in which he got involved • The competencies developed in extra-curricular activities in which he got involved, most specially his participation in The Circle (where he is a full citizen)
  26. 26. The Digital Mosaic • When Lumiar became one of Microsoft’s Innovative Schools it had only two old PC’s and its Mosaic tool was entirely paper-based • Today Lumiar has 40 Intel ClassMate laptops, one good server, and five notebooks for the pedagogical staff – all through Microsoft’s mediation • Most importantly, Microsoft is also actively sponsoring the development a digital version of the Mosaic – a prototype of which was shown in Oulu, last November • With these developments, access to the Mosaic as well as to other communication and document management tools, all SharePoint-based, will be online
  27. 27. Concluding Remarks • Lumiar was created to be an innovative school, both in its pedagogical outlook and in its pedagogical practice • But it was created to show that a school, even if it observes all the requirements of Brazilian legislation, still can: • Be democratic and progressive • Take individual differences seriously • Respect its students’ freedom to learn • Give personalized attention to its students • And yet offer them top quality education, in tune with their needs and with the requirements of the 21st century
  28. 28. Concluding Remarks • Whereas the Digital Mosaic will be a tool that can be transplanted to schools with a different pedagogical outlook and practice, I hope I showed that the model that Lumiar wants to create and eventually export – especially to Brazilian public schools – is richer than that Thank you! Eduardo Chaves eduardo@chaves.com.br
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