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Fairy tales, superhero movies, comic books. It is not new that playfulness is one of the factors that most helps in the process of understanding the world. But the question that remains is: how can it interfere with the students’ socioemotional and teaching-learning processes within the school environment?
At the Nova E-ducação Festival, LIV’s pedagogical manager, Joana London, interviewed Mozambican writer Mia Couto on this subject. Through your life story and your experiences, we will understand a little more about the relationship between art, literature and socio-emotional. Check out!
What you will find in this article:
Culture, art and literature in the context of a pandemic
In the last few months, we have undergone major changes in the global scenario due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, organizations, families, institutions and companies around the world needed to adapt to a new model of work, studies and daily life. With the reality of social isolation, restrictions on entry into public places and necessary preventive care, such as detachment, feelings had to take on another form. Affection needed to be reframed, and mourning and fear became part of the daily lives of several families.
In the interview with Mia Couto, who is also a biologist, the writer commented on how the Western world perceives human reality. We have the idea that, in the food chain, the human race is the most powerful, evolved and always remains at the top. Only, in this new context, that image of strength and power was broken by a creature invisible to the eyes.
“We must teach children that we are mostly made up of microorganisms and these microscopic beings. Whether they like it or not, they make us up and are part of us ”, comments the writer when showing another look in relation to COVID-19. For him, one option is to assume him as a “wrong partner”, after all, he is a reality and lives with us.
In Mozambique, due to culture, the vision they had regarding COVID-19 was totally different. Most Mozambican culture believes in life as something cyclical in which everything is renewed. For this reason, they deal with mourning and the new life format more naturally.
Literature and art, in turn, help civilizations to understand languages, languages and logics that bring us into balance with these creatures and with the universes that live inside and outside us. With them, in a playful way, we can show children these concepts mentioned above. Mia also jokes: “when they learn the language of this virus (COVID-19), tell us, because we want to understand it too”.
The school of the future needs to go beyond traditional subjects and content. They continue to be essential for the teaching and learning of students, but, alone, they no longer meet the needs of new generations.
Mia recalls that, of the dozens of teachers, he remembers only three. This happened because these professionals marked their academic trajectory beyond the content taught.
“They were not only teachers, but teachers, and delivered a lesson not only in math or chemistry, but a lesson for life.” And he adds: “I lived in a school format and I think this world has changed for the better”.
Teacher, empathy and attitudes to change the world
A striking moment in the interview was Mia Couto’s account of how one of her teachers was instrumental in her writing career.
Still in primary school, this teacher asked the class to produce a free essay. The other day, he also took an essay. He was a very big man, he hardly fit in his chair and he still questioned whether the class allowed him to read his text.
At that time, the teacher shared the same space and place with the students, and became one of them. Shaking with the notebook in her hands, she read an essay called “My mother’s notebook”, which deeply affected Mia Couto, as those hands were also her mother’s hands. That is, hands marked by work and time, and who had no time to take care of themselves.
That was how Mia Couto started to look at school production in a different way. Suddenly, that activity left school and gained a lesson for life. We can see that concepts such as empathy and solidarity were applied in this experience.
The writer believes that this can be done systematically at school. This gesture marked him and made him another. Activities like these give students the opportunity to put themselves in the other’s shoes and identify with other stories. And yet, he comments that “The school may be less linked to the transmission of knowledge, simply, but be linked to attitudes to change the world.”
The importance of imagination
When we see children drawing, we need to understand that that moment is much more than a design or an aesthetic action, it is the way that that individual is representing and giving meaning to the world.
Theater, for example, was not born in Japan or ancient Greece, it was born with us and our ability to be another, and transports us to another identity. The author reinforces that this activity should not be treated as para-school, as it is as necessary as mathematics, psychology or any other discipline, for example. Knowing concepts is as important as leveraging the imagination.
Teaching needs to develop individuals who are capable of interrogating, questioning and who are not afraid to think alternatively. “The school values how much the student is able to reproduce the knowledge already acquired, but how much is that student valued for the questions he asks?”, Asks Mia Couto.
The power of listening
Mia Couto lives in Mozambique, which has at least 25 different peoples – that is, enormous cultural diversity. He, as a man of European descent, needs to “go out” for listening to be effective.
This means that the dialogue cannot start from the premise that there is a right or a wrong. It is necessary to allow the voice of the other to occupy you and, thus, you allow yourself to be built from it.
The author says that, in his writing process, the story to be told needs to take possession of it so that the narratives come to life.
Living with not knowing
Especially in this context of non-face-to-face teaching, many students may feel lost for ‘not knowing’. In a few months, we had to adapt to a reality never before experienced, and the school also had to shape itself during this process.
However, this feeling of loss is more favorable than we think, since, for not knowing, we are driven to seek new knowledge.
Mia Couto cites a terrifying moment for teachers: one in which the student asks and needs to say ‘I don’t know’. It is very important, whether in classroom or non-classroom, the acceptance of the professional who understands that he may not know. The most important of all this is the search / crossing. That’s where the school and the teacher teach.
To end the conversation, Joana London quotes a verse from the book Before the world was born, by Mia Couto: “Life is too precious to be squandered in a disenchanted world.”
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