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Warren Wilson College

Publication Date

Spring 2011

Program Name

Brazil: Social Justice and Sustainable Development


This paper explores the process of implementing the goals of the Escola do Campo João Sem Terra within the Landless Worker‟s Movement of Brazil (MST), a social movement pushing for agrarian reform that is establishing a network of schools in its communities, of which the newest branch is the Educação do Campo concept, which involves establishing high schools based around the reality of students in the campo, or countryside. As the first of these Escolas do Campo, João sem Terra is experiencing the difficulties of this process in becoming such a different school. The school has issues with the state, as their educational goals seem opposite yet the movement needs the state funding to accomplish its goals. Inexperienced teachers wrestle with teaching a state curriculum in a way relevant to the students, as they, together with the students, seek to adapt to this one-of-a-kind academic environment. There are already victories and grand plans for the future even though the school only opened its doors in April of 2010. The school intends to make “subjects” out of their students, capable of social and political action, real knowledge of their world, and the conscience to keep the culture of both the movement and their homeland, the sertão, alive. The school intends to do this with the agricultural tools to better their production and their lives, and the type of education that raises their consciousness, as opposed to the capitalist, un-engaging, and even oppressive education they were receiving only a few years ago.


Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Disability and Equity in Education | Education | Education Policy | Inequality and Stratification | Rural Sociology


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