What have you done today to change the world? A different learning method

“We decided to tear down walls, gather students. We understood that alone we couldn’t teach everything to everyone. But, working as a team, following a project and making the act of learning autonomous, we could effectively respond to each student’s needs.”

José Pacheco, Portugal & Brazil

 

José Pacheco is a Portuguese educator and a visionary. Back in 1976, he almost gave up teaching due to the constant feeling that he was, somehow, excluding people from learning. The Portuguese school Escola da Ponte (https://www.facebook.com/escolabasicadaponte) was one among many public, decayed schools, with violent 14 and 15-year-old students who didn’t know how to read or write.

After asking himself repeatedly why wouldn’t the students learn, even though he delivered good, well structured lessons, he and two other teachers who shared the same concerns decided to apply their ideas in an innovative approach to teaching. They started by doing this on their spare time, while still teaching “regular lessons”, thus respecting the conservative attitude of those who didn’t want a change.

Gradually, they introduced a teamwork culture, opposed to the individual work practice present in the regular teaching methods. Through all these years, co-responsibility has been highly fomented in this learning place: students are grouped by their areas of interest and work together on research projects. They also work individually, sharing their findings with colleagues and educators afterwords. There are no classes, no exams, no school years. Teachers don’t teach just one subject, they are available to guide students as these may need. Students acquire, from an early age, a strong sense of citizenship, solidarity and, therefore, community.

As a team, and promoting an autonomous learning, José Pacheco and his fellow educators were able to tackle each student’s needs. In the beginning, the students didn’t respond well, simply because it was easier just to listen to the teacher than actually working on projects, doing research and develop critical thinking. Some teachers from other schools were also mistrustful and created quite a few obstacles to their vision.

In time, the student’s results started to show the high quality of their learning method. Recent assessment reports state that Escola da Ponte students obtain better grades than other schools’ students, and their level of social and moral development is even more significant.

Escola da Ponte teaching method places great importance on ethics and, as it’s known that aesthetics and cognitive developments are mutually influenced, knowledge is not fragmented. Escola da Ponte has proven that another education is, indeed, possible, associating academic excellence and social inclusion.

More recently, and after letting his cherished creation, Escola da Ponte, flourish by itself, José Pacheco was asked by the late Walter Steurer to help him “build a school” in Brazil, based on the LDBEN (Brazilian Guidelines and Basic Law for National Education) and that was how Projeto Âncora was born (http://www.projetoancora.org.br/) in São Paulo state.

Projeto Âncora school follows a sustainable education, effectively promoting social integration, going against the everlasting exclusion of the poorer children from the educational system. Brazilian schools lack reflective interaction spaces, and only when they discard the obsolete educational model most of them still rely on, as well as the bureaucratic management that places administration matters before educational ones, will they be transformed into places operating an integrative learning method, not dividing knowledge, not segregating students, but rather instigating values such as liberty, responsibility and solidarity (the three fundamental values sustaining Escola da Ponte too), and also autonomy, democracy and cooperation.

José Pacheco still visits his home country, Portugal, either to be with his beloved grandchildren or to follow up projects from his former students. He will be in Portugal, in 2018, for a teachers and educators gathering, providing mentorship and projects follow-up.

Today, the oldest students from Escola da Ponte are women and men in their fifties, that express on their day-to-day lives the values learnt at that school. They are fully fledged citizens, well accomplished and socially integrated.

Let’s hope for a wider political sensitivity and will to support the creation and maintenance of more learning and sharing places such as Escola da Ponte, in Portugal, or Projeto Âncora, in Brazil. We will all win from that!

. What have you done today to change the world? .

by Cláudia Gomes Oliveira

linkedin.com/in/claudiagomesoliveira 

What have you done today to change the world? Abolish all animal suffering

“We should always think how certain actions we do would make us feel, if they were to be done to us. That would give us the answer to everything and the world would be very different!”

Sandra Cóias, Portugal

 

Sandra Cóias is an actress, an entrepreneur, and a very conscious and caring human being. She became a vegetarian more than 20 years ago and, more recently, has become vegan (not consuming anything derived from animals). Her reason is to avoid, by all means, to contribute to any type of animal suffering, which, as we know, is tremendous in the meat industry.

Her attempts to invite others to adopt this conscious attitude have been somewhat successful, although many people tend not to think about the subject at all, maybe due to its screaming evidences of the unnecessary suffering caused by humans to other living beings and the absolute need for a mindset change.

Sandra Cóias highlights the fact that human beings are not carnivores by nature, but rather omnivores. Back in the Paleolithic Age, men and women ate whatever they could find in nature, having a raw-food diet. The meat would be a part of it, but only sporadically.

It was only in the past few centuries that the meat industry, presently one of the most powerful in the world, started the actual massive production of animals for human consumption, being responsible for the constant and enormous availability of meat in supermarkets.

If only people were aware of how the meat they eat is produced, or of the amount of adrenaline and toxins present in it, released by the animal in distress just before it gets killed, they would probably rethink eating it so often (or at all). However, an informed and conscious consumer is not on the industry’s best interest.

Human population is growing at an alarming pace. Soon, there won’t be enough resources left to feed everyone, especially if the world keeps depending on meat and fish to do so. Although nowadays we live longer, we’re living worst than ever. Obesity, for instance, is a recent issue and is, undoubtedly, due to the poor feeding habits of modern societies.

Animal welfare is a great concern to Sandra Cóias, she’s an activepromoter of animal protection and believes that, unfortunately, many humans lack sensibility and humanity, not being able to fully understand the suffering of others. Nonetheless, she keeps raising awareness about wildlife crimes, the use of animals in circus, bullfighting, and other cruelties inflicted by humans to all other species.

Her latest project is WIMS – Walk In My Shoes, an animal free shoe brand. Sandra loves shoes and decided to create her own, not using a single product coming from animals.

https://instagram.com/walkinmyshoesbysandracoias/

Hopefully, WIMS will prosper and inspire other brands to go animal free too! It is sad to see that most people are too absorbed with non-essential things, living egoistically, rather than thinking about what is truly fundamental for their survival: air, water and land quality, and biodiversity.

There’s still time to change mentalities and attitudes. All it takes is commitment and coherence. Shall we try?

. What have you done today to change the world? .

by Cláudia Gomes Oliveira

linkedin.com/in/claudiagomesoliveira

LOUIS VUITTON – VOLEZ, VOGUEZ, VOYAGEZ // Exclusive Review

 

This is my second experience visiting a Louis Vuitton exhibitions. The first time was in Los Angeles in 2015, which seems to be so long ago in the fast pace market of fashion. That exhibition blew my mind in the fact that such a traditional brand from the 1800s could transcend itself in an exhibit encompassing multimedia elements floating above an antique steamer trunk. This exhibition ran from October 27th, 2017 through January 7th, 2018.

The exhibition in NYC also did not disappoint. With multimedia elements along side the traditional curated “museum” style collection, but focused more on the traditional side, somewhat fitting for the Eastcoast clientele. It was presented in a Wall Street neighborhood across the street from the Trinity Church.

It seemed as though we were in a traditional brownstone walk up to some degree, because of the multi-floor instillation. The exhibition begins with a moving train of the NYC subway covered in LV graffiti, then goes into a more tradition museum like gallery.

Standouts among the exhibition was the vintage train car with video windows of the country side as mannequins are adorned with vintage LV. This brings the collection full circle from the modern subway to the vintage train car.

LV is a master at not only the longevity of a luxury brand, but embracing contemporary elements while staying true to the history of the brand. One example of this is the use of the Capital V logo that originated, “More than 100 years ago the CAPITAL V, originally belonged to Gaston-Louis Vuitton, the grandson of Louis. Regarded as the visionary of the family, Gaston-Louis made this letter,” according to the Louis Vuitton website.

Another example is the recent collaboration with streetwear label Supreme. One of the stand out items especially for kids that skate, like my 13 year old son, is the skateboard retailing for a staggering $68,500 USD.

Business of Fashion describes, the world’s most elite luxury houses, like Louis Vuitton, have driven strong financial results by creating iconic products as high price points, which, paired with elaborate marketing campaigns. With streetwear designers on the rise especially with millennials and heritage luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton embracing not only their history but the future, the fashion environment continues to push the boundaries while staying true to their roots.