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Front. Educ. | doi: 10.3389/feduc.2018.00114

School as Learning Communities: An Effective Alternative for Adult Education and Literacy in Brazil.

  • 1Department of Pedagogical Theories and Practices, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Brazil

Women and men, young and adult, who have reached youth or adult life without elementary schooling are part of an important and vulnerable group in Latin America, as for instance Brazil. Integrating the studies that seek to contribute to a qualitative change in Brazilian Adult Education, as a means for overcoming inequalities and in support of most vulnerable groups within the population, this article regards the case of the first Adult Education School in Brazil to transform the learning community. The research was developed between 2014 and 2016 and refers to a qualitative case study using the communicative approach, guaranteed by the use of the Communicative Methodology. Data was collected using four techniques pertaining to the Communicative Methodology: communicative in-depth interview with the school’s Adult Learning and Education coordination; communicative daily-life story with students and volunteers; communicative focus groups with students, volunteers and teachers; and communicative observation in Successful Educational Actions. The results indicate transformative and excluding elements that emerged in the following categories: the school’s characteristics studied, work and life conditions and access to schooling and continuity in school, and interaction within the learning community. Comparing the results that indicate positive aspects of the Adult Learning and Education school transformed into learning communities to results in other studies about other successful Adult Learning and Education schools in Brazil, it can be established that they coincide in some aspects and go beyond others. Although coincidence between studies was observed, they were more intensely noticed in the learning community regarding the following aspects: a) school management oriented towards learning, with contact mechanisms with students that began missing classes, b) appreciation, from the school staff, of teaching and learning processes, specially reading and writing, c) a welcoming environment, bonding between professionals and students, and high expectations towards students. As for the elements identified in the learning community which were not found in the other Brazilian studies, they were: a) enrollment increase over time and decrease in student dropout rates throughout the year, and b) overcoming dramatic situations experienced in the neighborhood and in the school that could initially lead to school dropout.

Keywords: Adult and learning education, literacy, School as Learning Community, Dialogic learning, Brazil

Received: 04 Sep 2018; Accepted: 06 Dec 2018.

Edited by:

Monica Byrne-Jimenez, Indiana University Bloomington, United States

Reviewed by:

Corinne Brion, University of Dayton, United States
Ken Kempner, Southern Oregon University, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Mello and Braga. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Roseli R. Mello, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Department of Pedagogical Theories and Practices, São Carlos, CEP: 13.565-905, São Paulo, Brazil,