Waking the sleeping giant: Beliefs of Brazilian and *American teachers concerning liberation curriculum

Veronica Gesser, Florida International University


The school curriculum is a matter mandated by the educational system rather than determined by the school stakeholders of a community, as Freire (1993) suggests. At the present time, one significant vision of school is challenging the current order of curriculum practice. It focuses on school as a liberating agency grounded on the belief that the abilities to access information and to think critically about it will educate an individual capable of making independent decisions. This dissertation investigates teacher's beliefs concerning curriculum. It was assumed that there is a discrepancy between what has been the position proposed by critical theorists including Freire (1998a, 1993); Apple (1979); Giroux (1998), and the position on curriculum which school systems are typically advancing. ^ There were four purposes of this study. The major purpose of this study was to determine whether or not Brazilian and American Teachers believe that a school curriculum based on Freirean principles could be implemented in the schools in which they worked. Also, this study sought to determine the differences found between teachers' beliefs in the Brazilian and American contexts. Another purpose was to determine how Brazilian and American teachers justify their beliefs and actions when these may represent conflicting values. Finally, this study sought to determine if these teachers believe that the curriculum is in need of change or if they accept the current curriculum as adequate. This study consisted of quantitative and qualitative data collection through multiple methods involving surveys and interviews. The study involved 171 teachers (88 Brazilian and 83 American) from multiple settings with the majority working for public systems. Overall, it seems that Brazilian and American teachers believe that a curriculum based on Freirean principles of education can be implemented in their schools, if ongoing education is provided. The majority of Brazilian teachers believe a curriculum change is necessary while half of the American teachers believe a curriculum change is needed and the other half seems to believe curriculum is adequate. Teachers explain that it is hard to implement a curriculum they believe to be most appropriate for students because the current curriculum is mandated by the school system or by national guidelines. The majority of Brazilian teachers and those American teachers who believed a curriculum change is necessary explained their rationale for change in terms of social justice, problem-solving, collective work, student-centered and context-based curriculum. American teachers, who believed that the curriculum is adequate, explained that they are satisfied with their student's achievements. They stated that their students are doing well on tests and are learning what is required. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Teacher Training|Education, Curriculum and Instruction|Education, Philosophy of

Recommended Citation

Gesser, Veronica, "Waking the sleeping giant: Beliefs of Brazilian and *American teachers concerning liberation curriculum" (2001). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3006856.