Waiting for the world to change

You probably have heard of the term Glocalization, which translates the idea of thinking globally and acting locally. It seems obvious, and it doesn’t seem something difficult to do. But yet we continue to find excuses not to do it.

Especially here in Brazil, our culture is one where we expect changes to come from someone above us. We don’t take responsibility for the things we can do to change the reality around us. We think that God is going to help us, that the new president is going to make me get a job, that the new minister of Education is going to raise the standard of our schools…

Compare two popular sayings that praise hard work, the one in Brazil and the equivalent in English. Here we say “Deus ajuda quem cedo madruga”. That is, if you get up early God will help you. In English it is “The early bird catches the worm”. The differences are clear: here we expect God to help us, even when you work hard. In English the responsibility is on you, you get up early and you will be able to accomplish more yourself, no extra help from anyone. This has nothing to do with having faith in God or not, especially because a lot of English speaking countries are very religious. It has to do with our attitude towards the environment around us. It has to do with our ability to take responsibility for our acts, and to understand that every little piece is part of a whole. That what we do in our community affects society as whole somehow.

In Education the case is exactly the same. We here in Brazil expect the national and state governments to give us the guidelines for a better education. We tend to see new curricula, new standards such as BNCC as the absolute bible for our Education. By doing so we tend to diminish our standards. BNCC is the beginning, not the ultimate goal. Following what’s in there will only make you and your school have the minimum educational requirements, nothing beyond that.

In terms of a second language it is even worse. If you follow only BNCC, you will not have English at Kindergarten or Primary levels, simply because there is no BNCC for a second language at those stages.

If you promote and practice high quality Education in your classes, at your school, chances are that you don’t need to change anything in your teaching – you will probably already be ahead of BNCC. The only thing you must do is know how you can show it to the community around you. You will be doing a much better service to society than simply throwing out everything you have been doing so far and starting from scratch, or from BNCC.

What about bilingual education? Does it cover BNCC? If you are having true bilingual education at your school, it surpasses BNCC by far. It is time now to check what you are having at your school, to see if it’s truly bilingual education or simply an enhanced foreign language course. And then again prepare to compare it with BNCC and show how you are beyond that to the families.

Be the change. Act locally. Do not surrender to the traditional, to the usual, to diminishing initiatives. And be sure that, if you do it, you will deliver much more to the community around you and to society as whole.

Carlos Henrique Trindade

Carlos Henrique Trindade has been in the ELT world for over 27 years and throughout this time he has worked in some of the main international publishers. Carlos is a specialist in Bilingual Education and has been implementing bilingual education programs in schools all over Brazil for the past five years. Carlos is currently the leader of Santillana's Group newest initiative: Educate Bilingual Program.

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