Anyone discussing education needs to be clear about the specific contexts to which they refer. If they are giving advice, or planning a training programme, they also need to be equally clear about their objectives, and to make sure that these are relevant to the people they are addressing.
The reason for this is that the educational world - or worlds - involves a growing number of participants. Not just educationalists themselves, but employers, parents, political and organisational structures, and commercial organisations and suppliers. These have always been involved to some extent, but in a wider world where information and misinformation can spread so rapidly, many people do not have the time to question and evaluate the information and ‘facts’ they are exposed to.
This is why a stricture used in a Brazilian Ministry of Education document in one of its periodical reviews of the secondary school curriculum (across all subjects) is even more relevant today: ‘The learner is the starting point’.
Taking this seemingly simple statement as one’s own starting point, and applying it to whatever context one is working in, or addressing, helps to select and frame those objectives which will be relevant to the learner - and to teachers.
Susan Holden has a long and varied experience as a teacher, teacher trainer, magazine editor, publisher and author, including the Portfolio series and Encounters 1-4 (both Macmillan do Brasil). She is now based in Scotland, where she runs a small publishing and materials development company. She has worked with colleagues in Brazil over the last 20 years, and is delighted to be back again.