Culture Revisited: Vygotsky's Ideas in Brazil
Elvira Souza Lima
This article discusses the confluence of the Vygotskian cultural-historical psychology with the Brazilian school of critical pedagogy and the experiences of alternative schooling in Brazil. It examines the present reform of the public school system in the city of Belo Horizonte and the role of some of Vygotsky's ideas in complementing and expanding the theoretical basis of critical pedagogy and illuminating the historical praxis of the struggle for equity in education. The Brazilian experience of alternative schooling, which already has a long tradition and a wealth of accumulated experience in the 20th century, challenges the traditional notions of school and the narrow views of literacy and learning that lead to the instrumentalization of schooling. Building upon that experience, critical pedagogy developed a comprehensive view of the educational process as one of development and liberation of the total human being and of education for social participation and democratic development. Vygotsky's notions on human development and education bring a new theoretical contribution to the Brazilian experience, which in turn can provide a new perspective for the reading of some of the key concepts of cultural-historical psychology.
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