This is an excerpt from "Listening in an Educational Context", part 3 of "The Listening of Production" by Paula Chieffi, PhD of Stillpoint Spaces Zürich, published in June on Stillpoint Spaces' International Digital Publication.


The work I facilitated with administrators in the municipal network in a small city in the State of Minas Gerais was part of a bigger movement in Brazil that proposes to increase school hours and expand the pedagogical activities offered in the public school system. The sessions took place at the Fazenda do Pontal, a place that belonged to Carlos Drummond de Andrade's[2] family and that today is a public space that holds workshops, exhibitions, and other cultural and educational activities. The first core goal of working with administrators was to activate the conception of integral education - a model of education that considers all those involved in the process as subjects - in the municipal network. The second goal was to produce teaching guidelines for the implementation of a wholistic pedagogical program. Participants were also oriented in different manners to produce a fertile space for listening and exchanging technologies and knowledge related to education. This essay emphasizes the ways that listening was used as a way to enrich and consider the multiple elements of the educational process.


Listening in the Training Space or listening to the Training Space

The space where the sessions with the administrators took place is an emblematic place—a mining town in the state of Minas Gerais. Mining is a striking presence in the city – from the jobs it offers, the interferences in the landscape caused by the huge mine dumps that border the city and by the presence of huge craters, including one of the ancient landmarks of the city, Cauê Hill, which after mining, has become Cauê Hole.

Despite of this remarkable presence, with its intersecting concrete and symbolic landscapes, its absence in training sessions or in the school curriculum is noteworthy. If we understand the school curriculum as connected to the wider social production and intimately marked by cultural production, the lack of pedagogical problematization of the fact of being a mining town is disturbing.

Considering the precise space where the training sessions take place, the reason for this small deviation will be understood, since they happen in the old farm that belonged to the family of the poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade. In the year 1973, the main house of the Farm was dismantled to clear space for a dam for ore washing. Vale[3] kept it dismantled for thirty years. In 2004, the company rebuilt the house with the original pieces and “handed over to the community this important part of Drummond's childhood”. [4] Today, the Fazenda do Pontal is situated a few kilometers from its original location and overlooks the ore washing ponds or, simply, the waste.[5]

It is noteworthy the fact that the Fazenda do Pontal was delivered to the city thirty years after it gave way to ore washing. According to Suely Rolnik, this is the time it takes for a trauma of social dimensions to return and be elaborated. The time of a generation. On the other hand, it makes you wonder how long it takes to produce a silencing, understood from both cultural and curricular perspectives.

Read the rest of part 3 here: