The domestication of primary school teaching : a Brazilian study case
This thesis explores the ways in which the work of women teachers in primary schools in one region of Brazil has been re-defined by agents within the school itself. The investigation was pursued through semi-structured interviews with 48 women teachers and 14 school managers working mainly in poor communities. It reflects the experiences of teachers from Municipal schools in one of the developed cities: Belo Horizonte. Informal talks with teachers involved in activities outside classroom, other school staff such as secretaries and door-keepers, and parents encountered at the school entrance (some parents agreed to participate in tape-recorded interviews) also provided useful information for the study. Among the secondary• material collected during the field work were visual and written didactic texts used inside schools, the school files relating to discipline problems between pupils/parents and teachers, and the school files of "Colegiado" meetings. Also inside schools, observations were made of school meetings with parents; pedagogical meetings and a extraschool activities such as paren& and pupils' preparation for a party and showing of a school video. A search of written material from local newspapers archived by the Teachers' Union related to teachers was conducted. Visits to, and contacts with, the Municipal Secretary of Education provided material on extra-school administration. Study at the local University, with its extensive archive of recent studies on the history and conditions of work of women teachers in Brazil, in the State of Minas Gerais and specifically in the Municipal schools of Belo Horizonte,was a rich source of academic material for this study. It is suggested that the domestication of teachers' roles has been promoted within schools by teachers, the school managers and others involved in school life (parents, pupils and other school staff). This has led to a considerable increase in the number of roles schools and teachers are required to fulfil in communities with serious economic and social limitations. In a society where state social support is insufficient, schools provide palliative solutions for a range of needs. However, as schools become increasingly involved in business other than formal education, teachers' roles have changed and thus are judged through a gendered filter iii which stresses femininity over professionalism. Women's acceptance of poor working conditions and their involvement in the immediate social problems of pupils and local communities has been beneficial for the Brazilian and State governments, as well as for the local community. However, there have been negative consequences for the development of better ways to teach children from these communities and the status and socio-economic position of teachers themselves. The domestication of the roles of women in teaching has thus had long-term negative consequences for the education of the poor.