At the invitation of longtime colleagues Fernanda Liberali, Cecelia Magalhaes and MuriloMocheta, the Institute’s pedagogical director Carrie Lobman spent ten days in São Paolo and Maringa, Brazil, introducing social therapeutic methodology to 225 therapists, special education teachers, public school teachers and psychologists. Lobman’s tour is the latest exchange in a blossoming partnership among fellow Vygotskians across the Americas. Says Lobman:
In both São Paolo and Maringa, we engaged in serious dialogue about Newman and Holzman’s ‘Revolutionary Vygotsky.’ I spoke on the topic of creating intimacy and the importance of supporting people to develop emotionally — new terrain for many.
Many were curious about the ‘zones of development’ that we’ve built in the U.S. and were heartened to learn about the partnerships we’ve built between people of all races and all walks of life.
In Maringa, where International Class 2009-10 alumnus Murilo Mocheta is a psychology professor at the local state university, Lobman was invited to present on Lev Vygotsky Revolutionary Scientist: Implications for Education and Youth Development. Here, a broad, multi-disciplinary grouping of 140 psychology, education and drama students and faculty attended — many new to the conversation. They had lots of questions about the Institute, New York’s development community and social therapeutics.
“Were you attacked in America for following a Russian psychologist?”
“How can middle class academics such as ourselves genuinely support poor communities without being condescending.”
In São Paulo, Fernanda Liberali and Cecelia Magalhaes (leaders of the LACE research group), invited Carrie to lead a week-long seminar entitled, Creating Intimacy with Students, Environment and Content: How to Make Learning Developmental, which attracted a similarly broader and diverse grouping of 50 students, faculty, and local practitioners from psychology, education and applied linguistics.
Lobman also visited two schools in the favelas (poor communities) and spoke with teachers there. She notes:
A teacher asked how we paid for the programs. I described how over many years we had created a powerful partnership between rich and poor. When I finished there was silence, and one of the teachers burst into tears. “It moves me that there are people in the world who care,” she said, “and that you have given them a way to care.”