17 October 2022

Brazilian vision of education – socioemotional skills in the forefront

Author: Marcin Sakowicz


The core of the Brazilian curriculum fosters ten general competences that contribute to the holistic formation and education of children. Not only does the new approach to education aim to ensure that all students develop basic cognitive skills but it also promotes the acquisition of skills needed to solve complex everyday problems. Therefore, its remarkable feature is to promote social and emotional skills.

Socio-emotional turn in curriculum

The Common Core for Teaching Fundamentals (Base Nacional Comum Curricular – BNCC) is Brazil’s first mandatory national curriculum standard specifying what a child needs to learn in order to become an emotionally and socially competent adult. BNCC establishes that throughout the period of compulsory education (kindergarten, elementary and high school) all pedagogical decisions must be oriented towards the development of competences that constitute the essential education  each student is entitled to receive, regardless of the place where they live and study. In BNCC, the socio-emotional aspect of learner development is presented in all ten general competencies, even if explicitly so only in the three presented in Figure 1[1].

Self-knowledge and self-care  To know, appreciate and care for one’s physical and emotional health, to understand others in their diversity, to recognize one’s emotions and those of others, with self-awareness and the ability to  regulate them.
Empathy and cooperation  To exercise empathy, dialogue, conflict resolution and cooperation, to respect others and their human rights as well as promote such approach, to welcome and value the diversity of individuals and social groups, their knowledge, identities, cultures and potentialities, without prejudice of any kind.
Responsibility and citizenship  To act personally and collectively with autonomy, responsibility, flexibility, resilience and determination, making decisions based on ethical, democratic, inclusive, sustainable and solidary principles.
Source: Elaborated on the basis of Common Core for Teaching Fundamentals (Base Nacional Comum Curricular – BNCC), Ministry of Education, Brazil and CANETTIERI, Marina Kurotusch; PARANAHYBA, Jordana de Castro Balduino; SANTOS, Soraya Vieira. Socioemotional abilities: from BNCC to classrooms. Educ. Form.,Fortaleza, v. 6, n. 2, e4406, 2021.
Available at: https://revistas.uece.br/index.php/redufor/article/view/4406

The importance of the socio-emotional part of the curriculum

According to international research, the well-being of children is an important driving force in the process of learning[2]. Results from the survey suggest that improving social and emotional skills could be a way to help students enjoy better social relations in school and vice versa. Children are able to learn more successfully when the classroom environment is akin to home environment. Furthermore, not only are socio-emotional skills important for the individual to build good relationships but they are also crucial in building communities, citizenship, social harmony, and inclusion. This means providing children with a socio-emotional setting helps to promote growth in all aspects of their development.

A school picture from Brazil

HTT researchers in Brazil encountered such a school. One of the surveyed educational institutions paints a picture of an inclusive space, a place filled with joy, enthusiasm, facilitating the discovery and construction of knowledge. The school mission states as follows: “to create a more humanized world, grounded in the sense of cooperation, mutual help, solidarity and justice, made up of critically thinking human beings. More than memorizing concepts and rules, our children learn to think autonomously”. The HTT research findings prove that an integrated approach to education benefits the whole school microcosmos. Within this educational unit, all groups (children, teachers and parents) think highly of the school as a community and as a physical environment.

School community as a big family

Parents of children attending the surveyed school perceive the school community as a big family. They listen to each other and try to solve problems together. Students and teachers alike enjoy a caring, harmonious and respectful relationship. Students feel safe and taken care of.In the words of one of the children:  “School means a place for you to learn, to be happy, to meet new friends. Many things, a new world, truth, and good things and who you are too.”  Finally, one of the teachers expressed a very emotional attitude to their workplace: “The school is my second family. It is my warmth and my home. I spend most of my time here. I come home to eat, sleep, and study. I call my students my children and my family”.

However, many other schools in Brazil and around the world still need adaptation as well as guidelines, cooperation and support in order to turn the principles of BNCC into working schemes. HTT with its mission of holistic education through the use of Interdisciplinary Subject is determined to foster the creation of new learning environments where all children can thrive. We strongly believe that any steps toward enhancing the happiness and well-being of learners are steps forward towards the ultimate goal of building a happier and more caring society.

[1] BNCC 10 competencies: 1.Knowledge, 2,Scientific, Critical and Creative thinking, 3.Cultural Repertoire, 4.Digital Culture, 5.Communication, 6.Work and life project, 7.Argumentation, 8.Self-knowledge and self-care, 9.Empathy and cooperation, 10. Responsibility and citizenship.

[2] OECD (2021), Beyond Academic Learning: First Results from the Survey of Social and Emotional Skills, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/92a11084-en.