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How can students impact the life of adults who are illiterate or lacking formal education?

Projeto Aprender

São Paulo, Brazil
Led by secondary school students from Pueri Domus Bilingual School, Projeto Aprender offers Portuguese, mathematics, social studies, science and English lessons to adults who have not finished formal education. At the end of the course, students can take a national exam in order to have a formal secondary school certification.
Introduction

What is Projeto Aprender?

Deivis Pothin, Principal
“Projeto Aprender helps students develop their leadership skills and gives them the opportunity to have an immediate impact in the community.”

Deivis Pothin, Principal

What we do?

Projeto Aprender offers Portuguese, mathematics, social studies, science and English lessons. The two-hour lessons happen four times week, totalling an eight-hour weekly schedule. At the end of the course, students can take a national exam in order to have a formal secondary school certification. 

Why we do it?

How would the life of an illiterate adult be in society nowadays? What will be the difficulties faced in their daily life? Many of the Projeto Aprender students do not have a bank account, cannot catch a bus independently or follow a cake recipe. Offering formal education to adults means providing them with tools to be empowered to take an active place in their community. 

With the aim to have a fairer society where all people have equal access to education, Projeto Aprender was created by a group of Secondary School students from Pueri Domus Bilingual School, in São Paulo, Brazil. We believe in the exchange of experiences that promotes meaningful and life-changing learning moments. Inspired by the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, and quoting his own words, we believe that “there is no knowing more or knowing less, there are different types of knowing.”

The most fascinating feature of Projeto Aprender is how tens of teenagers and young adults (current and former students) give up their time to reach out to others. This is very rewarding to the school as we can see how these students can have an immediate impact in their local community by being active citizens, sharing what they have learned throughout their school life and showing commitment to Unesco's Sustainable Development Goal for Quality Education worldwide. 

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Innovation Overview
14 - 18
Age Group
100
Children/Users
1
Country
2004
Established
Not-for-profit
Organisation
157
Views
Tips for implementation
First and foremost it is essential that the volunteers listen to what their community needs and then plan accordingly to help them achieve their dreams. See below some steps on how to implement a similar project in your locality.
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See this innovation in action

Projeto Aprender changing lives
Projeto Aprender (@projetoaprender) • Instagram photos and videos
The 4th Training meeting of the project, gathering more than 50 teenagers who act as volunteers at Projeto Aprender
Instituto SEB supports Projeto Aprender
Instituto Cacau Show supports Projeto Aprender
In the last decade, Brazil has lost a third of the adult education classes (in Portuguese).

Milestones

Achievements & Awards

Map

Spread of the innovation

Steps

Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

01
What are the needs and dreams of your local community?
Define who will benefit from these lessons and how the volunteers can help them achieve what their dreams in terms of education.
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02
How will help the community achieve their dreams?
Structure the course: what subjects will be taught? What are the learning objectives? Where will the lessons take place? How often and what time? Who will volunteer?
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03
Provide training
Don't forget to train the volunteers on how to plan lessons, teach and assess their students' learning.
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04
Advertise the classes and recruit students
With your audience in mind, advertise the classes in the places where your prospective students might be: job center, adult learning community, libraries, etc. You could also begin with the maintenance / cleaning staff of your own school.
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05
Start teaching
Assess the students' previous knowledge, aims and organise the classes. Engage the volunteers in a continual evaluation cycle of how the students are achieving their objectives.
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