Lead the Change Interview with Emerson Rolkouski

Emerson Rolkouski graduated from the Federal University of Paraná in 2002 with a degree in Mathematics. He earned a Master’s degree in Education and a Doctorate in Mathematics from the State University of São Paulo – Rio Claro in 2006. Professor Rolkouski has experience teaching at the elementary school level and is a professor in the Federal University of Paraná, in Curitiba, Brazil, where he develops and researches public policies, teacher training, oral history, and numeracy. Professor Rolkouski currently coordinates the National Pact for Literacy (Pacto Nacional pela Alfabetização na Idade Certa—PNAIC) in Brazil and was the lead editor and creator in PNAIC.

In this interview, part of the Lead the Change Series of the American Educational Research Association Educational Change Special Interest Group, Rolkouski shares his perspectives on the role of public education, teacher support, and teacher education in Brazil. As Rolkouski puts it:

Brazil is a large country with more than two hundred million people including the population in Brazil’s remote areas. There is incredible diversity in Brazil due to its long history of drawing immigrants and people from around the globe. We have more than two hundred native Indian nations. The diversity makes Brazil a great country and offers us challenges for teaching to all populations. One of our biggest challenges is a lack of a national teacher training system, and in turn, some devaluation of the teaching profession. In this context, there lies opportunity for public policy to engage in national large-scale teacher training that works to alleviate the inequalities in opportunity among some student populations. In 2012, the Brazilian government has collaborated with several public universities to create the National Pact for Literacy (Pacto Nacional pela
Alfabetização na Idade Certa—PNAIC). The objective of PNAIC was to create a network
for and of primary school teachers. To reach all 300 thousand elementary teachers in Brazil, university Professors were paired up with 25 tutors each working with groups of 25 teachers on specific didactical materials. The intention of this work structure was to increase the quality of literacy training for our educators. Over time, this policy aims to increase educational opportunity for all students.

This Lead the Change interview appears as part of a series that features experts from around the globe, highlights promising research and practice, and offers expert insight on small- and large-scale educational change. Recently Lead the Change has also interviewed Izhar Oplatka.

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