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July 7, 2014

A Visit to Projeto Âncora

by pdranoff

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I arrived at Porvir through my uncle’s work with a school on the outskirts of São Paulo that encourages learning by doing. Projeto Âncora (which means “anchor”) is an experiment where students meet learning benchmarks by putting their questions to the test. Their educational model is focused on creating a stronger connection between what is taught in the classroom and real-world applications. As a part of my internship at Porvir, I am visiting schools around São Paulo that propose alternative education models. I want to learn about pedagogical styles that engage students in different ways than the traditional classroom model. My first visit was to Projeto Âncora. 

My visit to Âncora last week was refreshing and enlightening. I was able to experience an education model that is unlike traditional schooling, yet students seem even more engaged in what they are doing. In a project-based curriculum, students define their own learning goals and develop separate projects in order to accomplish them. This is very similar to RISD’s approach, as skills are taught through individual projects, and students must manage their activities according to priorities. This method also encourages collaboration, as students realize that many endeavors might require assistance—and also that other students might also be interested in learning the same skills. 

Âncora’s next step in its education model is to integrate more computer-based skills into the curriculum. In the world of education innovation, this is called “blended learning,” where students mix online resources with physical interactions and experiments. They are currently developing a website where students, educators and parents will have access to track the progress of each project. 

Something remarkable about Âncora is that even during their vacation, students wish to come to the school’s campus to continue doing research for their projects. Âncora has no tuition fee, and they offer invaluable resources to students who may otherwise not have access to schools. With this experience in hand, I am able to imagine the application of alternative education models in various situations. With schools like Âncora popping up all around the world, it is important to document experiences and learning outcomes in order to take each initiative to its full potential. For those opening new schools, documentation of existing projects such as this one is key to creating “unique but reproducible” experiences. 

Projeto Âncora is definitely a candidate for the 100+ list, which is in the works here at Porvir! 


Check out Projeto Âncora’s website HERE! 

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