Brazilian teachers highlight that work in learning circles must be supported by policy change

published 20 July 2023 updated 3 August 2023

The Teacher-Led Learning Circles for Formative Assessment (T3LFA) project continues to progress in Brazil, with the aim of providing teachers with the space to identify, test and develop formative assessment practices that respond to the unique learning needs of students in classrooms across the country.

The promising formative assessment practices identified by teachers in their circles in Brazil, as well as across the project’s six other countries, will eventually be shared with the global professional community in the form of an ALMA course that will help educators across the world improve students’ learning outcomes.

In Brazil, the project’s three learning circles having met four times and participants have engaged in two individual tutorials. These learning circles and tutorials have taken place remotely since participants reside across the country, teaching in a variety of schools that represent the diversity of the Brazilian context.

Despite the various educational contexts represented by teachers involved in the project’s learning circles in Brazil, teachers in all circles have identified a series of common challenges that need to be overcome so that positive and lasting change can occur in classrooms.

The challenges identified by teachers include inadequate working conditions, where excessive workloads limit the opportunities available to plan to deliver innovative formative assessment practices. These challenges also extend to having to meet rigid benchmarks and educational indexes that are based on the results of large-scale summative assessments, detracting from the space available to introduce and experiment with new formative assessment practices.

Despite this confluence of challenges, participants in all three circles in Brazil have found that learning circles can be spaces for discussion that results in the creation of formative assessment practices that are made by teachers, for teachers, to meet the unique needs of each student.

However, for the learning circles to spread more broadly across the country, teachers have expressed a need for a shift in public policy so that they are supported to use their leadership skills to autonomously decide what practices will work best for learners.

The need for policy change highlights the importance of the advocacy strand of the Teacher-Led Learning Circles for Formative Assessment (T3LFA) project, underscoring the significance of working in close collaboration with our member organisation in Brazil, Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores em Educação (CNTE), to conduct advocacy that will contribute to continuous professional learning and development for teachers across the country and improvements in working conditions.

Teachers’ participating in the project in Brazil will have another opportunity to express their hopes and desires for policy change as well as share examples of promising formative assessment practice when they come together for their first face-to-face meeting in Brasilia on the 25th and 26th of July 2023.

Want to find out more? Continue to keep up to date with the project in Brazil and across our six other project countries by visiting our dedicated project page.