The Bread Houses Network (BHN) officially established partnership with Harvard-based Cultural Agents Initiative at Harvard University, founded by Dr. Doris Somer who developed the Pre-Texts Methodology for Engaged Learning.
In Brasilia, Brazil, between November 11th and 18th, Dr. Somer and Dr. Nadezhda Savova facilitated Pre-Texts a series of workshops within a two-year (2012-2014) National Project called “Agenda Education” coordinated by universities and government institutions in the capital. Pre-Texts trained educators and public officials from the capital Secretariat of Education to become facilitators, rather than “educator” or “instructor” in order to foment co-creative processes. Pre-Texts will be applied as a central tool in the curriculum in a pilot school in Brasilia, in the low-income area of Sol Nascente, the second biggest favela in Brazil.
The project is planned as a pilot project testing a new model of learning that offers a paradigm shift in democratizing the classroom and learning in general: turning the teacher in a facilitator who does not give information but lets the participants raise questions and interpret a text through various other art forms. It is an education for life, teaching not only analytical skills and self-esteem, but also citizenship values and civic culture.
The pilot project is planned to then be multiplied across schools in the capital Brasilia and at a national level across the country, and could also serve as a key good practice in the field of education to be exchanged as a ground-breaking good practice in education with other countries, particularly in 2014 when Brazil will be the home of the World Cup and thus the focus of major international attention. BHN is already planning strategies to initiate trainings in the Pre-Texts methods in Bulgaria with a focus on linking the schools to the chitalishte cultural centers and thus opening the schools, inspired by the Brazilian model of the “Open School Program“ that opens up the schools to the whole community as a community cultural center on evenings and weekends to engage the whole population around the value of questioning, learning, creativity, and cooperation.
The Agenda Education Project also plans the development of a whole community campaign to tackle various local issues related to education and community engagement with the lives of children. The methods for this community organizing strategy were taught by Dr. Ceasar MacDowell from MIT and his team in Engage the Power NGO that has been organizing what they call “Question Campaigns” around the world through a simple, but revolutionary method focused on the power of questioning.
PRE-FERMENT PRE-TEXTS METHODOLOGY
As a result of the collaboration between Dr. Nadezhda Savova with Dr. Doris Sommer from Harvard on her Pre-Texts Engaged Learning Methodology (www.pre-texts.org) and with the community organizing methods of Dr. Ceasar MacDowell, Director of the Center for Reflective Community Practice at MIT, Nadezhda has since then been developing the Pre-Ferment Pre-Texts methodologies for engaged learning. Pre-Ferment Pre-Texts involves two levels of target groups and expected results:
1) School students, for whom employing bread-making and bread puppets to analyze any texts from their school curriculum is a uniquely effective way to stimulate the students’ multiple inttelligencies by engaging simultaneously all their sense, in particular smell and taste
2) Community members of all ages, as a broader community organizing strategy: in large-scale community bread-making events, people of all ages develop “local problem-solving scripts” as they adapt a classical, at first seemingly unrelated text, to become a play solving pressing issues, through freshly-baked puppets that they make and, after the end of the performance, share and eat together as an empowering, tasty way to “digest” the social problems and gain trust that transformation is possible.