Partnerships that endure: Forging connections in Brazil
WHAT: The Brazil/Canada Knowledge Exchange is led by English, film and theatre professor Diana Brydon, Canada Research Chair in Globalization and Cultural Studies. This interdisciplinary partnership links universities and local teachers groups in Brazil and Canada for collaborative research that’s designed to foster transnational literacy.
HOW IT STARTED: Brydon’s colleagues in Brazil invited her to teach some short courses at their universities on post-colonial literature and theory. They found they had a lot to learn from one another and have collaborated ever since. Now their work encompasses several generations of scholars and teachers in Canada and across Brazil.
THE GOAL: To develop enduring partnerships between Canadians and Brazilians who have the shared mission of improving the quality of learning within the public educational system by zeroing in on how English is taught in both countries.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: “Critical and creative communication skills are increasingly important in globalizing contexts and they need to be made relevant to the interests of students in the many contexts in which they live,” says Brydon. “Both teachers and students are experiencing the joy of engaging in work that matters to them and is making a difference in their lives. They are gaining confidence in their skills and their ability to make a difference in the world.”
A MOMENT THAT MATTERED: “Seeing a Brazilian student work so hard she wore out the keyboard on a computer while here for four months, working day and night to achieve her goals, remains a lasting memory of the difference our collaboration makes,” Brydon says. “Our work shifts the focus of international engagement away from the global North ‘helping’ the global South toward recognizing how much we have to learn from one another.”
FUNDER: The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council