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Revista Brasileira de Educação Especial

Print version ISSN 1413-6538On-line version ISSN 1980-5470

Rev. bras. educ. espec. vol.25 no.2 Bauru Apr./June 2019  Epub June 13, 2019 

Literature Review

Teacher Education for Special Education - Proposals by Helena Antipoff and her Collaborators in Fazenda do Rosário in the 1960’S2

Maria de Fátima Pio CASSEMIRO3

Regina Helena de Freitas CAMPOS4

3Psychologist, PhD in Education from Faculty of Education, Federal University of Minas Gerais. Belo Horizonte/MG - Brazil. ORCID:

4Psychologist, PhD in Education from Stanford University, USA. Professor of Educational Psychology at the Faculty of Education, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte/MG - Brazil. ORCID:


Based on documents from the Helena Antipoff Documentation and Research Center, a case study is presented of the “2nd Emendative Teaching Summer Course for teachers of special classes and establishments of exceptional children” held in 1962 at the Instituto Superior de Educação Rural (ISER) at Fazenda do Rosário, Ibirité, Minas Gerais, Brazil, an initiative of the Pestalozzi Society of Minas Gerais, coordinated by the educator Helena Antipoff (1892-1974), with the participation of her local collaborators and invited teachers from São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The descriptive historical methodology was used to analyze the sources, focusing on the objectives of the Course, its organization and theoretical and technical perspectives, within the context of the history of Special Education. Results show that the Course, with a duration of one month (26 subjects and 215 class hours), was attended by 76 teachers, from nine Brazilian states. Helena Antipoff and her associates, drawing on principles of the Genevan Active School, emphasized that student’s knowledge and understanding by teachers were prerequisites for the success of education. Systematic observation was the sure way to know the needs and interests of the learner and to construct appropriate pedagogical tools for each one. The relationship between theory and practice was prioritized, the students/teachers had the opportunity to learn by experiencing techniques they would use with their future students. Combining observation and the know-how acquired in practice fostered the possibility for educators to construct strategies and alternative ways of solving student’s learning problems.

KEYWORDS: Special Education; Teacher education; Helena Antipoff; Genevan Active School

1 Introduction

This paper presents results of research carried out on the archives of the Helena Antipoff Documentation and Research Center, with focus on the proposal of teacher education for the so - called “Emendative Education”, that is, the education of individuals with disabilities. This is a case study of the “2nd Emendative Teaching Summer Course for teachers of special classes and establishments of exceptional children” held in 1962 at the Instituto Superior de Educação Rural (ISER), Fazenda do Rosário, Ibirité, Minas Gerais, Brazil, by initiative of the Pestalozzi Society of Minas Gerais. The Course was coordinated by the psychologist and educator Helena Antipoff (1892-1974), a pioneer in the study of exceptionality and mental disability, and creator of relevant institutions in the area of Special Education in Brazil. Several of her closest collaborators, educators and physicians, as well as invited teachers, from São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, participated in her organization, with significant experience in Higher Education and research in Psychology and Educational Sciences.

The Course can be considered an example of the contribution of the Pestalozzi Society from Minas Gerais to the field of studies of the Psychology of Exceptional and Special Education in Brazil, in the 1960’s, when Fazenda do Rosário became a reference in these areas in the country. The study of its realization helps to understand the proposals for Special Education that circulated at the time from the work developed in Rosário, from a democratic and humanist perspective5.

The preoccupation with the education of the individuals considered “abnormal” arose with the extension of the systems of free public education in the democratic European countries and North America, from the end of the 19th century. The social demand for public education, coupled with the need to educate the entire population in a common cultural pattern, is the terrain on which individual differences in school learning rhythms and capacities are perceived more acutely. The historically referred to retarded child and levels of intelligence and aptitude became objects of study of Psychiatry and nascent scientific Psychology. Abnormalities, formerly relegated to mentally ill or isolated in family homes, began to attend public schools, where special rooms were organized to accommodate them (Januzzi, 2012). At that time, for example, the physician and psychologist Édouard Claparède (1873-1940) founded the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute of Educational Sciences in Geneva, Switzerland, which became one of the most dynamic centers of study in the construction of modern sciences of education, and where he defended the idea of a “school under measure”, for the reception of individual differences in the educational process (Hofstetter, 2010; Ruchat, 2003).

With the development of Science and Education, the field of studies and specific educational practices for the so-called “abnormal” childhood, later called “exceptional” in the North American and Brazilian strands, is strengthened. The term “exceptional” arises from the need to construct a system of classification of individual differences in intelligence and aptitudes. The extremes of the “normal curve”, both the underachievers and the gifted, would be the object of the new science of the education of the exceptional. Researchers and educators in various countries developed and promoted the circulation of advanced theories on the cognitive and socio-affective development of the human being and invented the scales of measurement of intellectual abilities for the evaluation of learning capacities in school-age children, proposing new procedures for Special Education (Avanzini, 1999; Campos, 2012; Duarte, 2017; Nicolas, Andrieu, Croizet, Sanitioso, & Burman, 2013; Prestes & Tunes, 2018; Tyack, 1974).

In Brazil, with the educational reforms of the 1920s, there was a gradual expansion of care for the people with disabilities. In several states of the federation, and with the creation of the Pestalozzi Societies of Minas Gerais, in 1932, and Pestalozzi Societies in Brazil, in 1945, in Rio de Janeiro, several initiatives were undertaken aiming at the integration of individuals considered abnormal, retarded (which came to be called exceptional at that time) to the educational system (Cassemiro, 2018).

In Minas Gerais, specifically, three periods can be identified in the institutionalization of Special Education: between 1930 and 1950, there is the expansion of special classes in the public school system. In the 1950s, schools specializing in the education of the exceptional were expanded. From the 1990s, the movement for inclusive education began, with the exceptionally progressive ones being welcomed in common schools (Borges & Campos, 2018). The 2nd Emendative Teaching Course for teachers of special classes and establishments of exceptional children, object of this study, documents an important chapter of this history, reporting how educators were trained for the area in the early 1960s, when legal regulation of Emendative Education in Brazil began.

2 Helena Antipoff, the Psychology of Exceptional and Special Education

Helena Antipoff exerted a strong influence on the organization of special classes and institutions specializing in the education of the exceptional in Brazil. The orientation of her work was related to the training obtained by the educator in Europe, especially in Paris, as a trainee in 1911, in the Laboratory of Psychology and Experimental Pedagogy installed by the psychologist Alfred Binet (1857-1911) and by the psychiatrist Théodore Simon (1873 -1961) in Paris, and as a student of the first class of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute in Geneva. This training was later completed with experience in education and psychological and psychosocial care for abandoned and socially at-risk children in revolutionary Russia, between 1917 and 1924. Later, Antipoff returned to Geneva and worked as Claparède’s assistant at the Rousseau Institute, then integrated with the University of Geneva between 1926 and 1929, and was then invited to work at the School for the Improvement of Teachers in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

In the specific case of Special Education, Antipoff was mainly guided by the guidelines of the Genevan Active School, represented in the works of Claparède and Alice Descoeudres (1877-1963) (Claparède, 1926; Descoeudres, 1968). She recommended respect to the child’s nature by focusing on the spontaneous interest and activity of the learner. This orientation was complemented by the concern for the rights of the child expressed in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child adopted by the League of Nations in Geneva in 1924 and by the sensitivity to the local culture and the social context in which educational activities were carried out, inspired by experience in Soviet Russia (Borges, 2015; Campos, 2012).

Born in Grodno, Russia, Antipoff receives a teaching license in St. Petersburg. In 1909, she moved with her mother and two sisters to Paris to go to Medical School. In 1911, she left for England, where, among other activities, she came across the Blackheath School, an institution for difficult boys with problems in their studies. Children and adolescents were internalized and many had neurological and restlessness problems. She became interested in the students: who they were and what they felt. Through the works they produced, she considered that some were talented. This experience called Helena Antipoff’s attention to inquiries and questions: she wondered what Science would be able to help those children (D. Antipoff, 1975). Returning to Paris, she participated in research on the mental development of schoolchildren, who subsidized the invention of the first intelligence scales. She then moved to Geneva for the Education Sciences course. She studied Child Psychology and Experimental Psychology (under the guidance of Claparède), Pathology and clinic of the abnormal (with Doctor François Naville) and Psychology and Education of the abnormal, with Professor Alice Descoeudres, a well-known expert in these areas at the time6.

In 1929, the psychologist was hired by the Minas Gerais government, in Brazil, to teach Psychology (especially Experimental Psychology and Child Psychology) and to run the Psychology Laboratory at the School of Teacher Improvement newly created in Belo Horizonte, as part of the reform of the teaching then carried out. As established in her contract, she devoted herself to research on the mental and psychosocial development of the children from Minas Gerais and on the pedagogical functioning of local public schools.

With the knowledge obtained in these surveys, Antipoff proposed the creation of treatment and education services for children with disabilities who were outside the school system. These services would be provided by physicians and educators linked to the Pestalozzi Society of Minas Gerais, in special classes, in public schools, or in a medical-pedagogical office installed for the purpose of providing education and promoting the professionalization of exceptional children considered to be educable. In the following years, the Pestalozzi Society supported an initiative of the Minas Gerais government of the creation of the Pestalozzi Institute of Belo Horizonte, aiming at “centralizing, executing and guiding the work related to mentally handicapped children domiciled in the State of Minas Gerais” (Instituto Pestalozzi, 1933). From 1940, its operations expanded with the acquisition of Fazenda do Rosário, a rural property located in the municipality of Ibirité, on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte. Helena Antipoff explained the reasons that led Pestalozzi to this initiative:

In 1939, the first grade of the Pestalozzi Institute students finished. Under the pressure of the need to assist these children, who were neither in a position to continue their studies in other establishments, nor to be employed in professional occupations, the Pestalozzi Society decided to acquire a rural property and install a farm school for misfit and exceptional children (D. Antipoff, 1975, p. 146).

In the following years, Rosário started gradually housing several educational institutions, becoming what Helena Antipoff called a “rural city”, where boarding schools for exceptional boys and girls were located, a primary school, João Pinheiro Agricultural Club, an Institute of Emendative Education, a Rural Normal School7 and the Instituto Superior de Educação Rural (ISER), among other units (H. Antipoff, 1992).

ISER was created through Decree No. 4,830, dated December 12, 1955, with the following motivation:

The Governor of the State of Minas Gerais, using his duties and, considering that on the initiative of the State Government, in cooperation with the Pestalozzi Society, has already been operating, on a regimental basis, at Fazenda do Rosario, a higher education body, aimed at research, guidance and specialization in the subject of Rural Education. Considering the great value to the State and to Brazil of the existence of such an enterprise to meet the cultural needs of rural populations.

Regarding the term “exceptional”, Helena Antipoff and Áurea Nardelli, in an unpublished document, state that:

The term exceptional is interpreted to include the following types: the mentally disabled, all children physically impaired, the emotionally maladjusted, as well as the gifted children; in short, all those that require special consideration in the home, at school, and in society (H. Antipoff, & Nardelli, n.d.).

In the same document, the authors clarify that Helena Antipoff did not create the term, but adopted the American terminology (exceptional children).

3 Method and sources

For this research, unpublished sources of Helena Antipoff’s Memorial, located at the Helena Antipoff Foundation, in Ibirité, Minas Gerais, and in the archives of the Helena Antipoff Documentation and Research Center, at the Central Library of the Federal University of Minas Gerais. We also analyzed publications such as the Bulletins of Fazenda do Rosario, from the Pestalozzi Society of Minas Gerais, from the Documentation and Research Center itself, and volume III from the Collection of Written Works by Helena Antipoff (Centro de Documentação e Pesquisa Helena Antipoff, 1992). It is therefore a qualitative, documentary research, in which we report the history and explore the theoretical and technical perspectives that informed the activities of the Course on focus.

According to Goddy (1995, p. 23), “in documentary research, three aspects deserve special attention on the part of the researcher: the choice of documents, access to them and their analysis”. For analysis of the documents, we will use the descriptive method, research modality whose main objective is to describe, analyze or verify the relations between facts and phenomena (variables), that is, to know what, with whom, how and the intensity of the phenomenon in study (Fernandes & Gomes, 2003).

In the collections consulted, we found various types of educational events related to the Emendative Education: courses, meetings, seminars, meetings-courses, task forces and educational meetings. The courses of Emendative Education were divided into two types: Extensive course (lasting between four and eight months) and Summer course, lasting 15 or 30 days. These formative activities were carried out at ISER, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro (at the time called the State of Guanabara) and in São Paulo (Boletim da Sociedade Pestalozzi do Brasil, 1965). Related to these events, we identified: collective journals filled out by students and teachers; individual notebooks; student activity reports; lecture reports; student work; copies of lectures conducted by teachers as well as documents related to the organization of the courses. The largest number were related to the 2nd Emendative Education Course, held between January 10 and February 10, 1962, thus determining the focus of the research.

Next, we will describe each of the previously unpublished sources used in the research:

3.1 Segundo Curso de Ensino Emendativo para professores de Classes especiais e Estabelecimentos de crianças excepcionais8 (ISER, n.d.)

The document presents a history and report of the 2nd Emendative Teaching Course for teachers of special classes and establishments of exceptional children, held at Instituto Superior de Educação Rural, at Fazenda do Rosário, from January 10 to February 10, 1962. It reports that the course had been suggested by the Statutory Revision Commission of the Pestalozzi Society of Minas Gerais, and that resources from the Education and Rehabilitation of the Mentally Ill Campaign had been used to pay teachers and scholarships to students.9 The Course was regulated by Ordinance No. 168/61, of November 30, 1961, of the Minas Gerais State Secretariat of Education, and according to the Ordinance, it was justified in view that classes had been created that year in a large number of school groups in the State. These classes would be “governed by the licensed teachers, as a rule with no special preparation for such a complex task - teaching and adjustment of pupils who do not learn under common conditions of study” (ISER, n.d., p. 3).

Two classes were offered with 35 fellows each and a demonstration class was established with 15 children with disabilities. Twenty scholarships were reserved for candidates from other states, who were staying in the ISER itself. According to the report, 76 female teachers-students, all women, mostly from schools located in the State of Minas Gerais, attended the course. Other students, indicated by Pestalozzi Society of Rio de Janeiro or other institutions, came from special education schools located in 9 states of the Brazilian federation (Acre, Bahia, Espírito Santo, Guanabara, Maranhão, Pará, Piauí, Rio Grande do Sul and São Paulo).

3.2 Cadernetas (Notebooks)

These are small notebooks of 14 by 10 cm, with about 50 pages, filled individually by each student along the Courses offered in Rosário. The procedure was intended to record experiences and learnings, to provide indications about what was achieved and possible improvements to be implemented (Figure 1).

Source: Santos (1964).

Figure 1 Notebook, Manuscript. Helena Antipoff Documentation and Research Center, Helena Antipoff Foundation, Ibirité, MG. 

The general itinerary proposed by the institution for the composition of the notebooks included information about the Course, identification of the student, level of education, years of teaching and experience with exceptional students. Students should also place their ISER impressions and evaluate the course (classes, activities and practical exercises), information about what they found to be better or worse in the Course, suggestions for the improvement of future courses, publications and material received. In the 2nd Course of Education notebooks, we verified the diversity of specializations presented, evidencing that the course offered a truly differentiated proposal, that is, even those teachers with several specialization courses came to ISER to learn about the Emendative Education.

3.3 Do regime de vida, de estudos, duração e horários do Curso10 (n.d.).

The document analyzes the testimonies of students, and discusses, among other issues, the intense workload of the Course. According to the authors, “a very common complaint referred to the intensity of the course and the lack of recreation such as free time”. However, they justify the importance that courses should be done in this way:

Actually, the courses at the Fazenda do Rosário, whether the summer course or the school year course, are characterized by an intensive work regime, both in daily and weekly hours (…). The studies are varied: theoretical and “sitting” classes, alternate with practical activities in demonstration classes, in workshops, “little farm”, outdoors, etc. Hours are reserved for reading and individual or group study, and there is also free time (Do regime de vida..., n.d.).

Source: Helena Antipoff Documentation and Research Center, Helena Antipoff Foundation, Ibirité, Minas Gerais.

Figure 2 Do regime de vida, de estudos, duração e horários do Curso (n.d.).  

3.4 Relatório das atividades do grupo 511 (1962). Helena Antipoff Documentation and Research Center, Helena Antipoff Foundation, Ibirité, Minas Gerais.

In order to carry out the activities proposed by the Course organizers, the students were organized into groups. In this Report, group 5 presented a daily summary of the activities carried out between January 10 and February 8, 1962.

The activities began with the reading of the Internal Regulation of the Course and distribution of readings. One of the most appreciated activities was on the Little Farm, where each group received their land lot (20 m2) and a contract to be signed with the Agricultural Club of ISER. The planned activity for the Little Farm would be, with the help of ISER’s technical team, to prepare the soil, plant seedlings and monitor their development. The Little Farm should function as a “laboratory” of the natural sciences, also teaching scientific, legal, social and economic aspects of agricultural work. The idea was to integrate the various school subjects into this activity, in the style of the Active School. In the words of Geni de Oliveira, president of the Agricultural Club of ISER in 1960, “it is an active, integral education school that better prepares man for independent living, at the same time prepares for living in society” (Oliveira, 1960).

The Group 5 contacts with theoretical perspectives on Emendative Teaching included the reading of the following works: Crianças excepcionais e sua educação familiar (Exceptional children and their family education) (S. Kirk, Karnes, & W. Kirk, 1960), Os 3 R do retardado (The 3 Rs of the retarded), by the National Association for Retarded Children, translated by the Association of Parents and Friends of the Exceptional (APAE) (Chamberlain & Moss, 1956) and the text about “Work Group”, published by the Brazilian-American Assistance Program for Elementary Education (Programa de Assistência Brasileiro-Americana ao Ensino Elementar [PABAEE])12. The theoretical teaching was complemented by the study of anamnesis techniques used in the Pestalozzi Society’s Medical-Pedagogical Office, techniques for observing children in different activities, visual and auditory acuity tests, phonatory exercises, etc.

At the end of the Course, the student’s practical work was carried out (reading sheets, observation sheets, Little Farm journals, manual work - artistic and craft work.

3.5 Apresentação de trabalhos13 (n.d.), Helena Antipoff Documentation and Research Center, Helena Antipoff Foundation, Ibirité, MG. (several)

They are documents that list the works carried out by the students during the Course and exhibited collectively at the end of the event (Figure 3). They detail how they fulfilled the activities of the Course. This source, besides detailing the richness of the program offered, allowed access to the contents of the classes of the different teachers. Through these reports we were still able to fill in some gaps with respect to the names of teachers and courses offered that did not appear on the official timetable.

Source: Helena Antipoff Documentation and Research Center, Helena Antipoff Foundation, Ibirité, Minas Gerais.

Figure 3 Work presentation. 1962. 

About the activities of Professor Helena Antipoff in the Course, we have different references, as she was responsible for the Little Farm project, with 16 classes, among others:

I profited a lot with the knowledge acquired in the Little Farm. Although I spent my childhood on a farm, having a little practice in agriculture, only now, after this short acquaintance with D. Helena Antipoff, I learned to notice details such as: songbirds, plant synesthesia, etc., etc. I’m sorry to have met her in person so late, I would not have lost so much time in my life (Castro, 1962).

In the timetable, we found Teacher Antipoff with 11 classes without specific content. According to some notebooks, they were about manual work: “broom and paper box, rubbish bin moulds” (Alkimin, 1962). She also promoted excursions with the female teachers:

visit to the Benjamim Guimarães Foundation with Helena Antipoff - aimed at the recovery of children and adults with orthopedic defects (...). From the Foundation we went to the Zoo, and then visited the Historical Museum, national historical and artistic heritage (Souza, 1962).

3.6 Regulamento Interno dos Cursos do ISER e Recomendações14 (1960).

This is a four-page typewritten document composed of 15 items that established the ISER’s detailed criteria for student selection and registration, dormitory, bath and study functioning, practical activities for all students to attend (agricultural, artisanal and artistic activities, home economics, nursing, didactics, research, elaboration of “Diaries”).

It also deals with the use of the library, the custody of school objects, didactic material, social life, student body leaving, recreation activities, participation in popular and religious parties. Each student should, at the end of the Course, present an individual monograph and their individual notebook with notes and evaluations about the course. Also, councils and commissions would be organized in due time for the planning and resolution of the daily questions of the Courses.

4 Results: Theoretical Perspectives on Emendative Education which Animated the ISER Team

Manuscript of the time (1963) elaborated by Helena Antipoff and two of her collaborators (psychologist Yolanda Martins and Professor Maria das Dores Portello, both technicians of the Secretary of Education of the State of Minas Gerais) on “Emendative Education and its foundations” highlights the theoretical perspective that animated the work of the team in relation to this area (H. Antipoff, Martins, & Portilho, 1963).

The manuscript states that “the object of the emendative education is the exceptional minor”. The category includes individuals who are “mentally disabled, physically impaired, emotionally maladjusted, and highly gifted”. What unites all these people is the fact that “they require special consideration at home, at school and in society” (H. Antipoff, Martins, & Portilho, 1963, p. 1). The authors point out that the concern over educating these children stems from the educators’ awareness of “the right of every child to be assisted in his/her development”, coming from both the advent of Christianity and modern democracies, when all are considered equal before the law, and no exceptions to this constitutional precept are allowed:

If education is a right for all, the exceptional are not excluded from it. Educators are therefore guided by the principle that every child deserves their attention and care. The educational work is the same, with the exceptional minor there is only difference of methods and processes because they are children who present a “deficit” in their development and physical, emotional, and social adjustment (H. Antipoff, Martins, & Portilho, 1963, p. 1).

By adopting a clearly inclusive posture, the authors respond to possible critical questioning that a certain privilege was being granted to the exceptional, when compared to normal children. They argue that the exceptional who are not cared for properly can bring serious problems for families and for society itself, which “will pay a very high price for not having attended to them in childhood”. For this reason, they consider that in a democratic country it is only fair that everyone should enjoy the official education system, and that, when this is not possible, that the public power collaborate in the maintenance of private institutions that, for their own account, “could not solve the problem of such a difficult solution from a technical and economic point of view” (H. Antipoff, Martins, & Portilho, 1963, p. 1).

From the point of view of educational theory, the document recommends that the emendative teaching should be based on scientific knowledge of the child, produced by Biology, Medicine, Sociology and Psychology, sciences that deal with research on the individual characteristics of the child and their adaptation to the physical and social environment. They then enumerate a series of characteristics of the emendative teaching that seem to emerge directly from the perspective of the Genevan Active School: the organization of educational activities according to children’s needs and interests, and the student’s own activity; the importance of sensory education and intuitive teaching, continually exercising the senses in order to learn the look, the listening, the touch; focus on concrete issues and immediate and tangible outcomes of actions; the individualization of education and the quest to integrate the student into society in jobs appropriate to their characteristics.

In the training of the specialized teacher, the document recommends that it should be done at the postgraduate level, that is, at the time, after the end of the Normal School Course. This specialization should be open to teachers already integrated into public services and private institutions. Longer courses, from one to two years, or intensive ones, are suggested, such as the courses already offered by Pestalozzi Society, in agreement with governmental institutions.

Regarding the content of the courses, the authors suggest the emphasis on manual work, artistic activities, musical education, theater and handicrafts. Learning in these areas should be included because they are essential to working with exceptional children, engaging them in creative activities and providing means of emotional expression, intellectual development, sociability and creativity. In the educational process, teachers should experience and experiment for themselves the educational techniques to be applied in the emendative teaching, integrating theory and practice.

Next, we’ll examine how the course effectively worked and what its impact on the students was, as recorded in their comments on the Notebooks.

5 Results: on the functioning of the 2nd Summer Emendative Teaching Course (1962), contents of the disciplines and comments of the students

To Yolanda Martins (1962), the secret of the Emendative Teaching Course was that internship students were not only exposed to formal classes but also lived and experienced what they heard and they would share with their future students. The proposed workload was dense: the first activity, breakfast scheduled for 6:45 a.m. and dinner for 6:45 p.m., 12 hours later. With the exception of the last week of the course, students had activities scheduled from Monday to Saturday. On the official timetable, students had 26 subjects, with a total of 215 50-minute lessons. Table 2 shows the organization and relative weight of content in the Course.

Table 1 Professors and disciplines at the 2nd Emendative Teaching Course, ISER, Ibirité, Minas Gerais, 1962. 

Professor Information Discipline Number of classes
Mrs. Ana Maria We have not found information about this teacher. Weaving (carpet) 1
Dr. Aspásia Pires de Oliveira First psychiatrist to work in Belo Horizonte. Case Study 1
Mrs. Arlinda Corrêa Lima Plastic arts artist, Belo Horizonte. Artistic Activities 8
Dr. Betti Katzenstein. Specialist psychologist in exceptional care in São Paulo. Emotional disturbances of the child 5
Dr. Clovis Ferreira Alvim Psychiatrist, professor at the Faculty of Medicine of UFMG. Anamnesis 1
Dr. Fernando Magalhães Psychiatrist linked to the Pestalozzi Society of Minas Gerais. Oligophrenia 1
Gloria Ikuta Habit formation 7
Heloisa Marinho Psychologist at the Institute of Education of Rio de Janeiro. Language in preschool age; Mental development record 8
Helena Antipoff Little Farm Project 16
No discipline associated. 11
Dr. Hélio Alkimim Physician and psychiatrist linked to the Pestalozzi Society of Minas Gerais, professor at the Faculty of Medicine of UFMG. Notions of Neurology; Anamnesis 7
Ivone Brandão Teacher at the Pestalozzi Institute in Belo Horizonte. Bamboo Techniques 13
Jorge Moraes: (Group 5 report). We have not found information about this teacher. Observation Techniques 16
Juraci de Souza Marques We have not found information about this teacher. Nursing concepts 1
Leopoldina Netto Graduated from the Institute of Education of Minas Gerais, coordinator of special classes in the Pestalozzi Society of Brazil. Special Didactics; Emendative Pedagogy 4
Mrs. Lucia Bentes Responsible for the work of recovery of Language in the Pestalozzi Society of Brazil (Rio de Janeiro - GB) (Martins, 1962, p. 1). Phoniatrics 14
Mrs. Lucila Alvim de Menezes Social worker. The role of social assistance 1
Dr. Noemy da Silveira Rudolfer Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of São Paulo. No discipline associated. 9
Nilse Tartuce Teacher from Paraná, Brazil. Music and Bands 20
Prof. Olivia Pereira Pedagogue linked to the Pestalozzi Society of Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro, was a Professor at PUC Rio and UERJ. Observation 13
Occupational therapy 9
Mrs. Renata Silveira One of the founders of the APAE of the State of Guanabara. Handicrafts 13
Folding and cutting 9
Mrs. Silvia Machado Clinical psychologist. Case Study 1
Vicente de Oliveira Torres Professor of Natural Sciences at ISER. 1
Virginia Netto We have not found information about this teacher. Theater 24

Sources: Do Regime de vida...(n.d.); Work presentation (1962); notebooks, 1962; Campos (2001); Martins (1962); Martins (1964).

Table 2 Contents covered and timetable of the subjects, 2nd Emendative Education Summer Course, ISER/Fazenda do Rosário, Ibirité, MG, 1962. 

Area Contents Number of classes %
Artistic activities Theater music, plastic arts. 52 25,0
Philosophy and specific scientific areas Social Assistance, Natural Sciences, Special Didactics, Nursing, Philosophy, Phoniatrics, Pre-School Language, Neurology, Emendative Pedagogy, Occupational Therapy. 44 20.5
Manual work, handicrafts Folding and cutting, weaving, bamboo, cutting and sewing, embroidery. 36 16,8
Medical, psychological, pedagogical examination techniques Observation, anamnesis, case studies. 31 14,4
Little Farm Project Agricultural activities. 16 7,3
Habit formation 7 3,1
Study of specific disorders Oligrophrenia, emotional disorders. 6 2,7
Unidentified contents 22 10,2
TOTAL 214 100,0

Source: The authors based on Table 1.

It seems obvious to say that the Course intended to prepare the teacher to educate the exceptional; however, the study of specific disorders corresponded to only 2.7% of the subjects offered. The organization of the course emphasized above all the methods and processes used for emendative education, the scientific areas involved in the education of the exceptional, the practical activities that should be developed by the teachers.

Most of the course workload was occupied by practical activities in the areas of art (theater, music, plastic arts) and manual work, especially handicrafts (88 out of 214 hours were devoted to these activities, that is, 44,5% of total class hours). We find in the document “The Rationale of the Emendative Education” the justification for the inclusion of the arts and manual works in the curriculum of the specialized teacher:

these techniques are essential in working with exceptional children, either to occupy the child in educational activities, or to offer them means of emotional expression or to understand better their affectivity and creative capacity (H. Antipoff, Martins, & Portilho, 1965, p. 4).

The students of the Emendative Education Courses effectively learned the crafts before teaching them as well in the style of the Professor Antipoff who “learned by doing it”. This learning also presupposed that in learning to do it, the students would learn to teach. Just like the observation, the so-called manual activities were used by other disciplines besides those taught by Professor Renata Silveira, in charge of the folding and cutting; by Professor Ana Maria, in charge of the needle and tapestry works; and the bamboo technique, under Professor Ivone Brandão’s responsibility. As the main pillar of the Emendative Education was the student activity, teacher training was also based on this principle.

The student-teachers developed from the practice the necessary skills for their doing in classrooms. This practice would exercise in them the capacities of: 1st - to establish which are the stages of a given activity and in what sequence they occur; 2nd - identify the difficulties of each stage as well as the ways to overcome them; 3rd - from the observation of each student, offer activities appropriate to their characteristics, evaluating the difficulties from their own experience. Helena Antipoff (1992), when dealing with the School Farm, established a relation between this activity and the principles of the Active School in relation to the construction of science: “to be patient in letting students discover enough and find individual, original, even incomplete solutions. There they will be able to appreciate the role of science and the value of knowledge and culture” (H. Antipoff, 1992, p. 152).

The principles of the Geneva Active School emphasized that the more teachers understood the child, the greater the chances of succeeding in their educational goals. Observation was then considered the safest way to know their needs and their interests, building appropriate pedagogical tools for each of the future students. Thus, the theory and practice of observation were thematically of great relevance in the Training Course in Emendative Education. Besides the specific disciplines of observation - Observation techniques with Professor Jorge Moraes and the discipline of observation with Professor Olivia Pereira received other scripts of this technique: record of mental development of Professor Heloisa Marinho (Marinho, n.d.); child observation sheet of the 1st grade class developed by Helena Antipoff (1992); the record sheets of behavior proposed by the professor of Occupational Therapy (Pereira, n.d.).

Helena Antipoff certainly used the writing of the notebooks to meet the student-teachers. We find the techniques of observation associated with the evaluation of development already achieved and the prognosis of development: “assessment techniques with emphasis on observation” (Mateoni, 1962); “observations of the gradual performance of children in practical music classes” (Ribeiro, 1962). They could also, according to one of the students, evaluate the educator him/herself: “to verify what and in what way the children entrusted to me have improved, what resources are used for their improvement” (Figueiredo, 1962).

As for the Emendative Pedagogy/Special Didactics, we identified in the orientation of the Course Alice Descoeudres’s clear influence. In Antipoff’s preface of the Descoeudres’s book, translated into Portuguese and published by the Pestalozzi Society in 1968, the author states that, “far from being confined to academic teaching, (Descoeudres) introduced her students into Education Science in full practice, at the same time that she initiated them in her research, and made them her collaborators” (Antipoff, 1968, p. 7). In this same work, Descoeudres (1968) established that: “The fundamental principle upon which all who deal with abnormal childhood, in which they will never insist enough, is that of the student’s own activity” (Descoeudres, 1968, p. 51).

In this analysis we cannot fail to consider the fact that Helena Antipoff has three pioneers of Brazilian Psychology, among other professors of great prestige, in her teaching staff. This fact seems to confirm her power to aggregate people around a project. It must be considered what it meant to go to Ibirité in the 1960s, when the transportation system was rather precarious. Even so, the three psychologists, considered among the most renowned in the country, with international training, such as Antipoff, accepted the invitation and gave lectures in the Emendative Education Course. They are: Professors Noemy da Silveira Rudolfer (1902-1988), Betti Katzenstein (1906-1981) and Heloísa Marinho (1903-1994).

Rudolfer was from São Paulo, a student and colleague of Lourenço Filho (1897-1970), graduated from Teachers College at Columbia University in New York. At the invitation of the master, she headed the Applied Psychology Service of the General Board of Education of São Paulo, assuming in 1932 the Chair of Educational Psychology and the Laboratory of Educational Psychology of the Caetano Campos Normal School. In 1936, she defended her thesis A evolução da Psicologia Educacional através de um histórico da Psicologia moderna (The evolution of Educational Psychology through the history of Modern Psychology) and became a professor at the University of São Paulo. Katzenstein graduated from the University of Hamburg, Germany, graduating with a Doctorate in Psychology in 1931. She came to Brazil in 1936 as a refugee, joining the Psychology Laboratory of the Institute of Education of the University of São Paulo. From 1940, she worked in the most diverse areas of Psychology and institutions in the area of Child Education and Psychology. Heloisa Marinho has a degree in Psychology from the University of Chicago in the United States, having completed postgraduate studies at the University of Frankfurt in Germany and at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. She was assistant in the section of Educational Psychology at the School of Teachers of the Institute of Education of Rio de Janeiro, dedicating herself especially to the research of the development of the language (Campos, 2001).

6 Conclusions

The research on the 2nd on Emendative Teaching Course for teachers of special classes and schools showed a trend favorable to specialized training in the area in the early 1960s. Students as well as teachers came from all over Brazil in search of this specific knowledge.

The training of specialized teachers at ISER can be considered as an innovative initiative. The team led by Helena Antipoff considered education a right for all. For this reason, it promoted the education of the exceptional ones in conditions of equality with those considered normal.

The course proposal seems to have been clearly inspired by the principles of the Active School proposed by Claparède. Teachers learned to observe their students, studying both observation techniques theoretically and observing the classes in the other classes, and later elaborating reports about the findings in the practical activity. Through systematic observation learning, teachers could detect the needs and interests of their students. All the didactic material used during the course of the Emendative Education was constructed by the professors themselves. In the classes of manual work, the manufacture of artifacts for the theater, embroidery and tapestry, the female teacher-students had the opportunity to reflect on the difficulties presented by each of these activities. Combining observation and acquired know-how, these teachers could construct strategies and alternative ways to solve the learning problems of their future students.

Thus, it can be said that the proposed course was based on the association between theory and practice. The possibility of experiencing techniques reflecting on their doing, on difficulties and impasses, and the possibility of experiencing the solution of the problems found permeated the whole education.

2Financial support: CAPES, CNPq e FAPEMIG.

5The study is based on the Doctoral thesis defended by Maria de Fátima Pio Cassemiro at the Program of Post-Graduate studies in Education at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG) in 2018, under the guidance of Regina Helena de Freitas Campos (Cassemiro, 2018).

6More information about the programs of the J. J. Rousseau Institute can be accessed at the following link:

7Name given to a secondary school course to qualify teachers to teach in Elementary Education.

8Second Emendative Teaching Course for teachers of special classes and establishments of exceptional children.

9The document informs that funds had been awarded in the amount of “one million cruzeiros” for the payment of teachers and scholarships for students admitted to the Course.

10Possible translation of the document: The living arrangements, studies, duration and timetable of the course.

11Report on Group 5 Activities.

12PABAEE resulted from an agreement signed between Brazil and the United States in June 1956, with the main objective being the improvement of Brazilian Elementary Education. It operated from 1956 to 1964 (Paiva & Paixão, 2002).

13Work presentation.

14Internal Regulation of ISER Courses and Recommendations.


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Received: November 09, 2018; Revised: February 27, 2019; Accepted: March 01, 2019

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