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Educação & Realidade

versão impressa ISSN 0100-3143versão On-line ISSN 2175-6236

Educ. Real. vol.42 no.4 Porto Alegre out./dez. 2017 


The Sampaio Dória Reform: teachers, power and figurations

Tony HonoratoI 

IUniversidade Estadual de Londrina (UEL), Londrina/PR - Brazil


Teaching reforms are the object of research in Education. The 1920 reform of public teaching in the state of São Paulo was analyzed, led by Sampaio Dória, from a standpoint of legal prescriptions and its implementation in a specific reality, the Normal School of Piracicaba/SP. The implementation counted on a group of teachers, which is our privileged object of research. From such group, we learn the establishment of a power gradient producing social figuration out of recognized pedagogic, literary, artistic and political nationalistic domains. The power and figuration concepts proposed by Norbert Elias provide us with theoretical support. The 1920 reform, a network of interdependent people and its unfolding are analyzed in this article.

Keywords: History; Reform; Power; Normal School; Norbert Elias


As reformas de ensino são objetos de pesquisa em Educação. Analisou-se a Reforma de 1920 da instrução pública paulista, dirigida por Sampaio Dória, do ponto de vista das prescrições legais e de sua implantação em uma realidade específica, a Escola Normal de Piracicaba/SP. A implantação contou com um grupo de professores que é o nosso objeto privilegiado. Dele apreendemos a formação de uma figuração social produtora de gradientes de poder a partir de reconhecidos domínios pedagógicos, literários, artísticos e político-nacionalistas. Os conceitos de figuração e de poder propostos por Norbert Elias nos dão suporte teórico. A Reforma de 1920, uma rede de pessoas interdependentes e seus desdobramentos são analisados neste artigo.

Palavras-chave: História; Reforma; Poder; Escola Normal; Norbert Elias


This study in the field of history of education addresses assumptions, groups of teachers, social relations and unfolding of the São Paulo teaching reformed at the beginning of the 1920s. It is a historical production on the Public Teaching Reform of São Paulo state in 1920, directed by Sampaio Dória and implemented by school subjects in different municipalities, particularly in the Normal School of Piracicaba/SP19.

The Normal School of Piracicaba of the 1920s, an exemplary institution in charge of teachers’ training and spreading of educational principles, has been the object of research for the unravelling of social, cultural and political networks of the organization of São Paulo educational field in the beginning of the 20th century. In this school, in favor of the Sampaio Dória Reform, intellectually acknowledged teachers who had produced gradients of power resulting in pedagogic initiatives like the didactic autonomy, a dear theme to the teaching work even in contemporaneous times, were gathered.

For the presentation and discussion of the 1920 Reform, from the figuration of teachers in Piracicaba Normal School, it was assumed as a research source the state legislation, the pedagogic printed matters, the school management manuscripts, news from Jornal de Piracicaba and specialized bibliography (Rodrigues, 1930; Rocco, 1946; Antunha, 1976; Nagle, 1976; Tanuri, 1979; Monarcha; Lourenço Filho, 2001; Hilsdorf, 2003; Medeiros; 2005; Carvalho, 2007; Nery, 2009; Honorato, 2015). For the analysis, it was established a dialogue with the theoretical foundations proposed by Norbert Elias (1980; 1993; 1994a; 1994b; 1994c; 2000 20; 2006), particularly the concepts of power and figuration.

As an initial note, for Elias (1980; 2000) power is not a charm possessed by one individual and not by another, it is a structural characteristic of human relations related to levels of interdependences and power correlations between people, groups, institutions and nations. In social relations, people make use of its various sources and gradients of power, which act as interpersonal dynamics provoking (re)balances of power and shifts of the historical course in specific figurations.

The concept of human figuration, in turn, can be understood as social and symbolic space-times, as organization of interdependent and mutually influenced groups or individuals. It expresses a process in which the interrelated people interfere to form an interlaced structure of numerous emergent properties, such as: power relations, tension axes, institutions, wars, nations, among others (Elias, 1980, p. 140-145).

In this manner, and without using the empirical research for the reproduction of a priori data, it was possible to problematize the Sampaio Dória Reform in view of its ideals, legally prescribed and appropriated by a figuration of teachers, as it can be read in this article.

The 1920 Reform: a reduction of power differences

In 1921 the establishment of teachers’ training in Piracicaba initiated its activities with the status of Normal School, just like its counterpart from the capital and the interior21. Indeed, the unification of São Paulo normal schools was established in act N. 1.750, from December 8, 1920, named in the historiographic annals as Sampaio Dória reform, regulated by decree N. 3.356, from May 31, 1921 (São Paulo, 1921).

The Reform was ruled by the general teaching director Antônio de Sampaio Dória, a bachelor in law, idealizer of the Liga Nacionalista [Nationalist League], teacher of Psychology, Pedagogy and Civic Education at the Normal School of the capital22. Among the Reform’s propositions were the eradication of illiteracy by means of the extension of the compulsory primary education, which was reduced from four to two free of cost years, the transformation of the teachers’ training courses into single type (normalista), accentuating the pedagogic elements, and the implementation of regional education offices to improve and decentralize the public teaching services.

The ideological orientation of the Reform can be identified in three bases, according to Antunha (1976). The first one is linked to the principles of the Liga Nationalista, particularly to the understanding of school as a regenerative center of the national life by means of political education, the cultivation of the mother tongue and the nationalization of the Brazilian and the immigrant. The second basis consists in the thought of Sampaio Dória himself, united with the ideals of liberal democracy in Stuart Mill’s sense, Herbert Spencer’s evolutionism and Rui Barbosa concerning the respect to the law, the aversion to autocracy, and the way of life balancing practices and ideas. The third one leads to the suggestions and plans of school authorities and scholars who expressed their criticisms and proposals in response, mainly, to the inquiry on public teaching, carried through in 1914 by the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo, and to the Letter of the General Teaching Director, Oscar Thompson, who in 1918 requested suggestions on how to solve the problem of illiteracy.

According to Medeiros (2005), the reformist Sampaio Dória also considered his experience in the Normal School of the São Paulo capital as based on the teaching of William James’ North American pragmatist psychology and his pedagogic production - the book Principles of Pedagogy, published in 1914, in which the author expresses being against to the authoritarian teaching method and favorable to the analytical intuitive method; on the articles published in 1916 and 1917 in Revista do Brasil and in 1919 in Revista do Ensino; on the Carta Aberta of 1918, in response to the letter from the general director Oscar Thompson, in which he explains a plan for eradication of illiteracy23 considering the scarce resources of the State; and on the book O que o cidadão deve saber [What the citizen should know], edited in 1919, with the purpose of serving as a manual of civic teaching.

It is important to stress that Sampaio Dória exerted the position public teaching general director of the for a brief period. He took office in April of 1920, obtained the approval of the Reform in December and requested exoneration in May of 1921. According to Hilsdorf (2003), he left the position for divergence with the president of State, Washington Luís, who insisted on expanding the 2-year primary school initially proposed for the rural zone to the urban zones as well. This expansion was considered by the opposition as an aristocratic idea of the political-administrative government program. Sampaio Dória’s direct assistant, Guillermo Kuhlmann, was appointed for his position. According to Antunha (1976), he carried out the Reform’s dispositions in an inappropriate way promoting, then, the rupture between the two educators, who, according to Nery (2009, p. 88), later would share figurations of the Sociedade de Educação de São Paulo and in 1922 worked side by side in the Associação Brasileira de Escoteiros.

From one standpoint, the 1920 Reform represents what Nagle (1976) called “enthusiasm for education”. It was a moment when the social, economic, political and national problems to education to be solved through the republican school were assigned to the education of the people. The enthusiasm for education in the 1910s expressed in a certain way the tension between the oligarchies politics and the nationalists campaign. The nationalists, among them Sampaio Dória, planned to republicanize the Republic having the grassroots teaching as a strong landmark on behalf of progress, electoral awareness and justice.

For Carvalho (2007), it becomes pertinent to advance Nagle’s reading, proposing the “enthusiasm for education” as a modernizing project that is transformed, along the 1920s, under the impact of the interests of the new urban elites, interested in civilizing the poor populations that did not share the behavioral codes in the great urban centers in industrialization. Moreover, the author indicates that the enthusiastic reformers produced polarizations in primary education, as literacy school in opposition to the civilizing school.

It circulated the representation that only solving the illiteracy problem the state of São Paulo and Brazil could regenerate and civilize the children of the ordinary man. For such, it was essential to pay attention to the improvement of the training of teachers, who were responsible for primary education. In this sense, Tanuri (1979, p. 19) considers that the 1920 Reform, aiming to democratize the education, unified the primary and the normal schools: “the former for the inferior standard - the 2-year rural schools; the latter for the superior standard - secondary normal schools”. For Tanuri, the unification of the São Paulo normal schools eliminated the existing duality between primary and secondary normalista training providing,

[...] the most significant shifts in the didactic structure of the training system for primary teachers of São Paulo, from its organization in the initial years of the Republic until 1933. In short, it can be said that these shifts were: the standardization of the two types of institutions according to the ones of higher category, the reasonable emphasis on pedagogic studies and the rise of the normal course by means of reorganization and increase of the length of complementary courses (Tanuri, 1979, p. 166-167).

The normal education of single type was, undoubtedly, an essential measure for the strengthening of the state normal schools in the 1920s. Thus, if in the 1911 Reform, conducted for Oscar Thompson (São Paulo, 1912), it was observed a redistribution of power with the transformation of complementary schools in normal primary or in normal secondary schools, it is inferred that the changes proposed in the 1920 Reform represented the power balance between the institutions destined to the teachers’ training, that is, all of them in one single type: normal schools.

The power balance can be visualized initially from two dispositions of the Reform, article 8 and 25 of Act N. 1750 (São Paulo, 1921). First, the schools would have the same curricular organization which was the standard for the secondary normal course, thus interrupting the continuity of two models of teachers’ training, however interdependent, existing since 1897 with the complementary and the normal course and, in 1911, with the normal primary and secondary. Second, it was suppressed, for all legal effects, the distinction between the complementary teachers, primary and secondary normalistas. Consequently, it would be guarateed the access of those with a lower training degree the access to places to take office and to the leveling of wages demanded for a long time by the teachers.

It is relevant to emphasize that the power balance, according to Elias (1980), is not a synonym of equality, but rather of reduction of power differences between the individuals in the relational dynamics constituting the social figurations. For the author, the reduction of power happens both in the relations between individuals and between different social strata.

The unification of the normal schools attenuated the differences of power between individuals, as well as between normalistas figurations. The individuals became functionally more dependent on other people and the network of normal schools was strengthened, thus more uncontrollable in legal terms on the part of the pedagogic innovations of the Normal of the capital.

The power balance indicates that increasingly some expand and others decrease the access to the sources of power, a typical dynamics of power scale. Elias (1980) calls this dynamic as functional democratization, which is designated by the global trend of transformations that reduce the potential power between the distinct groups, even between men and women, parents and children, students and teachers, government members and governed. It does not limit itself to the development of the institucional democracy. It refers, over all, to the change in social distribution of power, and this can be expressed in various institucional ways.

Indeed, the Sampaio Dória Reform was a process that allowed a legal adjustment to follow the changes developed in the interior of each normalista figuration and among the normal schools that can be perceived in the relations between students and teachers/principals and in the softening of the feeling of inferiority of a school figuration in relation to the other.

Is is also understood that to perceive the power balance, beyond the legislative dispositions, it becomes crucial to identify which were the sources of power that would place a normalista figuration in differentiation to the other in the context of the Reform. In the case of the Piracicaba’s Normal, it is stressed: the group of teachers who formed a figuration of intellectuals and the practices aimed to the pedagogic renovação of teachers’ training.

Figuring a Group of Teachers

The Piracicaba Normal School socially had its power balanced in the relation with the other normal ones, as the Teaching Director Sampaio Dória found there and removed to it men of his personal, intellectual and political right-hand man trust.

Box 1 presents who were the teachers who participated in the implementation of the Reform in the Normal School of Piracicaba and Annexed in 1921:

Box 1 Teachers of the Normal School of Piracicaba and Annexed in 1921 - (It was not part of the average) 

Teaching Name Level of training Age Time of teaching Beginning of the contract Course24
1st Course: Portuguese Joaquim da Silveira Santos Normalista (1887) 57 38 04/11/1911 N
2nd Course: Latin and Literature Antonio Pinto de Almeida Ferraz Bachelor in Law 50 --- 02/01/1921 N
3rd Course: French Pedro de Mello Leveled Normalista, 1904 64 44 05/09/1911 N
4th Course: Mathematics José de Assis Velloso Bachelor in Sciences and Letters 28 08 06/06/1913 N
5th Course: Physics and Chemistry Hélio Penteado de Castro Secondary Normalista 40 16 02/04/1921 N
6th Course: Vegetal and Animal Biology; Hygiene; Human Anatomy and Physiology Carlos Martins Sodero Secondary Normalista 40 17 08/17/1907 N
7th Course: Cosmography, General Geography, Chorography of Brazil João Batista Nogueira Secondary Normalista 55 22 02/27/1899 N
8th Course: Brazil and General History Thales Castanho de Andrade Primary Normalista 31 09 01/15/1920 N
9th Course: Psychology and Pedagogy Manoel Bergström Lourenço Filho Primary/secondary Normalista 24 06 02/01/1921 N
10th Course: Pedagogic practice Manoel Bergström Lourenço Filho Primary/secondary Normalista 24 06 02/01/1921 N
Music Fabiano Rodrigues Lozano Complementary/Musician 35 11 02/12/1914 N/C
Drawing Joaquim Bueno de Mattos Almeida Jr./ Oscar Pereira’s student 41 20 06/14/1913 N/C
Gymnastics David Muller ---------------- 41 09 08/09/1912 N/C
Gymnastics Olívia Bianco Complementary 38 20 08/31/1917 N
1ª Course: Mother Tongue and Oratory Pedro Crem Filho Complementary 35 16 02/01/1921 C
2ª Course: French and Notions of Latin Adolfo Carvalho Complementary 39 20 03/09/1921 C
3ª Course: Geography and History Dário Brasil Complementary 37 20 02/01/1921 C
4ª Course: Mathematics and Logics João Alves de Almeida Complementary 39 21 08/31/1917 C
5ª Course: Physical and Natural Sciences Manoel Dias de Almeida Complementary 36 17 08/31/1917 C
Arts and crafts Henrique Carneiro Sezane25 ---------------- 65 24 01/01/1906 C
Arts and crafts Maria Leopoldina S. Mendes ---------------- 51 11 02/01/1910 C
Gymnastics Maria Ferraz de Toledo Secondary Normalista 29 08 08/31/1917 C
Primary Presciliana Bemvinda de Almeida Complementary 41 14 08/31/1917 GM
Primary Maria Luiza Fachada Complementary 27 09 03/05/1919 GM
Primary Luiza Midaglia Complementary 34 12 08/31/1917 GM
Primary Eugênia da Silva Complementary 44 20 08/31/1917 GM
Primary Maria Graner Complementary 30 11 08/31/1917 GM
Primary Antonia Adalgisa Ramos Secondary Normalista 34 13 08/31/1917 GM
Primary Filinto de Mattos Brito* ---------------- --- --- --- GM
Primary Anísio Ferraz Godinho* ---------------- --- --- --- GM
Primary Maria Garcia de Andrade Normalista 28 09 07/18/1919 EMI
Primary Antonio dos Santos Veiga Complementary 34 13 02/17/1913 EMI
Average Normal Course 41.8 17.3
Average Complementary Course 40.7 16.0
Average Primary Course 34.0 12.6

Source: Faustino (1921a, 1921b).

In 1921 the Piracicaba Normal had 31 teachers with heterogeneous qualifications: complementary, secondary/primary normalistas, bachelor in law, bachelor in sciences and letters (graduated by the state high school), musician and former student of painting masters. A significant part of the teachers had graduated in Piracicaba, indicating that the institution incorporated to its courses former students as professionals of normal (over all at that time), complementary and primary education.

It is observed that, the higher the education level, the higher the age average and time of work as teachers. However, from one level to another, there were small differences between the averages. The group can be characterized, in general, as experienced according to the time of service in teaching.

Among the teachers, twenty had started their professional practice in the establishment between 1910 and 1920. Such information results from the creation of the Primary Normal Course in 1911 and the recreation of the Complementary Course in 191726. They figured a group of intellectuals whose interdependence was based on the professional and sociocultural relations, being distinguished: Fabiano Lozano in chamber music and choral singing; Pedro de Mello in poetry, children’s literature and musical composition; Joaquim da Silveira Santos27 in poetry, philology and positivist apostolate; Olívia Bianco and David Muller in physical-esthetic and ludic-sportive culture; Muller contributed with scouting activities; and Carlos Martins Sodéro in the hygienic rules of health and author of several articles published in Revista da Educação (Faustino, 1921d; 1921e; 1922a; 1922b; 1922c; 1923).

One evidence of the inter-relations between the above-mentioned group can be observed in the constitution of figurations, including out of Normal School, like luncheons promoted in honor of somebody, as it can be read in the news:

Prof. Fabiano Lozano

A group of Prof. Fabiano Lozano’s co-workers offers to him, next Sunday, in the Central Hotel, at 12:00, a luncheon celebrating the inauguration of the Orpheon Escolar da Escola Normal’.

The following promote this homage to the dedicated teacher: Dr. Honorato Faustino, Manassés Pereira, d. Olivia Bianco, d. Maria L. Soares Mendes, d. Maria Ferraz Braga, Joaquim da Silveira Santos, Pedro de Mello, Carlos M. Sodéro, J. Baptista Nogueira, Hélio Penteado de Castro, Jose de Assis Velloso, Dr. Antonio Pinto, Joaquim de Mattos, Henrique Seoanes, Thales de Andrade, Bergstrom Lourenço Filho, David Muller, Adolpho Carvalho, Dário Brasil, João de Almeida, Manoel Dias de Almeida, José Martins Toledo and Pedro Crem (Prof…, 1921, p. 1, author’s emphasis).

In 1921 the Piracicaba Normal, besides keeping its faculty constituted along the the years, incorporated in the courses under its management another six teachers, being one hired and five removed from other institutions, namely:

a) Antônio Pinto de Almeida Ferraz was hired to be a Latin Literature teacher, a course recently cretaed by the 1920 Reform. He was a bachelor in Law, considered a distinguished speaker, scholar and reader of Philosophy. He had been the Municipal Teaching Inspector, one of the writers of Jornal de Piracicaba and member of the local Liga Nacionalista. He can be considered one of the first bachelors in Law, without teacher’s qualification, to teach in the Piracicaba school.

b) Adolfo Carvalho, complementary by training, was a school inspector, adjunct of the Grupos Escolares Moraes Barros and Barão de Rio Branco from Piracicaba. In the latter, he was the principal and was removed from it to the Complementary Course, French and Latin courses.

c) Dário Brasil, complementary teacher, was adjunct of the Limeira Grupo Escolar and the Piracicaba Grupo Escolar Barão de Rio Branco’, was a nationalist and disseminator of the motherland history to raise love for the republican past. He had been removed to the course of Geography and History of the Complementary Course.

d) Pedro Crem Filho, complementary graduated in Piracicaba, where he taught in isolated schools, was a member of the Liga Nationalista, was one of the writers of Jornal de Piracicaba and one of the oppositionist to the local Paulista Republican Party. A man known for his modern mentality, removed to the course of Mother Tongue and Oratory of the Complementary Course.

e) Hélio Penteado de Castro, secondary normalista, after having been a teacher in the old Piracicaba Complementary School, taught in the Campinas Complementary and Normal Primary, returns to Piracicaba to teach in the Physics and Chemistry course of the Normal School.

f) Manoel Bergström Lourenço Filho, who was the youngest of the faculty, being 24 years old and having 6 years of experience in teaching, was, however, one of the major men linked to Sampaio Dória in the mission to implement the Reform in Piracicaba:

[...] with two majors as normalista teacher by the Pirassununga Primary Normal School (1914) and later, by the São Paulo Secondary Normal School (1917), where he was a student of Sampaio Dória, and appointed by him, who occupied the Teaching Direction, to replace Roldão Lopes de Barros in the course of Pedagogy and Civic Education in São Paulo Primary Normal School (1920), mastering the use of the intuitive-analytical methodology; having been trained in ‘the scope of a radical movement of affirmation of the imperious necessity of education for all’ and as member of the Liga Nacionalista, having actively participated in the establishment of the Sorocaba (1917) and Piracicaba (1918) nuclei, author of more than twenty articles on pedagogy and psychology, published in newspapers from the capital and the interior of São Paulo, from ‘Revista do Brasil’ and ‘O Estado de São Paulo’, from Monteiro Lobato to Oswald de Andrade (1916-1920), among other newspapers [...] (Hilsdorf, 2003, p. 98).

In the Piracicaba Normal, Lourenço Filho started to work in February of 1921. He had under his responsibility the courses of Pedagogy and Psychology and of Pedagogic Practice, those that would provide to the school children the new pedagogic guidelines (Hilsdorf, 2003). According to Nery (2008, p. 11), in contrast with teachers from São Carlos Normal who, when removed to take over the course of Pedagogy and Psychology, they also took over the management of the schools, Lourenço Filho28 was not the principal, that continued to be exerted by Honorato Faustino29.

The removals of teachers marked, in the beginning of 1921, the positions of the Reform:

[...] Sampaio Dória placed in key positions, administrative and pedagogic, of the São Paulo teaching organization, those names from the school universe committed with him, either from the point of view of sharing of ideas, either from the point of view of personal relations, young teachers, many of them his former students, adept of the new theories of teaching and sympathizers or members, like him, of the Liga Nacionalista - which aimed the nationalization of the country through the de-illiteracy (Hilsdorf, 2003, p. 97-98).

Also, from the figuration of intellectual educators from Piracicaba, the following collaborated in the implementation of the Sampaio Dória Reform, in various normal schools: Elias de Mello Ayres, History and Geography teacher of Pirassununga Normal; João Dutra, Drawing teacher of Casa Branca Normal; Lázaro Lozano, Music teacher of the capital’s Normal, among others (Hilsdorf, 2003).

For the position of Campinas Regional Teaching Officer and later transferred to Piracicaba Office, an administrative position created in the 1920 Reform, it was appointed Sud Mennucci: a child of Italian immigrants, born in Piracicaba, graduated as primary teacher by the Piracicaba Complementary in 1908, was adjunct in the Porto Ferreira Grupo Escolar - where he worked with Lourenço Filho and Thales C. de Andrade, was adept to the nationalism, published articles on cultural and school issues as well as literary critique in newspapers from Piracicaba, Porto Ferreira, in O Estado de São Paulo, among other newspapers. In 1920, he moved to the capital to direct, by Sampaio Dória’s invitation, the central office of the State School Census, a position that made it possible to expand trust relations with Sampaio Dória. He was the author of several works that indicate his intellectuality and advocacy of the pedagogic ruralism, among them, Alma Contemporânea, A Escola Paulista, A crise da Educação Brasileira, Cem Anos de Instrução Pública: 1822-1922, Humor: ensaio sobre suas causas determinantes, Aspectos Piracicabanos do Ensino Rural, Pelo Sentido Ruralista da Civilização, A Ruralização30.

Thales Castanho de Andrade was another active teacher in the group of 1921 linked to Sampaio Dória. However, he arrives, before the approval of the Reform, still in the term of the general teaching director Oscar Thompson. In January of 1920, he was removed from the Porto Ferreira Grupo Escolar to the Piracicaba Grupo Modelo Anexo à Normal and, in the following year, already in the reforming movement, ascends to the position of lecturer of the course of Brazil and General History of the Normal Course. Thales de Andrade graduated as a primary normalista teacher in the School of Piracicaba in 1911, defended nationalistic theses, was a partner of Sud Mennucci and disseminator of the rural education. His friendship with Lourenço Filho came from the time of Porto Ferreira. It received intellectual recognition for its children-youth literature. His educational novel entitled Saudade, published in 1919, was prefaced by Sampaio Dória, who indicates relations with Thales nurtured by admiration, pedagogic affinity and nationalistic ideals. In Dória’s words: “Here you are a book worth de applause [...] for its intrinsic value, among the best reading books, like the ones from Köpke. [...] In the hands of the students, Saudade will be a suggestive enchantment. It will bring to them interest and it will have the power of seeding, in the soul, germens of love to the Motherland” (Andrade, 1930, p. 5)31. Between July and September of 1920, Thales de Andrade was - together with Teodorico de Oliveira, lecturer of the Pedagogy and Civic Education course - removed from the Piracicaba Normal at the service of the School Census (1920, p. 1) coordinated by Sampaio Dória, as registered by Jornal de Piracicaba.

The teachers removed in the context of the Sampaio Dória Reform joined the teachers already placed in Piracicaba Normal and the men of well-known intellectual, literary, artistic and journalistic domain linked to the Piracicaba society32. It was a Piracicaba time of sociocultural, pedagogic and political effervescence, of a unique place in the state scenario. Piracicaba, figuration of intellectuals, scholars, composers, painters, musicians, educators and politicians, received flatteringly from the writer José Maria Ferreira, the title of hillbilly Bloomsburry33.

In Hilsdorf’s evidences (2003), the hillbilly Bloomsburryans had a strong influence on the cultural production of the Normal School, the city and, in a wider dimension, of the state. In his words,

Several of bloomsburryans already were already spread in other cities, working as teachers, newspaper writers and critics, making literature, gravitating around… of Monteiro Lobato in ‘Revista do Brasil’ and the newsroom of ‘O Estado de Paulo’! “No one speaks about the yellow danger. There is another one, much closer. I speak of the Piracicaba danger”, Lobato would have said on the “hordes of young Piracicaba scholars, all originated from Normal School, who visited the Revista wanting to publish their texts and thus initiate a career in critics, in literature and journalism’, according to J. M. Ferreira (Hilsdorf, 2003, p. 102).

In this context of sociocultural effervescence, with the figuration of intellectuals committed to the implementation of the Sampaio Dória Reform, Piracicaba became, in 1921, according to memoirist Elias Neto (2000, p. 159), a “nervous center of education in the State of São Paulo”.

The Normal School produced an education standard to be spread to other schools of the State. For that, the figure of Lourenço Filho was relevant in the process of pedagogic renewal in 1921, as, for example, in the exams of visual acuity to organize the students in classrooms to maximize the education process, as highlighted in Jornal de Piracicaba:

Normal school: Measure of the visual acuity

It is concluded, in all classrooms of the Normal School, Complementary Course and Annexed Model Schools the exams of sensorial acuity, according to which the students are placed in the classroom to foster full efficiency in education.

This work, developed for the first time last year, is in our modelar Normal School, that was the first one to adopt it in the State. It was accomplished by the teaching students of this year, duly qualified and directed by the Pedagogy teacher, Mr. Bergstrom Lourenço Filho (School…, 1922, p. 2, author’s emphasis).

It can also be interpreted that the position taken in the figuration by Honorato Faustino was basic to install in Piracicaba a nucleus of power of the 1920 Reform.

Honorato Faustino occupied the position of principal of the establishment for 17 years and became one of the major leaderships of the Piracicaba education. In the society, he established relations with various social groups, was acknowledged as a man of educational, moral, intellectual and cultural progress. He kept the image of competent scholar for the seriousness with which he managed the establishment and for the teachers’ training of recognized intellectual ability. In society, he could attract a strong sociocultural focus to the normalistas figurations. Honorato Faustino cared for his reputation as a conscious citizen, his scientific wealth and being a dedicated cultivator of fine letters and arts. As an author, he wrote short stories of refined literary taste, pedagogic songs and methods of education of Portuguese language.

As a principal, Honorato Faustino was demanding, disciplining and participated effectively of the production of the school habits, was an expert representative of the legislative dispositions, in the social relations, did not stop demonstrating his potential of higher gradient of power in the normalistas figurations. Even considered as a representative figure of the pedagogic tradition, he was eager for new knowledge. For instance, he also studied Medicine in the College of Curitiba/PR in the 1910s. After directing teachers who were known as live encyclopedias34 and professors, for Honorato Faustino to transit through the active teaching was only another challenge of the modern pedagogy for the time, as it can be observed in his book Lições Práticas de Pontuação e de Accentuação do “A” pela Figura “Crase”, published in 1920 and a foundation of the analytical intuitive method.

Considering the power gradient of principal Honorato Faustino, Sampaio Dória had with him a close relation of interdependence for the success of the Reform in Piracicaba. It is assumed that the relation between the educators began previous to 1921, probably in the context of the capital Normal, where Sampaio Dória, since 1914, taught the course of Psychology, Pedagogy and Civic Education, and of the activities of the Liga Nationalista nucleus in Piracicaba in 1918.

Medeiros’ studies (2005) indicate relations between them in the context of the Liga, namely: by means of the memo of June 26, 1918, addressed to the Teaching Commission of the Liga, of which Sampaio Dória was one of the leaders, the Principal of Piracicaba Primary Normal promises to make an effort to open night schools. In the same year, following a request from the Liga, Lourenço Filho, Sampaio Dória’s right-hand man, made a lecture in September 7th [Independence Day] in Piracicaba.

Ii is also registered that, during the Reform and the graduation of the normalistas of 1920, Sampaio Dória pronounced in November in Piracicaba, under the organization of the direction of the Normal School, the second of seven conferences advocating and presenting the measures for the teaching that formed Act N. 1750 of 1920.

Normal school: The graduation parties - Solemn session in Theatro Santo Estevam - Conference of Mr. Dr. Sampaio Dória - Other notes.

In the stage, at the table, beside Mr. Dr. Honorato Faustino de Oliveira, principal of the Normal School, sat Mr. Dr. Sampaio Dória, General Director of Public Education and Mr. Colonel Fernando Febiliano da Costa, governor of the city, who was the patron of the group, and the faculty of the Normal School.

Initiating the program, the teaching students sang the Anthen of the Normal School, lyrics by João Lourenço Rodrigues and music by Lazaro R. Lozano.

Dr. Honorato Faustino, opening the session, passed the word to Dr. Sampaio Dória, who read his conference [...] (Escola…, 1920, p. 1).

In Piracicaba, Sampaio Dória initiates the conference A Reforma de Ensino: a inspeção escolar [School Reform: school inspection] emphasizing that his motivation was not only “to counter the error and the evil of a fake unsincere criticism, but in the first place, the feeling of democracy, besides making it the Reform mechanism comprehensively known for those who will be co-responsible for the execution” (Medeiros, 2005, p. 225). According to Medeiros (2005), Sampaio Dória pronounced a more emotional speech, it seemed that he was among friends, indicating that Piracicaba was a haven of his network of personal relations and a place where he had administrative probity and dedication to the teaching of the illiterates.

It can be understood that, along with the interdependences of Sampaio Dória with Lourenço Filho and the other teachers, principal Honorato Faustino was one of the major articulators of the execution of the Reform in Piracicaba. In this manner, under the direction of Honorato Faustino, the figuration of teachers potentialized its power in the Piracicaba Normal and in the context of state education and spread renewing practices aimed to the teachers’ training, among them the issue of the didactic autonomy and active teaching.

Unfoldings of the Reform: curriculum, didactic autonomy and active teaching

The Piracicaba Normal started the school year of 1921 with the organization shown in Box 2:

Box 2 Courses of the Piracicaba Normal Teaching Program (1921) 

1st Course: Portuguese
2nd Course: Latin and Literature
3rd Course: French
4th Course: Mathematics
5th Course: Physics and Chemistry
6th Course: Vegetal and Animal Biology; Hygiene; Human Anatomy and Physiology
7th Course: Cosmography, General Geography, Chorography of Brazil
8th Course: Brazil and General History
9th Course: Psychology and Pedagogy
10th Course: Pedagogic Practice
Music class
Drawing class
Gymnastics class

Source: Faustino (1921a) and São Paulo (1921).

The single type curriculum for the Normal increased four courses in the old program of the primary Normal and reduced three courses of the secondary ones. It was suppressed, in the case of the secondary, knowledge of general culture such as English, Commercial Bookkeeping, Culinary, Typewriting and Shorthand.

In both courses, Latin and Literature were dissociated from the course of Portuguese, thus shaping the first and the second course. Civic Education and Pedagogic Practice were dissociated from Pedagogy, and this one was associated with Experimental Psychology, forming the ninth course. In the tenth course, Pedagogic Practice was kept being aimed to the normalista from the second year of the course, thus indicating a stronger emphasis on the professionalization. The course of Biology, Hygiene, Anatomy and Human Physiology was included in the curriculum, indicating a concern from the reformers with knowledge related to the functioning of the organic body on behalf of the strong-healthy man and to change social behaviors in the scope of public health.

In the context of the valuation of aesthetic culture, scouting, civism and nationalism, the lessons of music, drawing and gymnastics received special attention in the normalista training with the Reform. It is important to remember that, even having registers of previous practices, it is only with the Sampaio Dória Reform that the teaching of scouting and school choral singing was implemented. In accordance with Gilioli (2003), for the expansion of the innovation pertaining to school choral singing to the network of normal schools, Sampaio Dória considered the significant experience of the Piracicaba Normal, over all, undertaken since 1905 by Honorato Faustino and the brothers Lazaro and Fabio Lozano.

The knowledge related to Agriculture and Zootechnics, innovations of the 1911 Reform (São Paulo, 1912), were excluded from the program. The contents of Arts and Crafts were under the responsibility of the complementary education that, with the 1920 Reform, shifted from two to three years. The strengthening of the complementary education was also significant to raise the level of normal education, as 50% of the places for the first year of the normal course would be reserved to the students graduating at the complementar, dedicating the remaining 50% to the enrolled in the sufficiency exams (Tanuri, 1979). In this sense, before entering the normal education, the complementarista egress would have attended the school for seven years. This perspective of schooling was inaugurated with the return of the complementary courses in 1917 during the term of Oscar Thompson at the General Direction of Public Teaching.

The curriculum proposed for 1921, compared with the one of 1911, presents a notorious emphasis on the technical-pedagogic contents of the preparation of teachers. However, Tanuri (1979) emphasizes that the normal school still identified more with an institution of propaedeutic teaching, differently of the technical-vocational profile propagated by Sampaio Dória in the Conferência Interestadual de Ensino Primário [Interstate Conference of Primary Education], carried through in Rio de Janeiro in 1921. It is highlighted in this event that Sampaio Dória presents the Pedagogic Practice Plan, elaborated by Lourenço Filho in Piracicaba35, as a model to be followed for the teachers’ training in the Brazilian schools.

For the development of each course of the program, the 1920 Reform established one of the most daring mechanisms until then for organization of the teaching contents: it was a practice that was known in the field of the educational as didactic autonomy. It was established in a Decree:

Article 253 - The programs of these courses and lessons will be annually organized in lessons by the respective teachers, in accordance with the bases established in Chapter III of this regulation and delivered up to 15 days before the opening of the lessons to the school principal, who will submit them to the Secretary of Interior aiming to approve them or, whether they noticed or not a basic unit in all the schools, continuity with the programs in the complementary ones and whether they are feasible or not.

§ 1º - In case the program is rejected, the Secretary of Interior will set a provisory one until the respective professor organizes another one in acceptable conditions.

§ 2º - The teacher who did not present his program will not be able to begin his course, incurring into unjustified absence.

§ 3º - The program of each course and lesson will need to be fully developed (São Paulo, 1921).

The didactic autonomy was a source of power for each teacher to organize the contents of his teaching program. For such, the teacher would have to include minimal contents recommended by the State to the active and individual learning of the learner, aiming a utilitarian use to develop the student’s spirit, who would have potencialized his intellectual and critical faculties.

With the implementation of didactic autonomy, the predefined programatic contents would be surpassed by decree from the General Direction of Public Teaching, which took as reference, mainly, experiences produced in the capital Normal. It would be a teaching practice that, even when inserted in a hierarchical administrative figuration, could provoke power balance and intensify the relations of interdependence between students, teachers, school principals, general teaching director and the normal schools themselves.

The teacher had his gradient of power potentialized in a higher degree than the other ones; consequently, for him to organize the program, he will be more dependent on the students, the school principal and the complementary education that preceded the normal. In order that each teacher did not organize the program of education in an independent way at all, disqualifying the conception of autonomy as a source of relational power, minimal contents would be demanded in the process of approval of the program under the superior sieve.

According to Nery (2009, p. 130), Sampaio Dória’s understanding was that, without the common base, the didactic autonomy would become impracticable. However, with the exoneration of Dória from the position of teaching director in 1921, his successor, Guillermo Kuhlmann, up to 1924, however, “did not publish any minimal program, and the lack of knowledge of what was happening concerning the execution of programs in the normal schools was a fact”. In this sense, Nery considers that the didactic autonomy did not advance officially. The proposal was suppressed with the 1925 Reform led by Pedro Voss and, in the 1920s, it was one of the themes present in debates in the mainstream media, in meetings of the Sociedade de Educação de São Paulo and the educational regular press. Officially, the didactic autonomy is reintroduced with the 1930 Reform, co-ordinated by Lourenço Filho when at the front line of the General Teaching Direction of the State of São Paulo.

Among the material searched on the Piracicaba Normal, except for the Plano de Prática Pedagógica [Pedagogic Practice Plan] systematized by teacher Lourenço Filho (1922) for 2nd and 3rd grades of the 1921 course, the other teaching programs cannot be found. However, in the reports of the School direction, the general guidance that established the foundations of education to be undertaken from the Sampaio Dória Reform on can be identified. On the subject, principal Honorato Faustino says:

Being reformed the Public Teaching, and having the School new teachers, I called a meeting to establish the foundations of teaching, giving to them a helpful and useful orientation, to fully satisfy the objectives of the education developed in the establishment. In this meeting, it was decided:

1º) Assign to teaching a practical fashion, teaching theoretically only the indispensable;

2º) Speaking the most frequently as possible to the intuition of the student, using the material existing in the School and appealing to other auxiliary means;

3º) Starting a serious campaign against teaching by heart; for this purpose, draft some prescription that were published in the second issue of ‘Revista de Educação’;

4º) In the organization of programs, provide the essential and the applicable in practical life and with aid of the study of certain courses and acquisition of new knowledge (Faustino, 1921a, p. 20).

In a meeting, the teachers established a dialogue to discuss which pedagogic routes they would take. This practice indicates that the decision processes were developed in a functional democratization and that the didactic autonomy as power practice was a reality in the Piracicaba School. In the words of principal Honorato Faustino (1921c, p. 69): “Fortunately, in this particular, the recent education reform in the State of São Paulo, establishing that the programs must be organized by the teachers in charge to practice them, with the obligation to review them annually, modifying them in accordance with the suggestions from the experience acquired along the teaching”.

The pedagogic orientation that would bind in interdependence the program of each course would make the relations between teachers and students closer and would assure that the purposes of the figuration were based on the precepts of active teaching. The proposal was that the teachers would give to teaching a practical, immediate and utilitarian fashion, with the intention to mold in an efficient way citizens helpful to themselves, their fellows and to the mother land, apt to know to conduct themselves according to more logical and rational means in the struggle for life.

The publication mentioned by Honorato Faustino (1921c) refers to the article O Ensino Ativo nas Escolas Normais e Complementares [Active Teaching in Normal and Complementary Schools], in which several precepts are introduced to the teachers for organization and execution of the programs according to active teaching. Among them, briefly: taking advantage of the intellectual capacity of the student, offering him conditions of pedagogic vitality; to understand the individual and social evolution in a generational way, with disposal to face the shifts of teaching under a new prism; to select in the vastness of scientific knowledge what must be taught in a useful form, with a logical sequence of the compatible facts with the development of faculties and the available time, always leaving marks in the spirit of the student and not mental fatigue; to select knowledge, observing the point of view of its development in the practical life and preparation and subsides for acquisition of later knowledge; to divide the program in lessons so that it is possible to develop it integrally, also demonstrating its sense in practice; to know that each lesson encompasses a whole, without being developed in excess, and that to its ultimate analysis the idea of the set must subsist; to supply to the students, before the lesson, a brief summary, and later, a synoptic picture; to initiate a lesson revising, despite quickly, the previous one; to use frequently the existing material in the school - pictures, devices, collections, etc.; to fight the habit of studying by heart when abolishing weekly tests, reciting lessons, literal reproductions, and for that purpose, the socratic method is really advantageous; to intermediate expositions, when possible and opportune, of questions to the biggest number of students in classroom; to indicate the sources of consultation at each step to instigate the habit of reading and attendance to the library. At last, besides banishing artificial and oral teaching, full of dryness and disinterest for practical life, the teacher sould not lose of sight the professionalizing character, as the complementary and normal teaching would aim at the preparation for the public teaching.

In the article, Honorato Faustino does not mention which authors were the reference to systematize such guidance. In this sense, Nery (2008) alerts that, when analyzing the newspapers of normal schools from the interior of São Paulo, he found a profusion of ideas on education that are mixed, but that not always conform, ideas of authors like Pestalozzi, Herbart, Binet to the side of Montessori, Claparède and Dewey.

The active teaching prescribed by Honorato Faustino was in accordance, in general, with the analytical intuitive method foreseen by the 1920 Reform and was entitled to Sampaio Dória’s confidence. It composed the picture of the modern pedagogy of the transition from the 1910s to the 1920s, with great attention to experimental psychology36.

Final Remarks

The empirical research presented and the concepts of figuration and power systemized by Norbert Elias made possible an angle of analysis of the Sampaio Dória Reform. This was analyzed from the change of status of São Paulo normal schools, of the figuration of a group of teachers who were responsible for its implementation in a specific reality and for its exemplary pedagogic unfoldings.

The change of status of the primary and secondary normal schools for normal schools of single type implied a curricular, pedagogic and practices reorganization decreasing the differences of power. Such reduction, in the perspective of Norbert Elias, could be understood as a (re) balance of power between the school subjects, representatives of São Paulo normal schools, what did not represent equality of power among them.

To perceive the dynamics of power, it became essential to identify the subjects of history, particularly the figuration of a group of teachers in charge of implementing the 1920 Reform in Piracicaba Normal School. The group was characterized having as referencial the relations of interdependences between its members and the public teaching director Sampaio Dória. The members of the group were acknowledged from gradients of power produced in terms of pedagogic, artistic, literary and nationalistic political domains.

As an outcome, in favor of the execution of a curriculum of teachers’ training, there were interpersonal, professional and political relations on behalf of pedagogic innovations. Among the exemplary initiatives, it was emphasized the assumptions of active teaching, didactic autonomy and pedagogic practice proposed by Lourenço Filho. Such innovations could be identified in texts published in Revista de Educação (Faustino, 1921d; 1921e; 1922a; 1922b; 1922c; 1923), a journal of the Normal School of Piracicaba and Annexed, which was also a source of power of the group of teachers linked to Sampaio Dória to propagate pedagogic, cultural and nationalistic ideals in agreement with the 1920 Reform.

Translated from Portuguese by Ananyr Porto Fajardo


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19This paper results from the PhD dissertation “Escola Complementar e Normal de Piracicaba: formação, poder e civilidade” [Complementary and Normal School of Piracicaba: training, power and civility], presented to the Post-Graduation Program of School Education from Universidade Estadual Paulista “Júlio Mesquita Filho”, Araraquara/SP campus, under the guidance of Professor PhD Carlos Monarcha and funded by the Araucária Foundation.

20In co-authorship with J.L. Scotson.

21The State of São Paulo, from 1897 to 1920, operated with two models of schools for teachers’ training, that is, the model of normal school and the one of complementary school between 1897 and 1911, and the model of secondary normal school and of primary normal school between 1912 and 1920. In 1920 the primary and secondary normal schools were leveled (Honorato, 2015).

22On the life and work of Sampaio Dória, see Medeiros (2005).

23In 1920, the School Census organized by Sampaio Dória “disclosed that among 547,975 children between 7 and 12 years old resident in the state territory, only 175,830 were enrolled in public and private schools. A total of 372,145 children with primary school age remained, therefore, without receiving any kind of education” (Antunha, 1976, p. 185).

24N= Normal; C = Complementary; GM = Model Group; EMI: Isolated School.

25Born in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. He was an arts and crafts teacher at Escola Complementar Prudente de Morais in the capital, Itapetininga and Piracicaba.

26The complementary course provided in the 1890 Caetano de Campos Reform would have the purpose of deepening the primary teachings to fill the gap between the preliminary and the secondary education. However, in 1895 it was legally assigned to the competence of graduating teachers for the primary teaching. It worked like this up to 1911, when the complementary schools were converted into primary or secondary normal schools. Only in 1917, the provision of the complementary course annexed to a normal school was resumed with the competence to complete primary education and to prepare candidates to the enrollment in the first year of the normalista course.

27Joaquim of the Silveira Santos taught for 13 years in the Piracicaba School, being later removed to the Itapetininga Normal, having retired in 1929. He was a member of the Positivist Church of Brazil, patron in the Sociedade Amigos de Augusto Comte, officer of the Executive Board of the Positivist Church in Rio de Janeiro. He collaborated with the newspapers O Estado de São Paulo and Diário Popular, among others (Melo, 1954, p. 559).

28In April of 1922, Lourenço Filho moved to Fortaleza, where he directed the Public Teaching Reform of Ceará; he was one of the authors of the Manifesto dos Pioneiros pela Nova Escola [Manifest of the Pioneers for the New School] (1932). He had a federal public position during the term of Francisco Campos (1931) and Gustavo Capanema (1937), was the general director of the National Department of Education. Over all, Lourenço Filho became an intellectual educator with a vast and recognized work. For a biography, see: Monarcha e Lourenço Filho (2001); Bastos e Cavalcante (2009).

29In this paper, texts and reports signed by Honorato Faustino de Oliveira (this was his full name) will be referenced as Honorato Faustino, without the Oliveira, because this was how he signed most of his productions.

30On Sud Mennucci, see Giesbrecht and Monarcha (2007).

31On Thales Castanho de Andrade, see Stanislavski (2006), Vale (2009), Hilsdorf e Alexander (2013).

32Among them: João Dutra, Alípio Dutra, Benedito Teixeira Dutra, João Franco de Oliveira, Pedro Krahenbuhl, Manoel Prates, José de Melo Moraes, Léo Vaz, Jacob Diehl Neto, Erothides de Campos, José de Aguiar, Antonio Godoy, Octávio Prates, Francisco Lagreca (Elias Neto, 2000).

33Bloomsburry: a London neighborhood that, at the beginning of the 20th century, was known for the group of writers, painters and intellectuals that congregated in its squares, gardens and Victorian houses, among them: Virginia Woolf, her sister Vanessa Bell, E. M. Foster, Katherine Mansfield, T. S. Eliot, Maximum Gorki (Bloomsburry…, 2009, p. 4-6).

34He was a multipurpose teacher, responsible for several knowledges to be taught to the complementaristas students of one same classroom/year of schooling.

35Cf. A formação de professores: da Escola Normal à Escola de Educação, authored by Lourenço Filho (2001).

36One difference of the analytical intuitive method in relation to the intuitive method of the 1890 Caetano de Campos Reform is, according to Carvalho (2007, p. 228-229), that knowing would not happen in a boring and encyclopedic way, as knowledge does not end in the school, where it should be developed knowing for the efficient contact of intelligence with nature and through the exercise of the perceptive faculties.

Received: April 20, 2016; Accepted: May 05, 2017

Tony Honorato holds a PhD in Education from the School of Sciences and Letters of Universidade Estadual Paulista “Júlio Mesquita Filho”. Adjunct professor at the Department of Physical Education and in the Post-Graduation Program of Education at Universidade Estadual de Londrina. Member of the Brazilian Society of History of Education and coordinator of the Research Group “Civilizing Processes” - CNPq. Productivity grant recipient from Fundação Araucária de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico do Estado do Paraná. E-mail:

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