Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Community Engagement Division
As briefly presented elsewhere (my other paper submitted to CED), in the early 2000’s a particular form of engineering practice emerged in Brazil. It is called grassroots engineering (GE) and conjugates the social technology and solidary economy different but complimentary movements. Currently, there are two main branches in GE, namely “popular education” and “activity ergonomics”, which are mostly undertaken, as community engagement activities, in (and by) structured and institutionalized permanent university groups of students and teachers.
GE is one of the latest university offspring of Paulo Freire’s pedagogy of the opressed. It is precisely from Freire’s ideas that GE takes not only part of its own name (grassroots or popular), but also the fundamentals of its very working. Based on that, back in 2008, three engineers coined a concept that became the identification of a professional profile capable of GE: grassroots engineer. Profile that, in addition to the regular technical skills and knowledge usually developed/learned in the engineering courses, also encompasses capacity of: empathy and commitment, dialoguing, critical sense, and openness to learn from local (or grassroots/traditional) knowledge. And profile for whose achievement there have been developed different pedagogic approaches and activities in many Brazilian universities.
In this manuscript, after presenting a brief account on grassroots engineering’s historic and two main branches, I will: 1) analyze the four non-technical grassroots engineer skills, making explicit its Freirian roots; 2) present the three main engineering education approaches (and corresponding activities) aimed at the development of (part of) grassroots engineer’s skills; and 3) highlight strengths and weaknesses of each one of them as well as challenges they (still) have to face so to deliver the result they want to.
For doing so, I will manly draw on academic papers, some institutional documents, and my personal perception as a member of the GE network.
Cruz, C. C. (2020, June), Brazilian Grassroots Engineer’s Education: Achievements, Flaws, and Challenges Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34223
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