Elisabete Ferreira

(D)Enunciar a Autonomia: Contributos para a Compreensão da Génese e da Construção da Autonomia na Escola Secundária


Ph.D in Education Sciences
Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, University of Coimbra, Portugal


Amélia Lopes


July 19, 2007


Curriculum Vitae



It is our wish to humanize the relationship among people in every context of life and Education, and particularly in school.

In the Science of Education, major importance is given to the thinking and questioning and the learning, supported by hybrid and paradoxical speeches, in order to bring back to education a scientific, critical and emancipated method of emotional rationalism and communication. By studying what has been said about autonomy, it took us to think about the school autonomy. We want mainly to understand the genesis, the fulfilment and the development of autonomy in schools, brought forth by the implementation of the model of autonomy in public schools (Decree-law nº 115-A/98). The present study is about the critical and understanding analysis of the genesis of school autonomy how it is used as a way of working in Portuguese schools, especially in secondary schools. Mainly, the research approaches the concept and the presentation of autonomy versus tension, conflict and paradox happening in the school universe, thus enunciating the possibility of a human agency in a suitable political environment. It is supposed that autonomy is modern, that people understand the concept through their own personal experience and also that school autonomy is being carried out in a late and critical modernism. That supposition takes us to sustain the simultaneous genesis and crisis of the school autonomy and also to point out a central place of a human agency for the development of autonomy.

From a theoretical point of view, and from an interaction perspective, it is, concerning autonomy, a change phenomenon. Subjecting to analysis the organization of a school which is complex and specific as well as a place of relationship and affection, we aim to discuss the educational organization, calling to the analysis for help in organization and communication theories. We intend to preview the autonomic issues through a development of vision in order to strengthen the communication, critical and ethical mind of educators, moving to a serious compromise of the school towards the students to create a democratic autonomous organization.

Our research was also to observe and analyse the ambiguities which exist in human interaction which were difficult at the time the school direction was implemented, from 1998 onward. When we studied the genesis and accepted autonomy as a crisis, we identified the autonomy as a demanding solution with many possibilities, with plenty of compromises among educators and politic understandings towards regulation and emancipation. To the human agency we make a series of simultaneous demands and work such as responsibility, will, knowledge and freedom. These demands should be carried out inter-acting: should be communicative (Habermas), dialogistical (Freire), wise (Hameline) and critical or changeable (Giroux). So, we advise a wise autonomy with an ethic of affection combined with free relationships based on subjectivity and respect for human beings.

Under this perspective of paradigmatic organization or social reconciliation, those who accept the leadership of school need to undertake it with civic courage and be able to mobilise and engage the different persons to turn the school autonomy into a possible and desirable solution.