Pedagogia da Positividade (Pedagogy of Positiveness): A Pioneering Publication in Portuguese

By Prof. Francisco Gomes de Matos, a peace linguist and educator from Recife, Brazil.

Note: What follows is a brief description in English of the book´s authorship, aims, and organization.

In 1996, Editora da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (Federal University of Pernambuco Press, Recife, Brazil), published a pioneering book in Portuguese: Pedagogia da Positividade. Comunicação construtiva em Português (Constructive communication in Portuguese). Its author, Francisco Gomes de Matos,a peace linguist,had coined the pioneering concept-term of Communicave Peace in 1993. From December 1992 to June 1995 he wrote a series of brief articles for the São Paulo-based journal Ave Maria, published by Editora Ave Maria. Most of such pieces and the addition of some new texts were put together in the abovementioned volume, which is aimed at applying the principle “Communicating well in Portuguese is communicating for the good of persons, groups, and communities.”

Among the four epigraphs in the book, one is taken from Dom Helder Camara´s book Utopias Peregrinas (Recife, Editora da UFPE,1993,p.64):

“The Humanizing Revolution has already started.It is based on truth and loving one`s neighbor”

Pedagogia da Positividade has 3 Parts:

I- Pedagogy of Positiveness,

II- Communicating humanizingly,

III – Other positive perceptions and actions.

Each part features brief (1 -3 pages) essays focused on specific applications of the author´s pedagogical approach.Thus, topics dealt with in Part I are: Reading, writing, interacting positively; using dictionaries and grammars positively; using the Portuguese language positively.

In making a case for a Pedagogy of Positiveness, Gomes de Matos states that although notable advances had been made in Pedagogical Thought (Comenius, Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Herbart, Dewew, Montessori, Paulo Freire, to name only a few), the dimension of positiveness had not yet been probed systematically, which inspired that author to propose a Pedagogy centered on positiveness. Interestingly, the adjective POSITIVE entered written English in 1250, while NEGATIVE made its written debut one hundred years later,that is, in 1350. Also of possible interest to those concerned with the development and growth of the concept of POSITIVENESS: In 1944 an American song was published with the title AC-CEN-TCHU-ATE THE POSITIVE (music by Harold Allen;lyrics by Johnny Mercer). Gomes de Matos recalls first having heard a recording of that popular song by the then acclaimed American singer Bing Crosby.

In 1955,during his first visit to the U.S .,that peace linguist from Brazil read Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking (first edition, 1952), which was translated into Portuguese as O poder do pensamento positivo. In the translation,the recurring of initial P enhanced the book title`s memorability. Curiously, the adjective POSITIVE does not occur in the titles of Peale´s 17

chapters. Another landmark in the history of Positiveness: The rise of Positive Psychology from 2000 onwards).

To return to Gomes de Matos’ book: Part II focuses on assessing individual/organizational performance positively; criticizing positively; treating the elderly positively; helping citizens become literate positively; cultivating a positive attitude toward the world; applying positivess to organizations. Part III features discussion+application texts on perceiving Brazilian culture positively; perceiving politics positively;watching TV positively; advertising positively; doing scientific research positively; knowing how to lose positively; living day-by-day positively (Interestingly, the current slogan used by the Coca Cola Company is “live positively”); being a positive tourist; using linguistics positively; learning languages positively; using Portuguese positively(a self-text).

Readers might like to know that the author has written a chapter on Applying the Pedagogy of

Positiveness to Diplomatic Communication. Such text can be found using Google.

Francisco Gomes de Matos


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