“…the school’s aim must be to form the views of those who are under its care; giving light to their spirit, more than to their craftsmanship, however skilled they are.”
Throughout the country, different educational institutions are carrying out a variety of actions that allow the implementation of the new pedagogies. Such is the case at the school Agreria de Guichón in the department of Paysandú. Through small but steady steps, this school has focused on the implementation of change which involves not only transforming the structure of the learning, but also the way in which the students are taught.
Preparation for Change
The school combines a management team that promotes new structures with a group of mentors who consolidate aspects that involve new leadership. In this way, the school has taken UTU (University of Work, Uruguay) projects such as CEF (Family Exploration Notebook) and looked to make not only the content but also the methodology work for them. They are supplying students with tools that they can use in a range of situations, not just in the classroom.
Through these proposals, they have allowed students not only to investigate themes that interest them, but also to deal with problems outside of school; problems that involve the development of skills, rather than their mere application to a particular type of content. While the learning process allows each group of students to use their own skills to solve the problem, student formation is always the underlying aim.
Promotion of Deep Learning
The implementation of a project of this type involves the commitment of various parties and the combination of a number of features including new partnerships, learning environments and digital leverage in order to construct activities which promote deep learning.
Throughout the year, the school has carried out a project called ‘Tell Me Your Story’ in which students attempted to resolve problems related to the care of water resources. They have researched and designed proposals, implemented actions, and drawn conclusions, seeking to meet their own goals. They have succeeded in creating their own environment, which is conducive to learning and which encompasses not only in the classroom, but also in their own homes, the institution’s surroundings, and even a small water resource.
All of this has required the creation of new alliances: firstly, between the students themselves in shaping their work groups; in turn with the teachers who ensure that the construction of the curriculum is based on the needs of each particular situation; with the families, regarding financial and unconditional support for the work of the centre; and even with experts who support the more formal aspects of the learning.
In summary, it’s important to point out that these projects involve the use of technology in a specific role, beyond being an end in itself, fulfilling a true role of digital leverage. This specific project involved the incorporation of sensors and applications for pH analysis and even the detections of the presence of organisms in the water. However, the technology was incorporated naturally and as much as possible was led by the requirements of the topics being addressed and/or the students.
“Teaching is an emotionally exciting, profoundly ethical, and intellectually demanding profession, whose complexity is reserved for those who are able to put their heart and soul into the classroom”.
Michael Fullan and Andy Hargreaves
By Nelson Carbonell
Mentor de la Red Global de Aprendizaje