This year 11 teachers from 9 different public and private schools and four departments of Guatemala, have joined the Teacher Development Program. As a pilot project, three teachers from the rural area of Guatemala were included in the program who assist the classes online. Despite the distance and sometimes weak internet signal, they were able to successfully participate in the program and achieve the empathy of their classmates.
Between January and May, the teachers attended 14 theoretical and 4 practical sessions where they were trained in public speaking, maintaining eye contact with their peers, body posture and the ability to persuade under solid and well-supported arguments. On the 7thof May, a semifinal and final debate between the participants will be held at CasaSito’s offices in Antigua.
The empowerment of the teachers throughout this process has been tremendous! They have strengthened their responsible and empathetic listening skills, the ability to formulate solid arguments through the various investigations they carry out on certain topics of interest, strengthening critical thinking, analysis, synthesis, and resolution capacity of both personal and social conflicts. And they have finally given voice to their thoughts and lost the fear of speaking among equals.
In the coming four months, the teachers will implement a debate club within their classrooms. It is estimated that at least 110 students from both urban and rural areas will participate in the activities. The teachers will be accompanied and supported during the process of implementation. The Program will culminate with a final debate festival focused on the topic of non-violent communication between the participating schools, in October.
Between January and May 2021, as part of the Teacher Development Program, a group of 10 teachers from public and private schools participated in a course on debating techniques that helped them to strengthen their teaching skills and abilities and enabled them to awaken their spirit of critical thinking, and lower their stress levels and anxiety provoked during the confinement.
In May, the program was implemented in different public and private schools with the teachers who participated in our program. A lot of enthusiasm and formative quality was observed in each of the classes that the teachers gave, since they used very creative virtual platforms for the facilitation of the topics. The students participating in the classes were able to build confidence speaking in public and expressing their ideas eloquently. Some participants even mentioned that it helped them to better prepare presentations for school, introduce themselves more confident during job interviews and college applications.
In October, the first inter-school festival was held, where the best students of 6 schools, a foundation and CasaSito participated. The event was a big success. 10 teachers benefitted directly from the program and indirectly 75 young people who had the opportunity to participate in a debate club at their school, were trained.
The admission process for the 2022 Teacher Development Program has already started. We are confident that this years program will inspire a new group of successful speakers.
18 months ago, the pandemic lead to an enormous disruption of the already fragile Guatemalan education system and suddenly obliged teachers, parents and students to new ways of teaching and learning. The crisis is worsening pre-existing education disparities within the country by reducing the opportunities of the most vulnerable children and youths to continue their learning. Many students, especially from rural areas fell severely behind in their learnings. Due to a lack of resources, education or time, many parents are simply not in the position of accompanying their children during homeschooling.
Debate is a great tool for engaging students and help them nurture rational and critical thinking skills, assertive communication, argumentation, research and public speaking. As part of CasaSito’s Teacher Development Program, the participating teachers initiated the second phase of the training with 75 students of different schools. They taught them about the importance of reliable and safe information sources, and have carried out activities to motivate the reading of local newspapers. The students learned to defend their ways of thinking with arguments, modulate their voice, have an open mind and heart, be more tolerant, respectful and empathetic, and to seek solutions through assertive dialogue and responsible listening. The classroom debates helped them to test their thoughts and views against the ones of their peers.
It is expected that the program will culminate with a final Debate Festival of all participating schools end of September.
Debate is a valuable tool for students that helps to build confidence in public speaking and presenting. At CasaSito, debate has been an integral part of its program for students from Middle and High School, since 2009.
Between January and May 2021, as part of the Teacher Development Program, a group of 10 teachers from public and private schools participated in a course on debating techniques that helped them to strengthen their teaching skills and abilities and enabled them to awaken their spirit of critical thinking. In addition, the participants learned about the importance of research on various topics of social interest and the foundation of arguments through reliable sources. The training culminated with a final debate competition between the participating teachers.
As part of the program, the teachers initiated the second phase of the training with students of their schools in May. Due to the pandemic, the classes have to be hold virtually. The teachers will provide supporting materials to their students in order to make learning easier and stimulate critical thinking. Depending on the government regulations, it is contemplated that the training will be finalized with a Debate Festival of all participating schools in September.
Follow-up support will be provided to teachers during the coming months, with additional workshops on debate techniques. Psychosocial support will be offered through individual follow-up monitoring and circles of confidence that will provide a space for the group and facilitate accompanying them during the implementation of the program so that they continue to grow as individuals through self-care and health.
2020 has been a tough year for Guatemala. Like many other countries, Guatemala has been affected severely by the negative effects of COVID-19. The pandemic took people's daily lives by surprise and forced them to adopt to new ways of life. The already fragile Guatemalan education system suffered a great impact, forcing teachers and students to switch to online classes. Due to the consequences of the pandemic, CasaSito had to analyze and evaluate the best strategy in order to continue with its program.
CasaSito’s Teacher Development Program, which aims to awaken the teachers’ spirit of critical thinking and leadership, was supposed to be launched in April 2020. Due to the restrictions imposed by the Guatemalan government in the wake of COVID-19, the actual operational part of the program had to be suspended. The group of 11 teachers participating in the program received an online pre-qualification course during the last quarter of 2020 that introduced them to tools of debating techniques and motivated them and prepared them for the actual program. In addition, the teachers participated in various circles of emotional and mental care online that have helped them to manage stress and their feelings in a better way which in turn will help them to support their students and families.
The actual program will be kicked off in January 2021. From January to May, the teachers will be taught in different debating techniques that will help them to develop various skills and abilities in order to improve their teaching process. Between May and August, the teachers will replicate the program in their classrooms and thus stimulate critical thinking, assertive communication, argumentation and research in their students. The Program is expected to culminate with a final debate festival between all students of the participating schools.
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