Immersed in experimentation, movement and play in Caudete

Planes, trains and cars, all transport are good and necessary to continue our route through the territory. Next stop Castilla la Mancha, Caudete. There we work with a group of masters very dedicated, dynamic and willing.

The first thing that caught our attention in the section of negative things or that impede teaching and learning in this school Gloria Fuertes is the rejection of students in the established rules, as well as any established or disciplinary order. Of course, and this is timeless, the students of this center do not even want to hear about homework.

In the curricular aspect the teaching staff notes a strong rejection before the more abstract or theoretical subjects that require a long explanation.

The teacher denounces a lack of motivation and interest on the part of the student, lack of involvement on the part of the families and an excess of judgment about their work. They repeat their work with this phrase: “do a thousand things at once, not enjoy the process and only think about the result”

For this team of teachers the textbook and working with it is something that neither contributes nor detracts, it is something accepted and its tool of work. It is not significant for them when it comes to developing their work the number of students, their ages, the type of classroom, its distribution or the heroism of it. They also think that the distribution of the schedule and the distribution of the subjects affect little to the development of their work.

Among the things that they like and that work in class, there are four main groups:

The first of the groups asks for movement, play, experimentation and the appearance of the performing arts within the class as a way of imparting knowledge. Everything that comes out of the curriculum is attractive to the students and they show it by getting involved and having fun in learning.

The second group stands out for the preference of all for teamwork and participation in class.

In the third one, the motivation and the aptitude of the teaching staff appear as a fundamental tool to approach the subjects. The good result goes hand in hand with naturalness, positivity and enthusiasm. The reward is that they enjoy learning and the satisfaction of the objectives fulfilled.

Fourth, the use of digital technologies as an educational resource makes its appearance, albeit timidly.

Something curious and that is outside of these groups, are the experiences and personal experiences of the teachers are attractive for the student and how they give good results when explaining a subject.

The most important ideas of brainstorming in writing, the Brainwriting, were the following:

  • Develop skills through tutorials so that students improve self-confidence and frustration in the face of failure.
  • Work the values through stories.
  • Talks related to social networks.
  • Sports competitions at break times with the rest of the courses to get to know each other better.
  • Share experiences that are motivating and enriching.
  • Teacher training to work with technologies in the classroom.
  • Search attractive resources such as stories and documentaries to see them in the classroom.
  • Experiments with laboratory material.
  • Cooperative dynamics.
  • Carry a points and rewards system to motivate the student.
  • Use of manipulable materials.
  • Coordination among all teachers for new ideas.

We visited la Marquesa School at Jerez de la Frontera

It was the turn of the IES La Marquesa de Jerez de la Frontera. This time, a primary school, like the Tàber School in Barcelona.

When we arrived at the center everything was rushed and a coming and going of teachers who finalized reports and projects for the next course. We knew that it was not the best date to visit a school and propose a participatory workshop based on tools of Desing Thinking and the performing arts. It was June 26 and it was also Monday.

In this case 15 teachers, went to the classroom that had enabled us on the first floor, around 10 o’clock in the morning. They came to participate in our proposal.

Desks, electronic whiteboard and another blackboard with white and colored chalk, air conditioning (this is the south) and we start with the presentations. We started with the story of Nani the wild flower and the silence fell. Everything was ready and we had to go into matter.

Throughout the morning we learned about the difficulties faced by teachers in their day-to-day work and how they empathized with their students.

Experiencing, manipulating through play and group work is what most arouses interest and motivation in the students of this center. We have some teachers who are especially interested in creative processes and who encourage their motivation to live the subjects.

We detect that they are constantly searching for new ways to capture the students’ attention, reach the same point but in less orthodox ways.

Neither the bureaucratic processes, nor the curriculum, nor the classroom or its distribution are elements that affect the day to day of the center. Nor does it seem that reading or doing class work is relevant to the student.

On this occasion I am going to distinguish between professors and students since we detected that each group had markedly different needs:

On the one hand the teachers claim that they lack time, due to the extensive documentation they have to fill in, to prepare novel experiences. They also lack practical training and material resources.

On the other hand, we detect in students a strong apathy before everything that involves an effort or an obligation. Thinking, writing, doing any repetitive work are rejected by these, which leads us to conclude that teachers and students are looking for and demanding the same, new ways of teaching.

The most outstanding ideas of the written brainstorming, the Brainwriting, were the following:

  • I worked in class to amplify it outside the classroom.
  • Encourage work with associations and organizations near the center.
  • Greater coordination between teachers and the exchange of ideas with other centers.
  • Remove all documentation that is not necessary.
  • Greater respect of families for teaching.
  • Begin the unit by discussing experiences of what they know.

Second School visited was IES Paterna de la Rivera in Andalucia

The I.E.S of Paterna de la Rivera, in a small town in the province of Cádiz, was our next destination. This time we would explore the dynamics designed with a group of secondary school teachers.

We arrived at a charming center where Pepe, an enthusiastic science teacher who had summoned the teachers of his center to participate in our workshop, was waiting for us. It is a reality that there is communication between teachers from different schools and that is why we come to this place.

We received a heterogene group of teachers with whom we learned a little further on the perception and acceptance of certain curricular contents. Each of our proposals was received first with expectation and then with enthusiasm. It was almost four hours in which the ideas flowed in both directions without stopping.

After analyzing all the documentation that we miss from the proposed activities, we take the following analysis.

The first thing called attention at the time of analyzing the activity of the “traffic light” in which we ask them to write what they think does not work in post-its roses, what they do in green and what they generate doubts in yellow, it is the teachers’ concern to approach the students, to relate and empathize with them. They aim to have good humor and joy in the classroom. In the same way they like to listen to the experiences and experiences of the teaching staff as well as to count theirs and feel protagonists.

Teachers find it difficult to capture the attention of students and to be able to motivate them. Surprisingly for the students of this center technology is indifferent and teachers complain about lack of material resources.

The curriculum continues to bore both teachers and students. The former find tedious the amount of bureaucracy they have to write to comply with the legislation and the latter shy away from the more traditional education: memorizing, delivery of works or theoretical lectures.

In this school the context of the center, its location or its structure is not seen as a problem, or even that some teachers have to do several kilomentros per day. However, if the itinerary of the interim teaching staff is a problem.

Although the students do not feel like surpassing themselves and give up when the difficulties begin, the teacher encourages them to achieve small achievements. They enjoy and “hook” to the subject when they work in groups and have to expose something, or when they go abroad or do laboratory practices.

The most important ides in the written brainstorming, or Brainwriting, were the following:

  • Give more weight to experiment than to memorize.
  • Work emotional intelligence in the classroom.
  • Integrate the center in the life of the town.
  • Activities close to reality and work fun news.

Our route through Andalusia continued!