Last month all of our educadores had a chance to get together for a professional development day, thanks to some great collaboration from other Starfish volunteers and supporters. We gathered in the new space in Flor to learn about critical thinking, and ways we can encourage that in our students.
Unfortunately the public education system in Ecuador is mostly based on memorizing answers and later repeating them on a test or quiz. Many teachers dictate from books and research often means printing out an article form Wikipedia. Here at Starfish we hope to change that. We want our students to be creative, to not be afraid to think for themselves, and more importantly to not be afraid to make mistakes.
Thanks to an excellent PowerPoint from Mary, a friend of Starfish, Jenn was able to present to the information to the teachers, and even practice some of the activities with them. Our favorite activity by far was when we had to invent a rap in groups about various school subjects.
We all have had experiences with a child who asks “why” and when we give them an explanation, it is followed with another “why?” In our workshop we learned to ask the students “Why?” so that they don’t just answer questions, they know why and how to think about and answers these questions and more. We also learned to compare & contrast, inspire creativity and motivate & encourage our students to have confidence in themselves and their ideas.
Another fun Starfish update – we will now call all of our employees who work at the tutoring sessions “educadores”. Previously “ayudantes”, we have decided that educadores gives them more authority and is also more accurate to their roles as educators both inside and outside of the classroom.