lunes, 5 de noviembre de 2018

Unidad Didáctica para elegir representantes de clase con criterios de equidad.

En mi labor como docente ando reflexionando siempre sobre cómo profundizar las actitudes que conforman la cultura democrática dentro del aula.
La escuela es la realidad no hay un mundo fuera y otro dentro de la escuela. En mi visión la escuela debe parecerse a la no escuela. Comprender que enseñar para la democracia es hacerlo en y a través de las competencias para la misma y saberse modelo como docente me llevó a reflexionar sobre el modo en que los docentes solemos organizar la elección de las y los delegadas y delegados del alumnado.
Gracias a la asociación internacional de profesionales e interesados en la enseñanza Learn to Change. Change to Learn he podido profundizar en el método de la Sociocracia, método que busca dotar de mayor equidad a la participación. Tras adaptar los pasos del ciado método al contexto cambiante de mi aula y teniendo en cuenta otros factores tuvo lugar la sesión para elegir representantes tal y como la describo en este detallado plan de clase.
No hay más que seguirlo, adpatándolo por supuró a vuestros contextos y ayúdame a mejorarlo con vuestras preguntas y comentarios.
Gracias por creer que otro mundo es necesario.

jueves, 21 de junio de 2018

World Refugee Day, 20th June

Yes, a ship named Aquarius arrived in Spain. On board more than 600 people with a horrible trip behind them. It has become a symbol of solidarity for the tragic way in which the ship was rejected by the Maltese and Italian governments, causing the rescue boat to drift aimlessly for hours... until a change of government in Spain caused society to press in such a way that there was no other option for the new social democratic government that to welcome the Aquarius in Valencia.

Most people are celebrating how solidarity works.

I do not see solidarity anywhere. I see fulfillment of the commitments acquired with Human Rights. And these are universal.

Spain has still not accomplished with the European quotas for the distribution of refugees. Despite the change of government. Despite the gesture of the Aquarius. Despite Solidarity. Despite Human Rights. It is not the only one, unfortunately.

Every day the people, more wounded and more broken, arrive at the Mediterranean coast of Europe. And the European Union looks the other way. Despite its Prize for Peace!

I also saw children in jails yesterday. Apparently, the government of the United States is separating children from their parents to comply with an immigration law. And they tell me that it is not something new, this was already done during the Obama administration. Despite his Prize for Peace!

I do not see how a democracy can call itself as such, doing things like that.

For more than 60 years, Palestinian families have suffered the consequences of disastrous and inhumanly unjust political decisions and the repeated breaches of UN mandates by Israel.
And many of us look at another place because we know that writing about it, denouncing it, can frustrate our promising neoliberal careers.

What have we become? How does all this started?
People are not goods. People are people. Like you and me. And our families.

We are teachers. How long are we going to avoid this conversation in our schools? Whatever we do in our classrooms has impact, it matters. Neutrality is not like skipping the whole thing.

The struggle for the recognition of Human Rights is a universal goal that dignifies us as human beings. No matter where.

Today is World Refugee Day. What about to celebrate it by focusing in our classrooms on what matters? Further than a proposal, I feel it is our duty, our obligation as educators. When if no now?

We need empathetic adults. Our challenge as a school is to be able to give the necessary support to accompany and encourage the development of empathy and sensitivity of our children today to ensure that the adults of tomorrow do not repeat the actions that I have seen in those images, images that will not be erased easily from my head.

Today is World Refugee Day, talk about Human Rights, everywhere. They are universal.

viernes, 10 de noviembre de 2017

lunes, 30 de octubre de 2017

Taking Education for Democracy a Step Further

30th. October 2017

Arguing that teachers do not do politics, and should therefore not concern themselves with democracy and human rights, is like arguing that teachers do not teach. Our pedagogy is not neutral, and the way we choose to do things in the classroom has a direct impact on the world of tomorrow. The approach we choose to take towards Education for Democracy will also make a difference and it is extremely important for teachers to be aware of the different approaches and their possible consequences. Each approach is linked to a cosmovision/weltanschauung, that expresses a particular philosophy or view of life – the worldview of an individual or group. The goal of this article is to raise awareness of the different approaches and their advantages and shortcomings in order for you as a teacher to decide which one is the most useful for your aims and your specific context.

Before designing or agreeing on a particular approach and potential changes in the school curriculum it is crucial to know how to negotiate meanings about Education for Democracy and its contents. All education stakeholders should remember to clarify what they mean exactly before any proposals are made and agreements are reached in this respect. If we fall into the trap of agreeing without negotiating meaning, we might run into unpleasant surprises emerging from a different understanding of the basic concepts.

Education about Democracy

The classical approach to education about democracy is based on the rightful assumption that one cannot appreciate what is not known. Knowledge about democracy is transmitted in order to help students learn the structures of democratic systems. Through the acquisition of knowledge about their political institutions, students are expected get to know how a democracy works.

This is perhaps the oldest and most conservative approach to education that supposedly aims to foster democratic competences. However, such an approach is in fact limited to describing democracy. While some contexts may call for teaching about democracy, teachers and school leaders who limit themselves to this type of education about democracy, will eventually fail in their mission to educate citizens for democracy. The mere transmission of knowledge about democracy is not enough. Simply learning about democracy does little to empower students to bring about change if and when change is called for. Not to mention how credible preaching about democracy in a largely authoritarian classroom will sound. Our lectures about democracy in such a context can even backfire.

Education through Democracy

Democracy can only be built by democratic people. The focus of this approach is to help students learn how to develop democratic competences in order to contribute to a better democratic culture. Considering the crucial role that each of us plays or can play in democratic environments, students should understand that training in competences for democracy begins with the self. If we agree that each of us has a definitive role to play in any democratic system, we also have to agree on the fact that omitting this aspect from our school curricula means neglecting a real education for democracy in the deep sense.

Teachers and educational leaders need to understand the importance of this approach in educating students and managing educational institutions. It is vital for teachers to develop a sense of democracy within their own classrooms. The example they set serves as a model for their students. Initial teacher education and teachers’ professional development need to focus on the development of attitudes, skills, knowledge and values for democracy. The nurturing of such competences calls for self-reflection and reflection about how we teach and learn to acquire these competences. It is a question of learning through democracy, or rather through competences for democracy. No doubt, this is a more progressive approach than the one described above, but it still focuses on an individual’s strengths and weaknesses rather than the collective potential of a truly democratic culture, a kind of SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) which can be a very useful starting point but is in many ways reminiscent of individualism and capitalism.

Building Democracy Together (BDT)

The third approach focuses on building democracy together, with an emphasis on the word ‘together’.  It places us at the core of democracy, because we, the people, are its main institution. We are its framework. We are the democratic citizens who can sustain a democratic system, who can protest against its detractors and defend it from its enemies. If we have experienced this, then we know that we are not alone and that we should not be merely working for our own benefit at an individual level and on a private basis, but rather be busy expanding our circles to work for democracy in all contexts in solidarity with others. This sense of belonging is vital, because without it, change cannot happen. We must come together as a group in order to work for the betterment of society.

What does “Building Democracy Together” entail? Without a community, we focus on issues that have poor solutions or even no solution. Together, however, we can promote civil courage, respectful communication, speaking up for others, education and health for all, social rights and sustainability, collective intelligence and cooperative structures at school and in society at large. We can discuss strategies and advocate together for our interests, including learning how to defend public goods and how not to contribute to the criminalisation of social protests. We can also learn how to nurture feelings of belonging to a community with the responsibility to actively participate in discussions and decision-making not only when there are elections in our school, local community or country but on a daily basis.
Other vital aspects of this approach include using creativity to foster participation in the community and developing solidarity among us. It is also important to discuss real strategies to learn about our right of resistance and occupying spaces without any discrimination for any reason. Gender and ecology also appear at the top of the agenda together with many others which are usually addressed by the majority of advocacy groups and social movements.

How do we build democracy together in our classrooms? How do we support our students today, the adults of tomorrow, to reshape the world for the better? It boils down to each and every one of us, educators… How do we make a difference? How do you make a difference in your classroom? Articles in this blog often give us very good ideas. If you have some more, let us know on Learn to Change Facebook Page or Twitter using #BDT or #BuildingDemocracyTogether.

viernes, 23 de junio de 2017

How a class looks like is a power issue

Let me tell you a story...

When I arrived last September to my new school in Hamburg I found the classroom in which I had to teach to be ugly and very impersonal, even dirty. Students were still sitting in rows and there was absolutely no decoration at all. The room itself was not that ugly, it is an old building but has charme, but the classroom was lacking of thoughts about aesthetics and handle with a lot of negligence. 

I of course started form the first week to speak together with the kids about democratic aspects of our environment or about how our environment influencies our learnings and our access to resources. Yes, we talked about furniture, light access, where is the door, a bit of feng-sui and a lot of constitutional aspects of the learning itself. 

One day the principal entered the room and said,
"well having a teacher who is an expert in democratic classroom environments, (supposed to be myself!) I cannot see here any improvements"
In deed they were not any improvements to be seen. She was right. Everything was as it was before me.

Improvements were inside our minds. We have talked (kids and me) about issues, but when a decision had to be made, they were giving arguments not to change anything, so they have decided not to change anything, and I respected this, of course and did not change anything.

Democracy needs time and intrinsic motivation. So we did nothing. 

We were not convinced enough.

After a couple of weeks some of the kids wanted to change some things and they convinced two or three more, they did change their own environments, but I still did not press the rest of the group to change anything. Some others were saying that it was stupid to have some people sitting in rows and others in groups, but it was not my aim to have a perfect solution from the very beginning but to see a process in which kids were working on their own competences for democracy without being aware of it. Instead of arranging everything in a "perfect" way, I introduce the issue of minorities and how important they are for a quality democracy. Our minorities were sitting not anymore in rows, but in small teams, because they considered this could help them to learn better. The majority still wanted to remain in rows and they did. I showed respect as a teacher for both paces.

I was really proud of the kids, of all of them, of each of them.

In the meanwhile we read about democracy, we learnt some articles of the German Constitution, we even had fun learning them by heart ;) , we played a role play, a frozen poses session and we had some debates about furniture again and again. Some of the kids were very happy, for others were too slow, we changed the furniture approximately once a week and experimented.

Things happened in the following weeks. Debates have been taking place, kids talking with other teachers and parents about how democratic our classroom were and if it was at all (parents and other teachers told to me that they were thinking about our classroom) 

Well, after some time they decided by themselves to change arrangements and two of them with the agreement of all the class decided to do a project (we have once in a year a week devoted to a personal project for students, no classes, only the own project) having as aim: 

"to create a better environment for all of us"
I was exultant of joy! 

I could have chosen to change everything the first day, when I was shocked by the undemocratic elements I saw... or just wait and accompany the process of the students in getting to identify which elements were there to be progressively changed. I decided myself for the second option. This is why I mean, there is always power in each of our actions in the classroom, in each of our decisions there is power inside. Teachers who are aware of this and believe that sharing power is a gain for the learning community are the teachers who are a part of a whole picture.

I am talking about this issue with my Community of Teachers here. Everybody is welcome to visit and comment!

martes, 9 de mayo de 2017

En el blog de la asociación de profesores y profesionales de la educación a la que pertenezco Learn to Change encuentro un artículo muy valioso sobre el papel de los profesores en el cambio en la educación. Lo reproduzco aquí en una versión traducida por mi y por google translator ;)

Cómo pueden los profesores cambiar la educación
Pascale Mompoint-Gaillard

¿De qué hablan los políticos? Standards, responsabilidad ... ¿De qué hablan los profesores? Condiciones de trabajo, motivación, reconocimiento social ... ¿Cómo podrían las voces de los profesores influir con peso en la política?
Cada vez más, en el transcurso de mi experiencia profesional en los últimos 10 años, he observado que el carro de la educación es dirigido casi exclusivamente por los responsables políticos, más y más alejado de las personas que realmente saben de qué se trata: los profesores y los estudiantes ! Los fondos para el aprendizaje y el desarrollo profesional de los docentes se hacen más escasos y los enfoques de arriba a abajo se vuelven más intensos. Aunque desalentada por esta tendencia creciente, sigo esperando que la profesión docente pueda contrarrestar las ortodoxias dañinas empujadas por la política, el "falso sentido común", la comprensión incuestionable de lo que debe ser la educación y la escuela.
A medida que las inclinaciones neoliberales se hacen más fuertes en el mundo occidental, observo que a pesar de los repetidos fracasos de las políticas para abordar las desigualdades y promover la equidad, nos volvemos más reacios a aceptar la complejidad y la incertidumbre. Los políticos parecen saltar como locos sobre "lo que funciona ... y lo hace de manera simple", "lo que resulta fácil ... y barato", "lo que es medible ... y sobre lo que se pueden pedir responsabilidades.
Pero, como maestros, sabemos que la educación no es simple; Al igual que cualquier esfuerzo que involucre a los humanos en la reflexión, especialmente en contextos democráticos, los maestros saben que es un asunto complejo.

¿Por qué los maestros se dejan acorralar en ese papel de 'entregar' las políticas educativas, de currículo, de evaluación? y ¿qué pueden hacer para cambiar esta situación?

  • Yo propongo que los profesores tengan poder político al actuar de manera colaborativa y colectiva. Es hora de que este poder sea aprovechado para el cambio.
  • Yo propongo que los profesores, una vez que estén dispuestos a considerar sus creencias, actitudes y valores y cómo estos valores se vivan o no en su práctica, puedan reunir su coraje político para rechazar el credo del "todo debería estandarizarse".
  • Yo propongo que esa consolidación de las identidades de los profesores, complejas, moldeadas y remodeladas con el tiempo y la experiencia, es el ladrillo y el mortero de la posibilidad de construir a los profesores personal, profesional y político.

Entonces, ¿qué es lo que falta y qué necesitamos para que los profesores asuman su poder?

En primer lugar, una postura colectiva y colaborativa
Una postura colectiva y colaborativa es difícil de alcanzar en la educación. Los maestros pasan la mayor parte del tiempo solos con sus estudiantes en las aulas. Poco tiempo se dedica a trabajar con compañeros profesores, las habilidades de colaboración a veces se encuentran subdesarrolladas ... y la presión de los compañeros puede irse acumulando. Por ejemplo, he visto maestros tratando de implementar innovaciones en sus enfoques en la enseñanza para luego enfrentarse a la presión de diferentes actores: las autoridades escolares, el gobierno local, los padres, etc. Desafortunadamente, pero no sorprendentemente, una de las direcciones de las cuales proviene la presión son otros profesores y colegas. Los profesores con los que trabajo en la formación continua de profesores describen cómo a menudo se sienten confundidos por la presión entre sus iguales, los propios profesores. Observamos una variedad de tipos de este fenómeno:

  • Se forman grupos de profesores enfrentados.
  • Se difunden rumores sobre profesores que no son convencionales.
  • Se pretende un enfrentamiento generacional: la generación antigua se enfrenta a la joven o viceversa
  • Surge la competencia entre facciones que impulsan diferentes principios.

Puede ser complicado encontrar la manera de hacer frente a esta presión. Frente a ella, los profesores pueden perder su sentido de autoeficacia y agilidad. A veces tienen que aceptar convertirse en parias en sus escuelas, con colegas criticándoles. Entonces algunos reaccionan pensando: "No necesito ninguna confirmación de los colegas, sino de mis estudiantes". Se convierten en luchadores solitarios que como no pueden cambiar el sistema cambian algo en sí mismos. Ellos tienden a:

  • Desaparecer, observando sus pasos (como en un campo minado)
  • Mantener una distancia de sus compañeros ('no nos comprometamos")
  • Recurrir al sarcasmo ('oh estos profesores fosilizados ...')
  • Cambiarse de escuela
  • Contemporizar y perder impulso

Todas estas posiciones son difíciles de mantener emocionalmente, y las estrategias empleadas son en su mayoría solitarias y exclusivas.

We no longer do ‘window teaching’ now and we actually have stopped all teacher training and peer training in our school, because our efforts produced resistance, fear and envy among many of our colleagues.     C.B. Teacher in Germany
Vale la pena pensar y encontrar la manera de involucrar a otros profesores a nuestro alrededor en los cambios, para motivarlos a cooperar respetando nuestras diferencias. Una vez que los maestros están juntos pueden empezar a pensar en cómo influir en las instituciones. Colectivamente, los educadores, los estudiantes, los padres deben considerar que las instituciones nos pertenecen, y no a unas elites lejanas.
Esto significa forzar un acercamiento inclusivo con los estudiantes, los profesores, los administradores y los diseñadores de las políticas. Por supuesto, requiere coraje y determinación por parte de los profesores ... pero las cosas buenas no son fáciles de conseguir.

En segundo lugar, la cosa empieza por mi

Los valores son la base del cambio y la creación del profesor emancipado. Jean McNiff y Jack Whitehead escriben sobre la investigación-acción y los profesores como "contradicciones vivas": que es cuando un profesor tiene valores pero se involucra cotidianamente en prácticas que contradicen estos valores. Por ejemplo, puedo sostener el valor de la igualdad, pero, a través de la evaluación de otras prácticas, realmente discriminar y fomentar la competencia en lugar de la cooperación entre los estudiantes. Los profesores autónomos están dispuestos a abordar este asunto que les duele en la conciencia. Pero lo hacen silenciosamente ...

Muy a menudo, los profesores que quieren defender sus valores deben hacerlo discretamente, incluso en secreto. Es un hecho de emancipación y no de revolución. Cuando el sistema es difícil de cambiar, es el profesor individual el que puede provocar el cambio. Pero este profesor sabe que no está "siguiendo las reglas" de su institución, así que lo hace secretamente porque es la única manera de hacerlo. Los cambios en la práctica se hacen en pequeños pasos: intentas algo nuevo, ves el resultado; intentas otra pequeña cosa y así sucesivamente ... Tener un "amigo del profesor" que acompañe este proceso ayuda mucho.

Three people sitting together and willing to work together are a dream team and they can build a dream school. Don’t think of bricks and walls. You don’t want your students to be just another brick in the wall. Think of beliefs, values and attitudes… J. K.C., Teacher in Croatia

Tres personas sentadas juntas y dispuestas a trabajar juntas son un equipo de ensueño y pueden construir una escuela de ensueño. No pienses en ladrillos y paredes. Usted no quiere que sus estudiantes sean sólo otro ladrillo en la pared. Piense en creencias, valores y actitudes ...
J. K.C., Profesor en Croacia

En tercer lugar, construir el puente de lo individual a lo colectivo
Cuidar de las identidades de nuestros profesores para construir la fuerza personal, profesional y política y la agencia es el quid de la cuestión. Los maestros que invierten en su identidad profesional, y construyen capital profesional, pueden prevenir el agotamiento, y poner el sentido de nuevo en el centro de su vida y la práctica. Tales acciones construyen en lo personal y la fuerza profesional. Crean un puente entre "lo que hago como individuo" y "lo que podemos hacer colectivamente".

Cuando los profesores saben quiénes son, pueden conocer a otros que también saben quiénes son. Pueden unirse o incluso crear comunidades de docentes que valoran su identidad como fuerza, autoeficacia, autonomía y acción. Se vuelven "poco manejables". Dejan de ser eslabones de la cadena para "entregar" lo que se les dice, incluso si no tiene sentido, y empiezan a crear un aprendizaje significativo. Las escuelas pueden convertirse en comunidades de aprendizaje donde los maestros y los estudiantes son aprendices.

Es por eso que cuidar nuestra identidad de docente es una de las herramientas políticas más fuertes que tenemos a nuestra disposición para cambiar efectivamente no sólo lo que ocurre en el aula, sino lo que es más importante, lo que sucede en nuestras sociedades.

¿Eres un maestro emancipado?
¿Conoces su poder?
¿Puedes influenciar y persuadir a otros?
¿Te cuidas y eres capaz de cuidar?
¿Harás una diferencia?

Cierra los ojos e imagina. Comparte tus ideas. Discute.

jueves, 30 de marzo de 2017

Democracy needs democrats!

Everybody seems to agree: "Democracy is necessary to fight against the barbarism" Yes, but democracy needs DEMOCRATS, people who CARE and ACT. Talking about democracy and its perks is not enough anymore. It is time to LIVE and PRACTICE democracy.
How? Everywhere and at a radical way!
Democracy in order to be such needs COMPETENT people who are able to empathically not to agree...and from this starting point build together as societies and not as individual fighters the changes we want to see in the frame of a #newsocialcontract