Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paolo Freire (1921-1997)

As the starting point of his theory, Freire choses the thesis " that humans are subjects in and with the world". According to him, consciousness is determined by the socio-economic and political context, and also by cultural conditioning through one's upbringing, education and religion. In other words, it is an interchange between economical and cultural structures.
In addition to that, he distinguishes the level of critical consciousness, which involves making connections with the socio-economic contradictions in society. That means looking at reality and recognizing such contradictions as a real fact.
The culture of silence is one of the most important concepts in Freire's theory. He explains that the oppressors overwhelm the oppressed with their values and norms, which effectively silences people. Therefore, in this scenario, critical consciousness must be developed in schools by educators who dare face these long term situations and make learners be aware of their own values and rights.
On the contrary, some thinkers state that Freire's ideas are utopical, and cannot apply to the present state of things. Social classes are strongly set, making the idea of equality almost impossible to occur. Nevertheless, it is our duty as teachers to educate people for freedom and responsibility to change the world towards fair opportunities.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Maria Montessori was the first woman physician in Italy. She worked very hard to achieve her goals. She started teaching children in 1907. Although the conditions were not the best, she found an alternative way to traditional teaching.
While working with her children, she realized that they learned using their senses, so she started to develop games and tools that allowed children to learn subjects like maths and language by using different materials.

Maria Montessori was a great educator and an incredible human being who believed in the human race and never gave up fighting the injustices of life. Having a sad and complicated life, she devoted herself to education.
Maria Montessori is a model to follow. The respect and admiration to other human beings, especially to children, is one of the things that surprised me the most. She is certainly one of those people who made a great impact on me. 

Friday, October 07, 2011

Freire is a brazilian educator who works with illiterates. He relates education to social issues such as racism, sexism and explotation of workers . It is very interesting his struggle: he wants the learners to be critical people who have freedom because they have learnt to liberate themselves from oppression. In order to empower learners, he considers dialogue and communication are essential tools.

When I read about Freire, I realized that what he asserts should be taken into account by teachers because helping learners to develop into independant self-regulated individuals must be a priority. If we help students to express themselves in a critical way, they will be able to modify the unfair society we are living in. That is why the activities that teachers plan must encourage creativity, freedom, criticism and social interaction. I have learnt that we should we aware of this when we work not only with adults, but also with teenagers and children.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

John Dewey (1859-1952)

Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform.
He thought that education and democracy are intimately connected. That's why he not only worked to improve education but he also cared about the well-being of the community.
He changed the curriculum center education to a student center education. He thought teachers should help children develop the character, the habits and virtues, that would enable them to achieve self-realization.
He created "The Laboratory School". This was useful as a testing ground for his ideas on education. In this school children learned throught experience and practical work.
What I learned about him is that it is very important to focus on the students and provide them the tools to help them develop as members of society. It is a very difficult task, but as teachers we should try to apply this.

Monday, September 26, 2011

On María Montessori

   There are so many things I have learned from María Montessori... In the first place, she was an extraordinary woman. She was definitely ahead of her time, a true pioneer... She was the first woman physician in Italy! Go figure! She devoted herself to special children, those who were labelled as mentally retarded or handicapped just because they could not adapt to the so called "traditional way of learning"... Having started as a physician, she then turned to psychiatry and finally to education. That encouraged me, because it is never too late to find your own path in life. 
   In the second place, she was also an amazing educator. She never gave up on anyone, concentrating on helping every single child´s development by all means possible. María soon found out that this "impossible cases" only required a different method to acquire knowledge and skills. And she made that happen. She created special material to stimulate kids´ senses in order to facilitate their learning process. Listen to your students, get to know them... Do not give up, there is always a way. You just need to find it. Try to create a friendly and suitable environment for them, and they will react accordingly. They will even surprise you!
   If you ever have a little time to spare, my advise to you is that you learn more about this outstanding pioneer and her fascinating method and remarkable life... You will not regret it!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

John Dewey

John Dewey was a pioneer of education. He tried to change the standardized view of education, which was curriculum-centred, and proposed a different view of education, which was student-centred. He created a special school called "The Laboratory School" in where he tested his own ideas of education. In this school, classes consisted of theoretical work and practice, and activities were based on practical experiences. He believed that the aim of education should be the realization of one's full potential and the ability to use those skills for the greater good. He also believed that democracy and school related to each other. He defined democracy as a way of living. That's why he believed that schools should help students to learn to live and to work cooperatively with others.
I would like to apply his ideas with my students. I believe they are the most important factor in education. I think a good teacher is that one who guides students and shows them the way in order to make them learn by themselves. In addition, they also learn how to learn.

Sunday, May 22, 2011



Although he is not usually associated to education, I believe this person is worth writing about. For his pioneer work in Coronary surgery, Rene Favaloro is considered one of the most important Argentinean figures in the field of medicine. Nonetheless, his achievements as a doctor are not the only teachings he has left to our society. This surgeon devoted his life to the provision of free, quality health services in Argentina. He was a man of immense integrity who preferred to share his knowledge with his colleagues in his country than becoming incredibly rich in the United States of America, where he a was very prestigious professional. He promoted the country’s growth by training young doctors in remote regions of Argentina such as Jacinto Arauz, and by fighting to get social equality in health services. I think his kindness had no limits and his example is a great teaching to our society. He left us with more than a bunch of celebrated feats; he taught us that we should work all together to build up a better society by eradicating individualism and irresponsibility.

Read more: Rene Favaloro: 1923-2000: Heart Surgeon Biography - Interest In Medicine Began Early, Returned To Argentina, Clinic Struggled With Financial Difficulty

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Who was Francisco Pascasio Moreno?

I decided to write about this educator when my little sister had to look for information about him for a school project. The name had not rung a bell for either of us but when we realised he was known as “Perito” Moreno, we knew he was really important in our history due to the glacier, the town and the National Park in Santa Cruz.
Francisco Moreno was a scientist, an explorer, an educator, a politician and a “perito” (which means expert or specialist) in Argentina. He was born in 1852 in Buenos Aires and he was interested in nature at a very young age. He founded a Natural History Museum in the city, he embarked on different scientific expeditions to the Patagonia and discovered many rivers, lakes and even Mount Fitz Roy. He is well known for the role he played when he defended Argentina against Chile in relation to the boundary disputes between the neighbouring countries.
Francisco was also genuinely interested in children education. He became vice-president of the National Committee of Education in Argentina and one of his main contributions was “La Obra Patria”. It was an institution of social inclusion whose main aim was to provide shelter to poor children to teach them school subjects and also different skills so that they could have a job later on. Moreno pointed out that if the State made the child go to school, then the State itself had to feed and support him when parents were not able to do it. Today, more than a hundred years later, this is something that still needs to be taken into account. Primary school and also now secondary school are compulsory, however, families find it extremely difficult to afford children’s education. Moreno later created another institution, the first Argentinian Boy Scouts Association. He claimed that it was a useful means of stimulating students’ interests in nature and of transmitting values such as honour, loyalty, humbleness and love.
Perito Moreno also considered that Adult education was of great importance. He presented two projects in the National Committee. First, he proposed building “Evening Schools for Adults” to give people the opportunity to learn skills and crafts according to their needs. Later, he suggested the project of “Schools for Cinderella” in which teachers could go from house to house to teach girls and young women who had to stay home to take care of their children or younger siblings. Consequently, what Francisco did was to provide adults with centres of cultural and practical learning to give a possibility to improve their individual growth. Now, this is also absolutely necessary in our society, especially for adults who did not have the chance to study before.
In view of this, we can conclude that this educator paved the way for further developments in education and also paid attention to key issues that still have to be considered these days. “Where schools and work reign, prisons close.” said Moreno.