Gustavo Cedillo is a teacher in Cuenca, Ecuador. He is one of the teachers in the region using ReAct Latin America’s school material Alforja Educativa – The Educational Saddlebag. The material educates children about the world of bacteria. Professor Cedillo has worked as a teacher for 37 years and he really likes using a holistic perspective in his classes.
What is the Alforja Educativa – The Educational Saddlebag?
– It is a material for school children that gives us the opportunity to change the perception of the relationship between humans and bacteria and proper use of antibiotics.
How do you use it in the classroom with the children? Do you integrate it into specific school subjects?
– In recent years I have integrated the Educational Saddlebag as support material in all areas of study, from health, sports to more exploratory lessons, turning it into a way of seeing the world – this allows a more balanced development of knowledge that also is integrated in life.
– The material that the Saddlebag is a very flexible tool by itself, the variety of elements and content allows to integrate mathematics at all levels through natural sciences in the different physical and biochemical interrelations of nature and the knowledge of its own body, in the development of artistic and literary creativity (aesthetic culture) with the production of stories etc.
What does the material consist of?
– It is a methodology with a structured set of tools, strategies and techniques that allow children to discover the natural world of bacteria and the balance needed to care for human health and nature. The material consists of a rich, diverse and harmonious set of guides, songs, stories and videos and is the result of a collective work over several years. It aims to expand knowledge about the microbial world, the proper use of antibiotics and bacterial resistance. The material also integrates ancestral knowledge, so new generations will have this knowledge as well.
What does the students think of the material? How do they engage with it?
– The different themes of the Educational Saddlebag have been incorporated in a natural and playful way into the student’s consciousness. During the first years of schooling the students are very perceptive and open to play, which makes it easier to capture their interest in discovery and exploration of nature, and most importantly applying it in the school and home space. In this sense, the students have been able to identify very easily, since the contents provided by the Saddlebag allow it.
How long do you use the material with your students during one semester?
– I use it weekly to illustrate real-life facts. The stories can be used and adapted, for example in arithmetics to perform large-scale calculations. In sum, its use is present at all times as a didactic element.
Can you see any change in the children’s understanding before and after using this educational material?
– Yes, I can see that participants developed knowledge, both teachers and students, and that there is a change in the perception of the microbial world.
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