Emotional education and active learning methodologies to overcome socio-economic gaps affecting cognitive development in Guatemala

During the month of March, the remote training programme for Fe y Alegría Guatemala school staff will conclude. This programme represents one of the main components of the project “Improving the academic performance and quality of life of vulnerable children in Guatemala: Comprehensive programme of cognitive and emotional stimulation, development of school gardens and strengthening distance learning in the face of the COVID-19 challenge”, implemented by Fundación ETEA with the collaboration of researchers from University Loyola and financed with funds from AACID.

At the inauguration meeting in September last year, researchers from the Department of Education at University Loyola, Paco Pérez Valencia and Jose María Barroso Tristán, met with participants from the 11 schools involved in the project to present the orientation and content structure of the training programme.

Professor Pérez Valencia was in charge of teaching the first of the programme’s modules, which under the title “Emotional Education” focuses on the emotional dimension of the human being, considering talent, emotion and enthusiasm as elements to be worked on for the professional improvement of school staff.

The second module of the course was taught by Professor José María Barroso, who addressed learning through active methodologies (project-based learning, discovery learning, gamification and cooperative learning), as a means of connection for the motivation of students.

A psycho-pedagogical proposal to reduce educational gaps

Structured in 6 thematic blocks to be developed during the months of September 2022 to April 2023, this remote learning programme has a trainer of trainers format, thus promoting the subsequent cascade training to other staff.

The training of staff from Fe y Alegría Guatemala’s psycho-pedagogical coordination teams, as well as management and teaching teams from the schools involved and other centres in the network, is a central part of a proposal that addresses content related to cognitive and emotional development, as well as the practical skills necessary for the implementation of the stimulation programme and pre/post-intervention assessments.

The initiative is based on collaboration between institutions, exporting innovative methodologies that are jointly adapted to the local context (based on previous studies), and on the active participation of the actors, with the aim of generating capacities to reduce the educational gap caused by socio-economic differences in households and aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project in which the course is framed pursues the implementation of a programme of cognitive and emotional stimulation for 500 children in 5th grade of primary school, together with the establishment of school gardens that contribute to diversifying and enriching the diet of the pupils of the 11 participating centres.