The “Biblioteca” project is built around the idea that education is not a single trajectory between a defined starting and ending point, but a more fluid orientation with varying starting and ending points depending on the strengths and interests of each individual student.
Though the case can be made for the need of standardized education with pre-defined progress markers, it is also clear that the standardized approach forces all students to learn in the same manner and progress at the same rate; with negative impacts on creativity, critical thinking, and the necessary flexibility for students who learn differently or progress at varying speeds.
Therefore, this project takes advantage of working with students in the afternoon, outside of regular school hours, to compliment the more rigid education they receive in the classroom with a more flexible model reinforcing reading comprehension, creativity, communication, and critical thinking by bridging these themes with activities based on the students’ interests.
After discussing their interests with students in Cochirhuay and based on previous experience in other communities, we came to the consensus that the workshops be built around the creation of short films – conceived, written, acted, directed, and edited by the participating students. The project curriculum is divided into four blocks: creative writing, script creation, theater, and filming and editing. In each block students are challenged to develop and utilize different skills which together serve as the base for reading comprehension. Students practice and we evaluate skills such as creative writing, character development, logical sequencing, vocabulary and punctuation, oration, etc. Students also edit and perform the work of other students, challenging them to read and understand the stories of their classmates. The students’ progress is monitored and documented throughout the project in order to show a clear model of improvement from the beginning through the end of the project.
In Cochirhuay, there are 27 students in primary school, ages 5-11, and 8 students in pre-school, ages 3-5. In 2014 the workshops are three hours long twice a week, facilitated by a teacher hired and trained by the Alma Foundation.
This project was completed in 2016.