Teacher training is crucial to the success of our programs. Teachers in Bolivia are not taught how to implement a curriculum based on play and projects. They are not taught how to allow for and nurture critical thinking. In short, while we choose our teachers very carefully (usually recent graduates of arts teaching schools) and pay them very well, we find that we need to provide a lot of training.
The program starts in February with a full month of “in-class” sessions run by our Project Co-ordinators and by Ian our Program Director. Ian spends on average two weeks in Bolivia in February or March doing teacher training and then goes into the field shortly after school begins to reinforce the teachings.
All of our teachers come to Trinidad on a regular basis for ongoing teacher training and of course, the Project Co-ordinators are constantly “training” when they are in the communities.
Because our communities are so remote and living there can be quite challenging it is unrealistic to expect our teachers to stay with Alma for more than a few years.
We feel though, that our training will serve the teachers well as they work in the regular school system after they leave us and as both Bolivia and Peru now request “outside the classroom” learnings and pay at least “lip service” to critical thinking, Alma alumni teachers will be in a very good position to deliver.
In this way, some aspects of the Alma curriculum are finding their way into the regulars school system.