Education is an important part of a young person’s life, so it is critical that those responsible for teaching young people have the necessary skills, tools, and support they need to facilitate impactful learning experiences with their students.
This was the idea behind a recent Passport to Success (PTS) training in the border city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas. It was a workshop for teachers from Conalep and Colegio de Bachilleres, two upper secondary education institutions in Mexico. During my 11 years at IYF, I’ve experienced and taken part in many training workshops. In fact, in 2014 I was certified as a PTS trainer-of-trainers and since then, I’ve delivered similar trainings in countries such as Panama, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Paraguay, Peru and Mexico.
The training in Reynosa, part of IYF’s Equip Youth Mexico program, was held in the conference room of a hotel. Thirty teachers were there to participate. In my experience, the teachers who take part in PTS trainings are most often enthusiastic about discovering and developing new ways to equip and support their students more effectively and dynamically. The teachers at the Reynosa training were no different. They were especially excited to be together face-to-face, not through a screen. Many of them talked about their different experiences and how they managed to overcome teaching-related challenges during the pandemic.
They practiced techniques for delivering clear instructions, using visual aids, leading small groups, facilitating active participation, and a variety of other techniques ... All of them embraced the hands-on aspects of PTS.
The conference room was organized with chairs in a semicircle to promote dialogue, exchange of ideas, and collaborative learning. Designed to prepare a cohort of dedicated teachers to become experts in delivering the PTS curriculum in their own classrooms, the workshop was led by Master Trainers Diego Méndez and Mario Castañeda. Through active, practical exercises and activities like role-playing and team challenges, Diego, Mario, and their team guided the teachers to explore, reflect upon, and develop new pedagogical tools for experiential, interactive education. They discussed and practiced approaches for facilitating learning through play, for example, which can create a dynamic experience for both students and teachers.
As a PTS trainer myself, it always makes me glad to see pedagogical theory put into action. As part of one activity, teachers had the opportunity to lead a PTS lesson themselves, with their colleagues playing the role of students. During other lessons, they practiced techniques for delivering clear instructions, using visual aids, leading small groups, facilitating active participation, and a variety of other techniques. The teachers were creative, letting their own imaginations fly. All of them embraced the hands-on aspects of PTS. Several teachers created cardboard signs with colored letters and attractive drawings--another activity related to teaching and learning through play.
The final day of training was filled with hugs and laughter. In addition to sharing teaching materials, colleagues from both Conalep and Colegio de Bachilleres offered each other words of encouragement and recognition for their hard work. They were proud of what they'd achieved together during the four-day training and excited to take it all back to their classrooms where they will teach their students using new, exciting, and effective approaches.
Grecia Andrade is Program Officer in IYF's Mexico Office.