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South American Educators Meet To Redefine Their Sociopolitical Role - Articles Surfing

Soon, teachers and educators across Latin America and Spain will be attending the Fifth Ibero-American Conference of Teachers, Educators and Researchers ((Quinto Encuentro IberoAmericano de Colectivas y Redes de Maestros que Hacen Investigacion e Innovacion Desde Su Escuela y Comunidad). One of their objectives is to make teachers and educators authors of and protagonists for the emancipation of the educational process. The hope is that teachers can expand their influence beyond the limits of their school rooms; that they can mobilize and organize to the extent that a pedagogy of emancipation can spread beyond school walls and influence the socio-educational and political realms.

Participating in this year's event will be representatives from Argentina, Spain, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, and Brasil. Representatives and teachers from Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador and Nicaragua are also expected to attend and participate. The Venezuelan chapter will host the event this year. Its National Coordinator is Professor Mirna Sojo Sojo. She will be assisted by Maritza Lopez, Arturo Perez and a host of other dedicated and forward thinking educators.

While discussing the conference with Professor Sojo and when perusing the informational materials that have been distributed, the theme of emancipating the educational process is a recurring one. But emancipating it from what, some might ask? Could the answer be status quo governments? Many in the United States are convinced that the educational process is not geared toward developing people but controlling them and preparing them to perform tasks that serve the interests of government and big business. Apparently this train of thought is prevalent in other countries as well. Could it be that progressive educators in the United States can look to educators in South America for a measure of guidance?

The aims of the conference include deepening the interchange of experiences among teachers from the participating countries, strengthening the learning experience and teaching techniques, recognizing the teaching experiences that promote forms of organization, articulating proposals that perpetuate the production and sharing of knowledge between teachers and communities, recognizing the educational experiences that spring from the communities and empowering the conference's mobilization movement within the participating countries.

The central themes that will be covered during the conference are various but interrelated. They include:

(1)Exploration of what goes into making a teacher or educator. Taken into consideration are the teacher's personal, practical and preparatory experiences, and how they influence his or her ability to relate to and interact with those who are being taught;

(2)Exploration of practical and innovative teaching methods. The construction and development of curricula take front stage during this segment;

(3)Exploration of political projects that focus on what actions teachers can take to emancipate the formal educational process. How can teachers harness their power so that formal education is made more responsive to the needs of individuals within a community as opposed to the needs of governments and corporations? What can teachers do to facilitate the incorporation of multiculturalism, ethnic experiences, multiple languages and other such factors that tend to be neglected or trivialized by status quo educators and administrators;

(4)Exploration of emerging educational techniques and experiences; and

(5)Exploration of scientific and occupational initiatives.

The conference, which is held every two years, will begin on July 13, 2008 and continue until July 20. The organizers have separated Venezuela into fifty expeditionary school district routes. For the first four days, each participant will stay in one of these districts. Each district will accommodate between 15 and 25 participants, who will be able to meet with teachers and members of the community, interchange ideas and objectives and discover how to make community objectives a more integral part of the education process. Participants from other countries will thereby have the opportunity to actually experience what teachers and community members experience and emancipate the educational process by augmenting the role and relevance of community priorities. Attendees will spend the final three days in or near Caracas, attending workshops and meetings that bring most of the participants together.

In the words of Professor Sojo, 'As a consequence of this conference, we want to produce a document that makes a strong case for an educational alternative free of neoliberal and capitalist influences. A high quality, free education that is beneficial to our communities can be provided.'

The Fifth Ibero-American Conference of Teachers and Researchers is open to participation by non Spanish speaking educators, and translators are in place to accommodate them. For more information google 'redcires.'

Submitted by:

Mba Mbulu

Mba Mbulu is an independent educator specializing in the politics of history, particularly as it relates to people of African descent throughout the world. He is the founder of Aset University, author of several books and creator of an alternative education curriculum. He can be contacted at mmbulu@asetbooks.com www.asetbooks.com AsetUniversity



Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).


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