Work in Progress - One good teacher can change the world

In 2011, we paid for Luciana Garate, from Argentina, to teach (and learn) for a term at St James Juniors in London...
What happened next is inspiring us all at ERT...and inspiring all you kind donors who give us the money to get started.
Luciana went home to teach in a bilingual Catholic primary school, taking boys and girls for English and Spanish This February she wrote to us about the influence the St James philosophy can have.

“I applied the philosophical principles: I greeted every child individually, we paused before and after every activity. We took time to reflect on our virtues, and I encouraged applying them. I chose the best material for teaching, and I even encouraged healthy eating, swimming hard against the current!

Over the years, the impact in my class was very positive. The head and most parents were very happy with the effects. Children paused spontaneously at home with family, before playing sport, and even before surgery for a broken leg!

A couple of other teachers tried my ideas, but the impact in the school was, I thought, insufficient. I wanted the whole school to join in. But that seemed impossible.

And so I decided to quit. I would find something new. One day I hope to set up a school myself.

But the Head said ‘Please don’t leave,’ and he put me in charge of two weeks of pre-term training sessions with all the teachers...head, deputy, secretary, 19 Spanish teachers, 16 English teachers, five RE teachers, five art teachers and 14 PE teachers.

I usually hate the limelight! But I presented my alternative methods from St James, to inspire the teachers to renew their work in the school and with each discipline, with the welfare of the children in mind. We rediscovered our principles together.

So the school has adopted the initial greeting, the pause, providing a good environment, and teaching according to the children’s potential. Teachers now see teaching as developing children’s qualities in all directions, instead of merely transmitting information. They have worked as a team, meeting all together for the first time, and deciding together what they want to do.

The response and the feedback are really positive. One teacher said ‘For the first time in 25 years, we are considering the teaching of our students from every possible angle.’ Some teachers have asked if I can continue to run these meetings with them throughout the year.

In Nature Study, they decided to teach in a more practical way, so children learn from experience and in contact with nature. For syllabus, they chose to focus on ‘man in creation’. They selected themes almost forgotten by some – the elements, the origin of life, evolution, the environment, care of nature...

All of this is the effect of the powerful teaching and the many committed people making efforts for children around the world.

Thank you to ERT for allowing this to happen!”