Mexican youth and teachers united to discuss education in a pandemic

More than 100 Mexican youth and teachers from public and private, secular and denominational institutions, from different states of the Mexican Republic, met to discuss education in a pandemic in a cycle of three cyber gatherings organized by Scholas México.

110 young people and Mexican teachers, from 41 educational institutions of public and private management, secular and religious, met in a cycle of three cyber gatherings organized by Scholas México called «Dialogues: The New Education in Pandemic», the past 18 and 25 January and February 3.

Participants of the cyber-encounters «Dialogues: The New Education in Pandemic»

The global pandemic of the COVID-19 virus has caused schools to remain closed for almost a year, so access to face-to-face education has been completely restricted. Students have had to adapt to taking their classes online and teachers to prepare and deliver their classes in the same way. Without a doubt, a real challenge that has led to positive and negative consequences at an educational and emotional level for all of them.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Scholas Mexico has promoted the participation of more than 400 young people, 300 teachers, 200 parents, and 60 volunteers in more than 35 national, regional (along with the United States, Panama and Colombia) and international cyber-encounters.

These encounters have increased the support for the socio-emotional health of the participants, helping to reduce feelings of loneliness, nervousness and sadness, and increasing prosocial attitudes, hope, joy and optimism. These spaces have made it possible for participants to talk about their emotions, increase their self-esteem and their optimism in the face of the situation.

From Scholas México, aware of the enormous importance of this situation, we wanted to create a bridge once again to give the opportunity for both students and teachers to meet again, reflect and share everything they are experiencing during these exceptional moments.

During the cycle «Dialogues: The New Education in Pandemic», young people and teachers from states as diverse as Coahuila, Oaxaca, Jalisco, Durango, Baja California, Nuevo Leon, Puebla, Queretaro, State of Mexico, as well as as from Mexico City, had the opportunity to meet as equals and discuss the situation that each one is experiencing from their homes and from the place they occupy in this new version of education where they have had to adapt.

Participants from schools, high schools, junior high schools, technical institutes, tele-baccalaureates, community baccalaureates, universities, soccer clubs, and sports leagues were tremendously participatory from the beginning and interested in sharing this dialogue and listening space to the other.

Young people and teachers worked as equals, divided into groups in which diversity was the key, to dialogue, listen, meet and share. They were asked how they were living this moment, what challenges they were facing, and what they were learning from this whole new situation.

«I see the screen, I see a teacher with difficulties and I understand it. I see my reflection on the screen and I feel unmotivated. A year ago a teacher in front of me taught us, encouraged us, joked with us. Today he only teaches us, and I understand it, it’s not easy… (…) it’s been almost a year since I entered that school that generated emotions…” Kaled, (18), student from Oaxaca.

“Thanks to this meeting I realized that empathy is needed and, above all, effort by both parties to be able to cope with this new way of educating, so that it does not remain as a monotonous education, but as a situation that made us grow as people ”. Student participating in the Dialogue cycle.

“Psychological support is also needed for the students, because it is not something that is talked about a lot. Children were deprived of the power to live with their friends, and this is a very important part of their growth. It may not contribute to their academic performance but it does contribute to their personal performance”. Teacher participating in the Dialogues cycle.

During the cycle of «Dialogues: The New Education in Pandemic,» Enrique Palmeyro, president of the Scholas Mexico Civil Association Foundation, Monsignor Hector Mario Perez, Auxiliary Bishop of Mexico City, and the Dr. Amedeo Orlandini Zanni, Coordinator of the New International Program, University of Meaning, of Scholas, in Mexico.

The participants were able to contribute with their ideas and share their vision of the situation and were invited during the last meeting to reflect on what they dream of in education.

Mariana Salas, a participant in one of the groups, commented: “I dream of continuing with honor for those who are not here anymore and for those who did not have medical attention, because this is a privilege. With all of us who still remain, being honest with ourselves and with others, learning in common the language of peace, accumulating encounters and not just concepts; dreaming that history is «stories», and that the needs of others are a right of the community ”.

In the same way, Roosvelt Anzaldua added: “I dream that education is updated over time, that there is coexistence and is not separated into groups, that teachers stop seeing us as «a grade in a seat» and the institutes as «a number of account», that we realize that education is part of our life…”.

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