Friday, 26 April 2019 15:11

Learning with Fun

Written by Juan Morales Agüero
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Learning with Fun Photo: Juan Morales

Enthusiastic people do not usually make good leftovers with routines. Repeat the same formula every day, reproduce the activities of the previous days, insisting tirelessly on this or that ... No, definitely that will never generate anything profitable. Each dawn must be the preamble of an act of creation for the contribution of best practices to our ways of doing.

 

Las Tunas, Cuba.- In the educational sector, no class should resemble another from the point of view of motivation, for avoiding tedium or yawning. It is not casual that the teachers who are most concerned about this detail are among those with the best results. Among them is Yuri García, who, at 38 years of age -11 of them as a full-time teacher of Secondary Education- sets out to collect in a book all that can be done about amenity in the teaching of History.

"The idea of preparing this material began to be born in 2009, when I was part of the teacher's cloister of the Manuel Ascunce secondary school. At that time, knowledge competitions among students were common. I was assigned to be in charge of the History's. From the first moment, I wanted them to be different, especially away from the routine."

The first step was to draw up a strategy in which motivation became the basis of amenity and interest for a better understanding of national history. His design did not include the common materials, branded as boring by high schoolers. Of course, he took into account paradigms of the time, such as the reality shows Encuentro con Clío (Meeting with Clío) and ¿Quién sabe? (Who knows?).

In a few days, Yuri had assembled the frame of the project. It consisted of a kind of didactic game of questions-answers and diverse exercises, directed to strengthen the contents with greater difficulties in assimilation. He emphasized those related to the four stages of Cuban history and the most relevant events that occurred in each one. To motivate, he related them to curious facts, and that caused the interest to increase. He also took into account local history. In the case of Las Tunas, eight mambises from this region fought with the rank of General in the wars of the 19th century.

MARTÍ, LAS TUNAS AND THE TOTAL HISTORY

As a member of the José Martí Cultural Society, Yuri would not had forgiven himself the fact of ignoring in his project the study of the life and work of the most universal of Cubans. Although the man from Dos Ríos never stepped on the soil of Las Tunas, certain circumstances relate him in some way to this region.

"In August of 1897, after a fierce battle, the insurgent troops under the command of Major General Calixto García Íñiguez occupied the former city of Victoria de Las Tunas. In that heroic battle, José Francisco Martí Zayas-Bazán, son of the Apostle, stood out as mambí artilleryman. It was great the courage shown by "Ismaelillo" from his cannon that he was promoted to lieutenant."

"Another curious fact is the first edition of a text written by José Martí by Manuel Nápoles Fajardo (Sanlope). It was a poem dedicated to Micaela Nin, wife of his teacher Rafael María Mendive. It was published on April 26th, 1868 in the newspaper El álbum de Guanabacoa -directed by our compatriot- and is titled A Micaela. It is inspired by the death of Miguel Ángel, the eldest son of the marriage. At that time, Martí was only 15 years old. "

Convinced that History, in addition to the events of a political or military nature contemplated in the study programs, is all the transcendental facts that occur around us, Yuri included in his project, among others, current scientific, economic, sports, religious and artistic topics. He also looked for space to talk about customs and traditions.

HOW IS THE PROJECT APPLIED?

"Almost all consolidation exercises are presented in the traditional way. Besides, they must link facts and dates, mark if a statement is true or false, solve puzzles, complete sentences ... Some exercises require not only relating, but also decanting what is not correct."

The presence of literature in the country's history could not be absent. Thus, linkages of certain genres with historical facts appear in a playful way when the poem to the figure of Che Guevara written by Nicolás Guillén is quoted, or that of the authorship of Rubén Martínez Villena related to "La Protesta de los 13."

"The project has already been implemented in several centers of the capital of the province of Las Tunas through "Movimiento Juvenil Martiano". It had an excellent reception at the University of Medical Sciences and at the Francisco Muñoz Ruvalcaba pre-university institute." Yuri assures that organizing these meetings is not complex.

It plans to set up several teams in which students are given cards with questions taken from the textbook of the subject, but formulated in entertaining and different ways. They are combined with others on general culture to establish differences in case of ties. The audience can intervene when the members of the teams do not know the answer or they are wrong.

One modality that tests the abilities and skills of the students is to interact with the teaching media. One case: the word "litigation" appears in a question. The designated student should look up its meaning in a dictionary placed near on a short time. They may also be oriented to find a passage in books like "El diario del Che in Bolivia" or in "La historia me absolverá." The speed and the result will decide.

"Another way to appreciate how children dominate teaching media has to do with cartography. A question can be formulated in the following terms: 'Locate on the map of the Cuban independence wars of the 19th century, the area where El Generalísimo Máximo Gómez Báez carried out the Loop of the Invasion'. And the person in charge of responding should be in front of the aforementioned chart and point out the exact location."

THERE'S STILL MUCH TO DO

"So far, I have assumed with my own resources the edition of this booklet, which contains around 500 questions whose answers are scattered in different texts. It includes topics of History in four parts, in its widest range. I would be extremely satisfied if any publisher were interested in reproducing it for the schools. Although it does not correspond to me to say it, I consider that it contains games and didactic exercises capable of making the subject more attractive and useful to the students."

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