Posts Tagged 'Kelsie Lamb'

Educating the Elite: Kelsie Lamb

This summer, seven of our undergraduate teacher education students and one intrepid faculty member are spending a month in Peru studying the educational system and discussing their own philosophies of education. They are writing and reflecting on their journey, and we are following along! Read on for excerpts and blurbs from Dr. Gibson and the students’ blogs. You can read more on Marquette Meets Peru and check back for updates here.  

Kelsie Lamb

Privileged children do not have to deal with the everyday realities of inequality and systematic oppression; therefore, educating them so that they care about their less fortunate neighbors can be difficult.

During the past two weeks in Peru, we have visited two privileged private schools, Colegio Roosevelt and Colegio de La Inmaculada. I was impressed by the schools’ resources (which included 3D printers and an actual zoo), but I also felt a bit uneasy knowing that these schools have so much while those in the surrounding areas must make do with so little. In the case of La Inmaculada, a wall separates them from the impoverished people living on the other side of the hill. This trend of “walls of shame” is common throughout Lima, as highlighted in this piece by Belen Desmaison. When we visited one of the neighborhoods that has been sectioned off by walls, Pamplona Alta, my classmates and I talked about what a fair and just education would look like for students who struggle to have their basic needs met. Grappling with these ideas was not easy, but now that we have spent a week in one of the schools on the wealthy side of the fence, I have started to realize that crafting a curriculum that promotes social justice and equality within elite schools comes with its own set of challenges. Privileged children do not have to deal with the everyday realities of inequality and systematic oppression; therefore, educating them so that they care about their less fortunate neighbors can be difficult. With my experience at La Inmaculada in mind, I can start to think about a just education for the elite and the roles of privileged schools in an unequal society.

As mentioned, one of the challenges in educating privileged students is their ignorance of inequality. As Ruben Gaztambide-Fernandez and Adam Howard write in their piece “Social Justice, Deferred Complicity, and the Moral Plight of the Wealthy,” “individuals with economic privilege have little awareness of economic oppression and sometimes deny that it even exists.” Because of this, a just education for the global elite should include first-hand encounters with widespread economic and educational disparities, bringing students face-to-face with the realities that are radically different from their own. La Inmaculada and Colegio Roosevelt both try to do this in various ways. For example, Colegio Roosevelt has monthly events that bring together their students with the children of their support staff; and La Inmaculada participates in “student exchanges” in which they come together with students from Pamplona Alta’s Fe y Alegria school for a day of activities and friendship building. Of course, simply making students aware of widespread inequality is not enough. It is also important for educators to teach students about why many people do not have equal access to resources. Much of the world’s privileged population believes that poverty is the fault of the poor. A truly just curriculum, especially in elite private schools, would explore how social and economic disparity is the result of hundreds of years of oppression and inequality. This is obviously a difficult topic to discuss with children, but student-friendly resources can help teachers facilitate this conversation, such as Susan Gage’s illustrated textbook Colonialism in the Americas: A Critical Look, which explores how some modern-day issues are the consequences of colonialism. I believe it is important for educators of the elite to expose their students to the causes and realities of modern-day poverty and injustice.

Once students are made aware of widespread disparities, it is also important for educators of privileged youth to use this knowledge productively. Often, when exposed to the realities of oppression, the privileged “may feel inadequate, powerless, overwhelmed, or hopeless to bring about change,” as Gaztambide-Fernandez and Howard describe. To avoid this, educators should foster students’ desire to work toward social justice. One of the ways this can be done is through the promotion of diversity and inclusion. In the piece “Diversity and Inclusion: Toward a Curriculum for Human Beings,” Maxine Greene writes that as students of various backgrounds are brought into contact with another, sharing their experiences and stories, “It is at moments like these that persons begin to recognize each other and, in the experience of recognition, feel the need to take responsibility for one another.” La Inmaculada’s “student exchanges” are a good way to bring students and teachers of various backgrounds together in a collaborative, meaningful way. Another way to help motivate students to work towards justice is by giving examples of people and programs that are helping the impoverished communities. For example, El Agustino’s Casitas Social Project has a variety of arts and sports related extra-curricular activities for students living in the hillside communities. My classmates and I were able to spend a few Saturdays and afternoons at various Casitas sites and witnessed the important developmental and social work that Casitas is doing. In addition, many of the older students from La Inmaculada work with Casitas, organizing activities and volunteering. Casitas’ relationship with the students of La Inmaculada is a good example of how students can be not only aware of social issues, but also actively work towards providing solutions.

Within this discussion of a just education for the global elite comes some ideas about the role of privileged school communities in an unequal society. While school trips to build houses or playgrounds in impoverished areas may seem like a good way to get students active and promote justice, this type of service is not always enough, as described by Jacob Kushner in his article “The Voluntourist’s Dilemma.” I believe it is important for privileged schools to do more than occasional charity work, and instead focus on promoting justice. Schools should frame their curriculum and philosophy around a mission or vision that promotes social justice. As a Jesuit school, La Inmaculada’s pedagogy is guided by the Jesuit ideals of “men and women for others” and “agents for change.” Colegio Roosevelt is not a religious school, but their mission statement calls for their students to “lead lives of integrity and create socially responsible solutions.” Having these socially-oriented goals is important to creating a just education for the elite. Privileged schools should go beyond activities and programs that provide short-term solutions for their surrounding communities; they should also embrace a justice-oriented curriculum that will (hopefully) produce socially-aware students who can think critically, problem-solve, and create sustainable solutions to promote equality.

La Inmaculada, Freire, and Dewey: Kelsie Lamb

This summer, seven of our undergraduate teacher education students and one intrepid faculty member are spending a month in Peru studying the educational system and discussing their own philosophies of education. They are writing and reflecting on their journey, and we are following along! Read on for excerpts and blurbs from Dr. Gibson and the students’ blogs. You can read more on Marquette Meets Peru and check back for updates here.  

Kelsie Lamb

Therefore, the lesson required input from the students based on their experiences. Underlying this lesson was the belief that students have knowledge and experience that are valuable and useful to their learning.

I ended my last blog post by talking a little bit about Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and how his beliefs regarding the goals and methods of education relate to the marginalized areas we visited last week: Pamplona Alta and El Agustino. In contrast to these communities, our field placement for this week is at La Inmaculada, a Jesuit-run private school neighboring the Pamplona Alta. Despite this clear example of disparity and social inequality, I was excited by La Inmaculada. When we first entered the school’s gates, I thought we had taken a wrong turn and ended up at a zoo. However, our professor informed us that the deer, alligators, bears, jaguars, and other creatures all belonged to the school! In addition to the zoo, La Inmaculada has multiple fields and gymnasiums, playground equipment, well-decorated classrooms, and computer labs. La Inmaculada is a private school run by Jesuits. From our first two days at La Inmaculada, I can see how their goals and practices compare to the ideas of the seminal writings of both Paolo Freire and John Dewey.

Freire emphasizes the humanizing and liberating characteristics of a problem-posing education in his Pedagogy of the Oppressed. La Inmaculada tuition is not cheap, which would indicate that many of its students come from privileged families and may not be included among Freire’s idea of “oppressed.” Still, I think that Freire would approve of some of the methodology and philosophy behind La Inmaculada. For example, when discussing education’s importance in the humanization of the oppressed, Freire writes, “The pursuit of full humanity, however, cannot be carried out in isolation or individualism, but only in fellowship and solidarity.” The mission of La Inmaculada includes “building bridges” between their students and students from the surrounding communities. Through student exchanges, service opportunities, and program planning, Inmaculada students are brought “face-to-face” with realities that look radically different from their own. Underlying these interactions is the promotion of love and solidarity and the hope that Inmaculada students will use their resources to become “men and women for others” — a truly Jesuit ideal.

Beyond La Inmaculada’s mission and goals, the actual educational practices I have observed also align with some of Freire’s ideas. For example, he strongly renounces the “banking model” of education, in which teacher simply deposit information into students. Instead, the curriculum should be a problem-based collaboration between students and teachers. The fourth grade English lessons I observed, while not problem-based, did mark a shift away from the banking, authoritarian model of education. The students were learning how to conjugate verbs in the simple past tense. Instead of dictating a list of regular and irregular verbs and drilling students, as would be typical in a banking model of education, my cooperating teacher framed this grammar concept around a discussion of what life and technology was like in the past. Therefore, the lesson required input from the students based on their experiences. Underlying this lesson was the belief that students have knowledge and experience that are valuable and useful to their learning. Further, my cooperating teacher is moving away from the authoritarian approach to teaching by developing personal relationships with his students: the students call him by his first name, they are comfortable asking questions, and he and his colleagues have lunch with their students. My cooperating teacher maintains respect and order, but also emphasizes learning as a partnership between the students and teacher. While I think Freire himself would have liked to see more authentic problem-based lessons that emphasize social structures, these are some examples of how Freirean ideas can be put into practice.

Like Freire, John Dewey, another influential educational writer, emphasizes the importance of children’s input. In his book School and Society, Dewey says that education in which students simply listen is not beneficial to the development of the child — studying lessons out of a book “marks dependency of one mind upon another,” he says. Like Freire, Dewey disapproves of the authoritarian model of education and emphasizes the importance of students’ input and experience. I think Dewey would be excited by the mission and practices of La Inmaculada. For example, the on-site zoo provides students with opportunities to have first-hand experiences with animals and important discussions surrounding preservation and animal rights. In addition, the zoo and other physical spaces on La Inmaculada’s campus provide students with the space to engage in different types of activities and experiences, which Dewey says is important. Further the English lessons I observed build upon students’ natural curiosity and prior knowledge, using the big question “How does life in the past compare to today?” to teach the past tense through discussions about evolving technology and the differing roles of boys and girls in the past. In Experience and Education, Dewey is careful to emphasize that experiences that promote individual, moral, and social growth are the experiences worth having. It is the job of the teacher to curate experiences that help students grow in these areas. Throughout their education, Inmaculada students have opportunities to engage in social-emotional learning. In addition, Dewey believes education should emphasize the human experience and build on it to help students understand their role in society. La Inmaculada does this by exposing students to the poverty that surrounds their schools and motivating them to become “agents of change.”

La Inmaculada’s beliefs about education reflect the growing movement away from traditional lecture, workbook-based curriculum towards curriculum that is more child-centered and inquiry-based. La Inmaculada places emphasis on the social, emotional, creative, and physical development of their students, showing that their ideas regarding the goals of education go beyond simply the traditional subjects of reading, writing, and math. Further, despite being a well-resourced school, La Inmaculada’s vision does not ignore the social disparities and economic inequalities that surround the school’s walls. Instead, they both expose their students to this reality and actively encourage them to get involved and bring about positive change. Beyond simply educating students who will go on to university and get good jobs, La Inmaculada hopes to promote socially-aware students that will use their advantages to help those around them.

Approaches to Social Change: Kelsey Lamb

This summer, seven of our undergraduate teacher education students and one intrepid faculty member are spending a month in Peru studying the educational system and discussing their own philosophies of education. They are writing and reflecting on their journey, and we are following along! Read on for excerpts and blurbs from Dr. Gibson and the students’ blogs. You can read more on Marquette Meets Peru and check back for updates here.  

Kelsie Lamb

Instead of simply labeling communities like Pamplona Alta as “broken” or “disadvantaged,” social initiatives, like those working to install fog catchers and composting toilets, have recognized that these communities have assets that can be used to their advantage.

On Wednesday, my classmates and I visited Pamplona Alta, one of the poorest communities in Lima. Like the homes in El Agustino, the small houses are built on the unstable hills surrounding the city, and an earthquake would prove to be disastrous. While there is no shortage of dogs in Pamplona Alta, the people who live there often lack basic needs, such as access to water, electricity, sanitation, and healthcare. Because the homes are so high up and the winding “roads” are hard to navigate, it is difficult for goods and services to be easily transported. Many of the houses are accessible only by precarious stairs, leaving the elderly and the disabled confined to their homes. There are no water pipes, so water trucks must refill barrels, costing the residents of Pamplona Alta much more soles than what the people in the center of Lima pay. The only school can be very difficult for students from the other sides of the hills to reach, and classrooms often sit empty because there are not enough teachers. The situation in Pamplona Alta may seem bleak, but there are various initiatives and programs designed to help combat some of the problems the residents face.

While the people in Pamplona Alta and other places like it may face many challenges, there are a number of community-based assets that organizers are using to approach social change. When discussing ways to help marginalized youth succeed in school in the article “Lessons from Teachers,” Lisa Delpit writes about the importance of recognizing and utilizing the assets students and communities already have. Organizers are using this strategy as they find new ways to improve Pamplona Alta. For example, the hills of Pamplona Alta are covered in fog for most of the year. “Fog catchers” have been built on some of these hills, capturing the mist that the residents can then use for farming and cleaning. These mechanisms provide cost-effective access to water and are able to operate because of the hardworking community members who take pride in and maintain the fog nets. The Pamplona Alta residents’ sense of pride is seen in other areas as well. For example, some of the families have “baños secos” — composting toilets. These toilets provide alternatives to outhouses that can be difficult to access and help improve sanitation without relying on water. Those who have these toilets take pride in knowing that their family has a private bathroom and that it is environmentally friendly. And with the compost, they can fertilize the plants that decorate their homes. Instead of simply labeling communities like Pamplona Alta as “broken” or “disadvantaged,” social initiatives, like those working to install fog catchers and composting toilets, have recognized that these communities have assets that can be used to their advantage.

In addition to initiatives for social improvements, there have also been programs designed towards promoting educational change. Susan B. Neuman lays out seven principles that will help break the cycle of poverty in her book Changing the Odds for Children at Risk. The first principle she addresses is targeting, saying “the children who are most likely to benefit from interventions are those who are at greatest risk.” This seems like common sense, but too often the students who are most in need are not receiving the types of interventions that would be most beneficial. However, in Lima there are some initiatives designed to help students in impoverished areas. For example, the organization La Casita coordinates a series of afterschool and weekend programs in El Agustino. These art, music, and sport activities are located throughout El Agustino, including in some of the hillside neighborhoods. Children who live in the highest areas of the hills are the ones who have the most limited access to resources, so they would greatly benefit from these types of activities. La Casita targets these students to help meet some of their needs by providing a safe place for children to go after school and on the weekends. Targeting can also be seen in the form of certain types of compensatory education, as described in “Compensatory Education: United States, Policies, and Programs in Latin America.” One type of compensatory policies “support differentiated forms of treatment for low-income children in recognition of their unique needs and characteristics.” Therefore, the focus is not on achieving equal educational outputs, but on providing students with relevant and meaningful opportunities to support “equality of life chances.” This piece describes the Fe y Alegria schools throughout Latin America as an example of this approach. The Fe y Alegria II that we will be working in during our third week offers sewing and woodworking classes, in addition to traditional courses. This type of education provides students with both the academic and practical skills that will be helpful in their lives.

Through our readings and discussions, we have explored various approaches to educational and social change, including those discussed above. However, one of the most influential pieces of literature regarding teaching marginalized youth is Paolo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.” In his piece, Freire advocates for a problem-based education — curriculum that encourages children to ask questions, particularly about the structure of society and how those in power continue to oppress the marginalized. Freire cautions teachers against seeing students as simply passive “containers” that need to be filled with knowledge; teachers also should not act as authoritarian figures. Instead, the relationship between teachers and students should be a reciprocal one, and content should be based on inquiry and collaborative studies. In the contexts of Pamplona Alta and El Agustino, Freire’s philosophical pedagogy is particularly applicable because these students are on the margins of society and face challenges that are the results of systematic oppression. Freire would argue that problem-based education would allow these students to “overcome authoritarianism,” increase their humanity, and contribute towards their liberation. As we spend more time in El Agustino and Fe y Alegria II, I will be on the look out to see if and how teachers are employing Freire’s pedagogy to help their students.

Considering “High Quality Education”: Kelsie Lamb

This summer, seven of our undergraduate teacher education students and one intrepid faculty member are spending a month in Peru studying the educational system and discussing their own philosophies of education. They are writing and reflecting on their journey, and we are following along! Read on for excerpts and blurbs from Dr. Gibson and the students’ blogs. You can read more on Marquette Meets Peru and check back for updates here.  

Kelsie Lamb

“The failure to give all students these new skills leaves today’s youth and our country at an alarming competitive disadvantage. Schools haven’t changed; the world has. And so our schools are failing.”

What one believes makes a school “high quality” depends on what one thinks the goal of education is. For example, in the book The Global Achievement Gap, Tony Wagner says that U.S. schools are failing because they are not teaching students the skills they need to compete in the 21st century. These skills include critical thinking, problem solving, adaptability, and imagination. According to Wagner, “The failure to give all students these new skills leaves today’s youth and our country at an alarming competitive disadvantage. Schools haven’t changed; the world has. And so our schools are failing.” In Wagner’s opinion, high quality schools are those that are preparing students to enter the increasingly competitive, changing workforce. In contrast, Harvey Kantor and Robert Lowe would argue that what constitutes a quality education is not about preparing students to compete in today’s workforce, but about equality and liberation. In their paper “Reflections on History and Quality Education,” Kantor and Lowe argue that examples of quality education in the past are very limited. They give a few examples of schools that did provide their idea of a quality education, such as John Dewey’s Laboratory School, which the authors call an “extraordinary effort in progressive education.” But since their paper takes a historical approach, little is said about what the present and future of quality education should look like. There is not a definitive, undisputed definition of “high quality education,” but after visiting two Peruvian schools over the past two days, I have begun to formulate an idea of what quality education looks like in the context of Peru, and how this compares to what the above works have said regarding quality education.

On Monday, we visited a Peruvian public school called Fe y Alegria. We will spend three days in Fe y Alegria II in the San Martin de Porres district of Lima during our third week of programming, but we had the opportunity to tour the campus and meet with some of our cooperating teachers. This school is part of a network of Fe y Alegria schools throughout South America, which are publicly funded, but run by a private organization. The closest comparable type of school in the United States is a charter school. The working paper titled “Default Privatization of Public Schools” by Maria Balarin explores some of the complicated issues surrounding the rise of the privatization of schools in Peru, including unregulated low-fee schools, and why parents are choosing to send their students to these schools. While Fe y Alegria is not one of these low-fee schools, I imagine that some of the reasons parents want their children to attend these privately-run schools is similar: smaller class sizes, more advanced academics, and English classes. Many parents send their children to low-fee schools because they see these schools as “better,” meaning they provide a higher quality education. Most of the parents said that since private school students are taking more courses at a higher level than their public-school counterparts, private education is better. This shows that within this context, parents believe that challenging academics, especially in math and English classes, is what makes education “high quality.” This is not what Wagner or Kantor and Lowe argue, further showing the ambiguity of the phrase “high quality education.” Based on our tour of Fe y Alegria, the schedules seem to not only emphasize traditional content areas, but also art and physical education classes. Fe y Alegria’s idea of “quality education” is probably different also. As I spend more time in Fe y Alegria, I hope to gain a better understanding of their educational mission and curricular goals and determine how it compares to some of the other ideas of quality education we have explored so far.

On Tuesday, we toured one of the top Peruvian private schools, Colegio Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “the American school of Lima,” located in the La Molina district. Most of the students who attend this school are from families that are at the top of the Peruvian socioeconomic hierarchy or are international students. Colegio Roosevelt is one of the nicest school that I have ever been to. The 27-acre campus has a swimming pool, multiple gymnasiums, a beautiful auditorium, an “idea lab” with 3D printers, plenty of study spaces and greenery, and a new elementary facility under construction. I was excited by what I was seeing and hearing while touring Colegio Roosevelt. Students spend extended periods of time working on a single inquiry-based project, attend week-long trips into the country, and participate in both extra-curricular and service learning activities. I think Tony Wagner would be excited by this school too. Colegio Roosevelt is giving students the skills that Wagner says they will need to compete in today’s workforce. Students are encouraged to ask questions, formulate their own opinions, collaborate with each other, and adapt to new situations. Based on what Wagner thinks schools should be doing, this curriculum is high quality. However, this school is not the type of “quality education” that Kantor and Lowe were discussing; only the wealthiest families can afford the entrance fee and tuition, which is comparable to the cost of state universities in the United States. The students who attend this school are already free from the oppression that comes with poverty, so this school’s curriculum is not working towards liberation, as Kantor and Lowe argue education should. And while the students do volunteer in the surrounding communities, Colegio Roosevelt’s goal is focused on its students, and not necessarily on helping poorer children. Even within an incredible school like Colegio Roosevelt, its “quality” can be questioned because of the differing ideas regarding “quality education.”

From our first couple of first-hand experiences with educational contexts in Peru, I have noticed that, just like in the United States, there is variation between what people believe is a “high quality education.” In low-fee schools, a quality education is based on the students’ academics, while at Colegio Roosevelt, their idea of a quality education includes the shaping of students’ character and integrity. As we spend more time in Peru’s schools, I look forward to exploring more ideas regarding “high-quality education” and the goal of education.

Marquette Meets Peru: Kelsie Lamb

This summer, seven of our undergraduate teacher education students and one intrepid faculty member are spending a month in Peru studying the educational system and discussing their own philosophies of education. They are writing and reflecting on their journey, and we are following along! Read on for excerpts and blurbs from Dr. Gibson and the students’ blogs. You can read more on Marquette Meets Peru and check back for updates here.  

Kelsie Lamb

It is uncomfortable to be in a place in which I don’t understand the dominant language, and these first couple of days have helped me further understand the struggles that English Language Learners in the U.S. face.

I did not think I would be able to study abroad while in college, but Marquette’s month-long “Education in the Americas” program convinced me to step outside my comfort zone and venture into a foreign country. The program is led by a professor from the College of Education, is attended by other Marquette education majors, and incorporates two education courses, “Critical Inquiry into Contemporary Issues” and “Philosophy of Education.” While in Peru, we will be visiting schools from various socio-economic classes, taking language classes with students from the local Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya (UARM), and embarking on a comparative study of educational systems and practices to help us become better educators.

We have spent two full days in Peru. These two days have been very busy, including orientation, tours, soccer, and classwork. However, I now have some time to reflect on my first impressions of Peru. My first thought when I got off the plane in Peru was, “Wow, it’s humid.” Since Peru is in a different hemisphere, they are entering fall, which means cooler temperatures — but the humidity is unavoidable. This also means that while back home the days were getting longer, the sun is setting earlier here. As I was on my way to my homestay, the next thing that I noticed was how many people are in Lima, Peru’s capital city. The buses were full, the streets were packed with cars, and the sidewalks were crowded. Before this, the biggest city I had been to was Chicago, which has a population of around 2.7 million people. Lima’s population is about 10 million people. After a long day of travelling, the amount of traffic was a bit overwhelming; I was relieved when we arrived at the quieter street of our homestay.

Our host mother was waiting for us and helped me with my oversized bags. Her immediate warmth and kindness helped ease some of my nerves. During breakfast and dinner, I have done my best to converse with her using my limited Spanish knowledge. She has great stories to share (and the food is good too!). While speaking with her and other native Spanish speakers, I have also noticed how patient and considerate they are as I try to conjugate verbs and remember vocabulary. It is uncomfortable to be in a place in which I don’t understand the dominant language, and these first couple of days have helped me further understand the struggles that English Language Learners in the U.S. face.

Our first full day in Peru was spent at UARM, getting acquainted with the university, learning about its programs, and talking to Peruvian education students. From our initial orientation at the university, I was left thinking about the similarities between Marquette and UARM. UARM’s campus is much smaller than Marquette’s, but the classroom set-ups and offered majors appear to be similar. UARM has posters throughout the campus that are written in Spanish and the indigenous languages of Aymara and Quechua, giving the university a sense of cultural awareness and inclusivity. In addition, both Marquette and UARM are Jesuit universities, so some of their educational pedagogies and ideologies overlap. For example, the idea of cura personalis, the idea of “care for the whole person,” was stressed during both my Marquette and UARM orientations. Further, the two universities’ slogans are similar: UARM’s is “Be bold enough to be the change,” and Marquette’s is “Be the difference.” Both institutions emphasize the necessity of making a difference and working towards justice. Based on my initial impressions of UARM, I am looking forward to studying in this environment over the next few weeks.

On our second day, we got to learn more about the work the Jesuits are doing in Peru. They have implemented various programs to help Lima’s most vulnerable populations, including children, women, and the disabled. Like many former colonies, Peru faces various issues, including unsafe living conditions and social inequality. Like the United States, the distribution of wealth is uneven. According to a report done by Oxfam, approximately 60% of Peru’s population is poor or vulnerable. During this second day, we visited El Agustino, one of Lima’s poorer districts. Many of the homes are built up in the large hills surrounding Lima’s center. In addition to problems with water and electricity, these multi-level structures are not stable and an earthquake would prove to be disastrous. As I heard the statistics about El Agustino, one of my initial reactions was shock. I thought, “If everyone knows how dangerous it is to live in these places why isn’t more being done to move these people to a safer, more sustainable location?” Of course, there are many complicated answers to my initial, naïve question. Among many other things, even if there was more space available for housing (which there is not) relocating such a large population of people would be extremely costly. But as I listened to the presentation about the Jesuits’ efforts, I was inspired by the amount of hope and determination they have. They work with the communities, harnessing their assets to improve their neighborhoods, and they help organize and mobilize the people to pressure the government to enact real reforms that will bring about positive change.

During our first days in Peru, one of the most important things I noticed was how much I can learn from the Peruvian educators, students, and social reformers. As the month continues, I hope to see more examples of social programs and efforts, of pedagogical strategies, and of Peruvian culture that will help me as I work towards becoming a licensed educator. Some believe that the values and systems of the United States should be implemented throughout the globe, despite differences in histories and cultures. But from my first couple of days in Peru, I can see this is not the case. Peru’s rich history and culture as already proven to be one that the U.S. could learn from, and I am looking forward to learning as much as I can over the next month.


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