The pedagogical model is understood as a form adopted by the Gimnasio to select, organize, build and evaluate the way to reach and develop knowledge in the teaching-learning process. It is also understood that building knowledge is a particular way of generating impact on culture, environment, science, technology and, in general, on transformative and innovative thinking. The Gimnasio welcomes a different perspective to that of the individualistic classical school, decontextualized, which fragments knowledge and separates it from the world and experiences. Instead, it proposes a contextualized learning, loaded with experiences, with the active and enthusiastic participation of the students and the connection of these in the community where they interact.
Thus, the teaching and learning processes in the Gimnasio aim towards helping the development of the capacities, competences and human qualities required by a contemporary citizen. To this end, it is essential that students understand the world they are in from a critical position and, taking into account their potentialities, contribute not only to their progress but also to the improvement of their environment and, therefore, of society.
These ideas that shelter the educational project are based on the self-structuring model and recognize the principles of constructivism, the Active School, and interactionism. These principles frame a way of conceiving the educational act and serve as a compass in the moment of thinking about how the development of the students is promoted, how they learn, how they teach and which are the most appropriate methodologies and didactics for the formation of the citizens of the 21st century.
Each of these perspectives provides conceptual references that provide a general framework for the approach developed by the Gimnasio. From this point of view, the student is understood as an active “builder” of his or her knowledge structures, without denying the teacher’s activity and the social and cultural context as mediators that make the student’s progress and development possible.
The role of the teacher is no longer that of “transmitter of information” in the traditional sense of teaching. He or she is, above all, a generator of possibilities who stimulates curiosity and helps students develop their abilities. It is recognized that learning means, above all, entering a world of uncertainties, in unknown territories, where the learner inquires, experiments, makes mistakes. Error does not mean failure, but rather an opportunity to continue learning. From this perspective, the task of the teacher is to keep the flame of the question alive, stimulating and inspiring his or her students. This is what we mean by Constructivism.
For its part, the Active School, within its guiding principles, maintains that, from its own and individual experience, learning is achieved. That is why it conceives of a student who is proactive, who reads his or her environment, asks questions, and identifies problematic situations. The student ceases to be a passive receptor to be recognized as a social subject, a protagonist of learning.
Finally, interactionism recognizes the importance of subject interactions in learning and development, since it is precisely in the exchange of ideas, in the recognition of divergent points of view, in the support of peers, that meanings are negotiated. A major consequence of this conception is the transformation of the relations that occur within the classroom, since it is a matter of making multiple interactions possible and showing that development occurs in the richness of exchanges with others.
Consequences to the conceptual statements for the pedagogical practice
We understand that these learning relationships, from a conception that combines constructivism, the Active School and interactionism, are opposed to the idea of learning as passive reception and as a solitary and decontextualized task. Precisely, the Gimnasio focuses its attention on the construction of meaningful experiences that actively involve students, taking into account their previous knowledge, interests, needs and capacities.
Within this context, three basic principles are identified. First, the complexity of learning is understood in terms of the development of subjectivities, potentialities and talents. Second, teaching is conceived as the organization and creation of conditions, devices, and interventions that favor the development and construction of knowledge on behalf of the students, as an addition to the increase of self-confidence as learners, perseverance, and enthusiasm for individual and collective learning. Thirdly, it recognizes that teaching and learning processes take place within a didactic system framed in a participatory environment that links institutional, social and political contexts.
From these principles, an educational approach focused on the student is promoted in pedagogical practices, which rescues the principles of the Active School, which goes beyond the disciplinary areas of knowledge, oriented towards learning how to learn, which conceives reading and writing as social practices, fundamental to interpret, criticize and transform the world, which also recognizes and vindicates the importance of mathematical and scientific knowledge to understand the world, which goes beyond being centered on teaching to promote the development of students and their learning. An education that takes into account formative evaluation, where emphasis is placed on the developments achieved and that fosters different didactics, articulated with the use of knowledge in problem solving.
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