2020-12-23 CHILE

The Vicar General emphasizes that the challenge of education is to “listen, understand and propose

“As a society, as Marists, let’s not let ourselves be robbed of the school. The school has a value in itself, which has to do with the ethical root of what it means to educate. I firmly believe that we have a very beautiful task, not only for this century, but for the following centuries of life”, affirmed Brother Luis Carlos Gutiérrez, Vicar General, during his participation in the 3rd Seminar of Service Learning (SLA), on this occasion organised by the Marist Sector of Chile, in association with the Marist Province of México Central and with the Red Corazón Solidario, with the motto “Connect yourself to SLA: a pedagogical response in times of crisis”.

A+S is a methodology that allows the linking of curricular contents with social service actions. It is applied to projects that combine pedagogical intentions with solidarity objectives.

The meeting, held through Zoom, was attended by brothers and sisters and lay educators from pre-school to university level from different countries in the Arco Norte Region, Central America and South America.

The aim of the seminar was to identify and analyze the active service-learning method, to evaluate the experience of A+S and to integrate the values of solidarity and civic responsibility in the students.

Among the speakers, Brother Luis Carlos Gutiérrez tackled the theme “Challenges of school education in the 21st century”; Xus Martín (doctor of pedagogy) dealt with the argument “Why A+S in times of crisis”; Valeria Romero (Marist educator) spoke on “Work in reflective groups: Responses to social problems from A+S”; Chantal Jouannet (psychologist) presented “A+S, one of the responses for the co-construction of new realities”. In addition to the exhibitions, 18 workshops and projects took place, with the participation of facilitators from Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Bolivia.

Presentation by Br. Luis Carlos Gutiérrez

The Vicar General of the Marist Institute emphasised that it is not possible to speak of school and education in the XXI century “without stopping to listen to the cries of the children and young people who continue to resound at the doors, inside and outside our schools. And the question that I would like to ask you, who are committed to service, and myself, is: “do we listen, do we understand these cries, do we propose anything? I think it is something fundamental. And the methodology we are facing now is “listen, understand and propose”, and this is an important shift in our attitude when it comes to responding to the needs of our communities and the needs of children.

Speaking about the future of schools, Br. Luis Carlos noted that “distance learning, online or remote, is here to stay, this is not just an effect of the  pandemic . In some places teachers in one centre will start sharing their classes with colleagues in other centres. And students will participate in the possibilities of listening to other teachers. And we need to be wise about this and more focused. Before concluding his presentation, Brother Luis Carlos said: “Certainly, history has changed us, but we can also change history, and that is what we want to do. See here the full speech on “Challenges of school education in the 21st century“.

Digital site

The meeting was also an opportunity to present the A+S website, a digital site that will allow the sharing of testimonies, resources, plans and service learning projects, connecting educators in the Americas with the challenge of continuing to weave a network through training in solidarity and human rights.


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