What does it take to inspire
The act of changing anything, especially learning and instructional practices, takes time and planning. It requires understanding where you are and knowing where you want to be, and then figuring out how to get there. Getulio Brasil, Head of Science at the Santa Cruz Cooperative School in Bolivia, knows this well.
When Getulio decided to begin working with the Essential Fluencies, his extensive background in science enabled him to approach using them as an experiment. And a successful experiment it was.
Today at SCCS, Getulio’s students remain engaged and excited about learning by using the processes of the Fluencies. Getulio himself remains vigilant in his hopes of inspiring other educators to embrace meaningful change in the same way.
How do we plot a
path to success?
“Initially the idea of using the Fluencies was more of an investigation,” Getulio recalls. “As a science teacher or a scientist, we test ideas. So I wanted to develop the Fluencies in my students and see the outcomes.”
The experiences Getulio had while incorporating the Fluencies with lab practices in Grade 10 Biology are profiled in a study he created for Buffalo State College in 2013. It was conducted over a 2-month period with two groups of Biology students that were pre- and post-tested in both attitude and achievement. The results of the study indicated a positive impact on both attitude and achievement scores in students.
Incorporating the Fluencies also allowed Getulio to get creative with other students. “I was teaching Ecology—the product for the unit was a ‘Living on Mars’ project. Students had to develop a plan to transport mankind to Mars, in order to save our species. The projects were amazing, and the results for exams were even better—and they had a blast!”
How do we measure
growth and progress?
How do we continue to
improve and excel?
The insights into teaching and learning that Getulio gained with the Fluencies is great food for thought for any educator. “It was interesting to see how kids actually understand concepts better when they have to develop a product after an entire unit,” he says.
“In my opinion, if it deals with creativity, kids will have to spend more time to achieve their objectives. After spending time researching, their understanding related to that concept is a lot deeper than before.”
So what’s next for Getulio and his students at Santa Cruz Cooperative School? “My next step is developing other units connected to the Fluencies,” Getulio claims. “I prefer to teach with the Fluencies. Things move a lot faster and you see much better results. And that’s what any teacher expects.”