schools turn to WhatsApp and YouTube to teach

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The most vulnerable sectors face more complications to continue with the school year in virtual form in the middle of isolation

The use of broadcast groups by WhatsApp, the creation of classes on YouTube to the sending of audio messages, which accompany the story of the children before bedtime, are technological resources that Catholic parish schools in Buenos Aires use to teach in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Vicaria Pastoral de Educación de Buenos Aires and the Vicaria para la Pastoral en Villas de Emergencia work to guarantee the continuity of distance education for more than 45,000 students.

Parish schools within popular neighborhoods attend 4,397 students in gardens, primary, secondary and adult schools, which operate within villas 1-11-14, 21-24, 15, Lugano, Soldati, Cildañez, Fraga and Bajo Flores.

The suspension of classroom classes as a result of social, preventive and compulsory isolation, presents the challenge of addressing heterogeneity among more than 11 million boys who must try to continue their studies from their homes.

It is clear that the same strategies of pedagogical continuity across the country, and that the most vulnerable sectors face more complications to continue with the school year in virtual form.

It is for this reason that the mission and action of the vicaries is essential to guarantee educational continuity in those sectors with the greatest needs, in times of coronavirus.

“The mission of the parochial schools within the popular neighborhoods is going through a period of growth, 10 years ago there was none and today 4,397 students are attending,” said the priest. Pablo Corbillón, episcopal delegate of the Pastoral Vicarage for Education, in a statement sent to iProfessional.

But in addition, there are also many boys from the popular neighborhoods who attend parochial schools that are outside the towns. In total, the parish schools of the Buenos Aires archbishopric gather more than 45,000 students in the Federal Capital.

The material obstacles These schools face refer to the possibility of access to technological devices and the use of data, knowledge and mastery of digital skills.

They also face cultural and personal obstacles to adapting to different routines that overlap – many times – with simultaneous household chores. Schools that assist townships face the problem of internet and data access.

According to the Buenos Aires Archbishopric, about 25 percent of children in these vulnerable areas have no possibility of connectivity to continue distance learning.

“Parish schools are characterized by cultivating community life. In this sense, schools have undertaken various actions that involve the joint participation of parents and teachers, to face isolation and compulsory quarantine. Actions oriented from guaranteeing the food of the students, through the daily delivery of food bags, and seek educational continuity, through different means of communication between school and family, “said Corbillón.

“This teaching community, which operates in a network of parochial schools, shares teaching strategies and implements a range of resources ranging from the use of outreach groups on WhatsApp, the printing of work guides, the creation of classes by Youtube to audio messages that accompany the story before bedtime and accompany the moments of prayer, “he described.

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