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In his current assignment, an extracurricular work on the circus that came to town became “El Cuarto Hocico”, a virtual animal protection organization awarded Jane Goodall, and that today has an international scope: Children for Animals. Despite the fact that these initiatives, among many others, have made him a reference on education and that, finally, he was able to take the famous Nobel Prize for Teachers to Zaragoza (which, by the way, was won by the American Nacie Atwell), César Bona is clear: “Let people talk about positive education: that is the real prize”.
Full version: learning from children. césar bona, teacher
To organize themselves mentally, they use “a pizza with drawers”, which is a circle divided into four portions. The circle represents the minute that the exposition will last and in each part, of 15 seconds, there is a compartment where the word that best helps to remember the argument is written. Outside the box are the secondary ideas.
César tells how his parents, at first, looked at him as if he were a freak. “What’s wrong with Grammar?” they asked him. “Don’t worry, we’re going to give it,” he would reply. “And then they end up thanking me. They tell me: ‘My son is much more empathetic, more autonomous, knows how to have his own criteria, knows how to react to injustices…'”.
“What has to be at the base of the pizza of education? Respect and empathy. It doesn’t matter what languages you speak or what careers you have if they don’t give you the tools to face life and respect the person next to you,” he explains in a low voice while the students work in silence.
“Obviously, they must have standards of behavior and value effort. I basically talk about respect and effort, because nothing is achieved without effort. From there, when there are already rules, you can do surreal things. At school it seems that everything has to be discipline. Here there is an order, but it does not have to be an imposed discipline. That they are given the possibility to open the door to imagination.
We spoke with césar bona, nominated for the global teacher prize.
César Bona: I don’t know. I am someone who looks confidently to the future. I guess it is difficult when the influence of a teacher or the family itself has not been the most appropriate, but I think things can be reversed, somehow, re-educating through dialogue.
César Bona: It is a question of the environment influencing as little as possible, since schools in difficult environments should have the same opportunities as the rest. This is a big challenge, but we don’t have to be afraid of challenges; they allow us to do fantastic things.
César Bona: Working as a group means doing something together; working as a team means that everyone has a role to play and everyone has to contribute, without fear of differences, because differences enrich.
César Bona: These are reminiscences of the past… Someone said that you go to school to learn and not to be happy. Is one thing incompatible with the other? Not at all, on the contrary; what is learned with enjoyment is internalized. It is necessary to have a comfortable, sincere, yes, even fun atmosphere in schools; this encourages students to respect each other, to learn better and to commit themselves more to the school. Being happy at school does not mean that there is no discipline or that there is less study.
Spain goes crazy for cesar bona’s global teacher
Although he doesn’t need to, he knows how to win over the audience from the start. When he is presented under the title of “Best Teacher in the World” he clarifies that in reality, he is just a lucky teacher who is given the opportunity to tell experiences and ways of working that many other teachers also live and put into practice. He also has words to praise the work of “Huellas Inquietas”, the project to promote empathy with animals carried out by students from the Leonese town of Vilecha included in the network “Children for animals”, the virtual animal shelter launched by César Bona himself in 2012.
One of the key elements you talk about both in your books – The New Education (2015), Schools that Change the World (2016) – and in your conferences is the “human factor” in education. Had it become a forgotten element?
Other educational values you bet on are the promotion of respect, empathy, imagination, autonomy, real problem solving… You follow in part the program line of the so-called “active education” oriented to foster personal initiative, individuality or the development of affectivity and deep awareness What do you think of Montessori schools?