Project Plapliplo Teacher: Agent of Internal Change / Dora Leonor Mesa

A change that has affected me personally has been the creation of the Cuban Association for the Development of Child Education, referred to hereafter by its initials ACDEI, founded as an association on September 22, 2010. Previously it was treated as a community project called Plapliplo, with students from primary education.

One of the essential objectives of project Plapliplo was to raise the educational quality of low income children. The project aimed to become a base of support for the Official System of Primary Education in the community. It began with pre-school through sixth grade, although in practice it began successfully from first grade through fourth. On that student level, the student body had acquired sufficient abilities to be able to continue its studies without the help of the project. As a teacher, my relationship was limited to that existing between teacher, family and student. The activities were very heart warming and my task was dedicated but much simpler than what came later. The changes introduced in the project may be simplified in the following way: a new focus on how to impart lessons and create the independence necessary in the student body so that it is capable of assuming new academic and social roles.

I must mention that it was not simple to demolish the barriers that are within some Cuban parents in order to achieve what appears to be a good attitude towards the change in teaching strategy. It required an effort of all those involved, the students, their families and me. At the end of four years I discovered that my work had been monitored by education managers of municipalities of the capital. It was simultaneously a surprise and joy; I knew that inside of the group there were parents opposed to the changes although they continued in the project to the end.

No education officials could object to the lessons I imparted and the dosage used; from the beginning I focused on the official program of instruction, and the only thing that I did was change the strategy of the same with the use of technological resources. The families of the students were involved in the introduction of the changes because they had the right to participate in order to feel valued and to take on their commitment with greater pleasure.

I quickly identified the resisters in order to direct efforts especially towards them. I communicated constantly with everyone but in particular with those most distrustful. I was understanding before their fears and firm at the same time. I knew better than they what I was confronting. I always consulted other teachers and was enriched by their experiences. Debates perfect daily work; no teacher should fear them.

Translated by mlk

January 17 2012