Juanjo Vergara: “I believe the change is unstoppable.”
21 de July de 2016

Juanjo Vergara is convinced that only when are learning when we want to learn and that learning is an important decision. In the interview Juanjo tells us what the PBL is, how he sees the future of education and what advice and recommendations are given in their formations.


One of your specialties is based on projects or problems learning (PBL). Can you give us explain what are its advantages and how you use?

The ABP is the strategic framework that we can use many of the strategies being tested successfully in recent years.

I think the radical change that is occurring at this time in education is a paradigm shift that seems to have no turning back. Teaching models currently still in dozens of schools in the world continue installed in an impossible relationship today. Today knowledge is distributed is deeply flexible. Learning occurs in places as far to the traditional school as networks, neighborhoods, social relationships, gambling or citizen participation.

“Students entering class and turn off their phones. Go Out the world for six hours !. Nothing of what they hear in traditional models talk about them and are interested in concrete terms. So I think that the most important part of teaching is to understand that learning is a fundamentally intentional act. We only learn when we decide to do. As simple as this. Why I titled my book I talk about project-based learning “because I want to learn.””


Which of the active methodologies do you think has more future among teachers?

I am skeptical of the educational recipes. There is no magic recipe, nor a methodology that ensures success.

You can use a cutting-edge methodology and not connect with students. What is really important is how these active methodologies are changing the look of dozens of teachers who are not satisfied with traditional models and realize that the most important is to initiate a reflection on how the space is remodeled, time, relationships, community involvement and virtuality to new learning needs.

I think the future of active methodologies is how they are able to challenge traditional ways of teaching and incorporated flexibly and creatively to each school, each teacher and each student group. This includes the organization of the curriculum, assessment and the very organization of the centers towards more flexible, open and collaborative models.


You have participated now and in the past in many educational projects. Would you highlight anyone in special?

It’s been many years working as a teacher in a prison that now or there, I designed a project focused on photography. It was the early 90s and it seemed magical to create a development lab with prison inmates. Invite them to collect images in their daily living and then we entered in a darkroom to work creatively with them.”

The answer of the school center at that time was to have caution. How are you going to give prisoners cameras! Are you sure you want to get in a room with a group revealed?. The response of the participants was exciting. They are unfurling creativity and how it served me to work curriculum was spectacular.

But there have been more. You can see some of the most recent in my web.


What advice would you give to teachers who attend your training?

There is a phrase that as many attributed to Einstein: “Those who say it is not possible, they should not disturb those who are doing”.

When teachers come to seek training in many cases, change the recipe. It is logical because the teaching staff is one of the most battered. Staff dedicate their time to train, prepare their lessons at home, they are under great stress and usually their innovation efforts are not well received in schools where they warily watch them.

But my bet at work is teamwork. Decide to train for the change is to establish a space for reflection on how much they do well and what we can learn from those who are doing the same.

Then, it is necessary to provide tools to carry out the change, but only later. It is necessary that we are dedicated to teacher training in innovation and we realize that the most important part of this is to change the look and relationship. The tools for doing so are simple and can be explained quickly if connected with actual practice and the specific needs of teachers. Teachers who daily have to enter class and want to improve their practices.


What technology tools or gadgets recommend in your day to day as a trainer?

The tools/gadgets you can carry in your pocket. I don’t think that a specific IT training is required. This was one of the great mistakes of the past.

Years ago – even today in many cases – dedicated training plans for teachers are focused on training them in the use of applications and all kinds of gadgets that promised education would change. They failed.

And they did because the key is not what you use. The question is how you do it.

The best they can do with teachers with technology is to invite to take out the mobile phones to all students and ask what applications students use daily. With that they have enough material to practice and connect with the world that are connected their students.”


Would you advise teachers not using new technologies to update their methodology and incorporating new channels of communication with their students?

Many education authorities in the country have strictly banned the use of mobile devices to their students. Only when used for what the teacher commands can be used. It is as if you were told that a ball of clay can only use it to build geometric figures when you want to make a sculpture of a lion, a bird or a bracelet to give to Lucia-that companion in the front row you can not get out of your head It is adolescent.
I think the issue is not to prohibit or allow. I find it much more educational establish an open dialogue with the group of students to seek rules regulating the use of technologies.

Again, the issue is not technology. This is what is to increase the degree of communication between teachers and students. To do so, all the communication channels that can favor them should be explored.

My students have my phone, whatsapp, mail, twitter, etc. I’ve never had the slightest problem with this. Rather, it has served for a frank and horizontal communication is established. Students are deeply respectful of a teacher who gives them confidence and who know can communicate openly and freely at any time of day.”


What trends are perceived in the future of training? How do you imagine a class in the next five years?

Today’s teachers are much more demanding than years ago. They are not satisfied with anything you can find on the internet and that’s fantastic. Educators are increasingly demanding specific things to specific questions and also the framework for bringing change to their daily practice solutions. So I appreciate especially when I stand before them like a trainer who daily give their classes with students the same way as they have. They are tired of visionaries that they don’t connect with and distrustful.

“I believe the change is unstoppable. Schools that do not understand that we can not educate nineteenth century following models are doomed to extinction.”

The trend is that there is increasingly a review of the sealing areas, subjects and even courses. Also virtually nonexistent -now the relationship between formal and non-formal breaking. Schools will definitely must open up to the environment or close for lack of pupils.

Families want children with enough skills to succeed in a changing world in which skilled professionals need to be able to adapt to new situations and also committed to society and the environment values. Today nobody wants his son to be licensed in this or that. What they want is to become a person capable of learning throughout life and enjoy a wide network of relationships. They also want their children to be good people. People committed to their environment. Schools that don’t understand this will disappear in the coming years.

Fed UE
Didactic Labs, within the framework of the ICEX Export Initiation Program, has had the support of ICEX and co-financing from the European FEDER fund, to contribute to the international development of the company and its environment.
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