In 2013 a group of Bolivian public school teachers approached Mano a Mano with this request: “Our educational system is based on rote learning. We know that teachers in the U.S. have found ways of involving their students in the learning process. Could you bring teachers to Bolivia to share their methods? And we will share our experiences with them. We understand how Mano a Mano works, Hand in Hand, so everyone benefits.”

Our response: for seven years (2013-2019) Mano a Mano recruited groups of volunteer teachers in Minnesota who prepared the requested workshops, then traveled to Bolivia to deliver them.

During this seven-year project, the week-long workshop experiences involved:

  • 40 US teachers and related education professionals
  • 495 Bolivian teachers
  • 15 Bolivian schools
  • 5 Bolivian school districts

To build on the workshop experiences and expand the number of teachers who could benefit from them, Minnesota and Bolivian teachers worked together to produce a training manual. This document presents the teaching methods that were taught during the workshops and gives examples of how Bolivian teachers applied them in the classroom.

Bolivian Teachers Continue to Apply Methods Learned During the Workshops

Last month, while traveling to deliver COVID-related medical supplies, Mano a Mano staff traveled through the municipality of Santivanez, site of several schools whose teachers attended the training workshops. Teachers for grades 2 and 3 of the Unidad Educativa Cayacayani invited our traveling staff to visit their classrooms, excited to share how they continue to use and expand on the methods they learned.

Conceptual maps created by teachers and students, displayed on classroom wall.

Maria Blanca Velasquez wrote to share this experience with us:

“We saw conceptual maps on every wall; students doing “turn and talk” exercises with each other and then with the teachers. Truly, the workshops have made a sustainable impact on these teachers and their students. Thanks to all the teachers who came from Minnesota and from Bolivia to work together, Hand in Hand, to teach our children.”

Education Minnesota Article: Minnesota teachers bring training to rural Bolivia

Learn More About Each of These Teacher Trips at the Links Below:

Jackie Smith, in Bolivia on our most recent Teacher Trip in 2019.