Ecole Lemania and the Peruvian association Arca Beta have launched an innovative and inspiring initiative in the spring of 2023. The aim is for Lemania International Baccalaureate students to run an English club with students at a school in the heart of the Amazon.
An English Club unites two continents
Ecole Lemania and the Peruvian association Arca Beta have launched an innovative and inspiring initiative in the spring of 2023. The aim is for Lemania International Baccalaureate students to run an English club withstudents at a school in the heart of the Amazon.
The Arca Beta project was born of a vision by Miguel Angel Pena Flores, founder of the Arca Beta association: to use technology resources to enhance education for pupils in remote areas of Peru, particularly in the Amazon jungle regions. Launched in 2021, the Arca Beta project has given rise to an NGO that is officially recognised in Peru.
Arca Beta’s first operation targets the Educational Institution Nº 60024 in San Juan de Miraflores. The school is located near Iquitos in the heart of the Amazon jungle.
In early summer 2022, Miguel Angel contacted Dominique Bourqui and David Claivaz, authors of the book Edupreneurial Pivot, to exchange views. Miguel Angel presented his vision of an online school in the heart of the jungle. In an entrepreneurial mindset, the conversation revealed that introducing students to the English language could create value for the project by enabling them to access more online resources and expand their network. Always in an entrepreneurial mindset, the conversation led to the identification of the possibility of creating an activity that would enable Lemania’s students to become more involved in the project.
Following this initial contact, Arca Beta set up the technology needed to roll out online teaching at the San Juan de Miraflores school. At the Lemania School, Giovanna Crisante, IB coordinator, registered the project as part of the Creativity-Action-Service (CAS) programme.
By the end of March 2023, everyone involved was ready to launch the project. On the Arca Beta side, Zulfia Dassayeva, Manager of Arca Beta, had secured the services of two local teachers, Jose Luis Quispe Ariasand Jacoba Mozombite Garcia to ensure coordination with the 35 students at the school. Two volunteers, Julife Mayve Jurado Alania and Jose Andres Valdes Estrella were providing technical support on line.
In Lemania, Giovanna Crisante and the English teacher, Mr Mark Haccius, helped the students in the Preparatory class (Emilie Bermejo, Giacomo D’Adamo, Melanie Da Silva, Anna Sofologis, Anri Harutynian, Romane Groullimund and Elias Doh) of the International Baccalaureate Diploma to prepare the activities for the club.
The club took place every week until June 2023, on Wednesdays from 9am to 10am (Iquitos time) with the Lemania students, and on Fridays with independent activities.
Arca Beta officials have noted the following benefits for Iquitos pupils:
- Improved language learning: working with foreign students improves students’ fluency in speaking, understanding, and writing English.
- Cultural exchange: students can discover different cultures and traditions by interacting with foreign students. This helps to foster diversity and respect for different perspectives and cultures.
- Improved school climate: working with foreign students improves the school climate and fosters a more inclusive and diverse environment in the school.
At Ecole Lémania, Giovanna Crisante confirms that interacting with volunteers who are dedicated to serving others and making a difference can have a profound impact on students’ character development. Students face new challenges, step out of their comfort zones, and develop essential skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, and communication. By participating in this project, the school demonstrates its commitment to community engagement and social responsibility. This involvement can open up networking opportunities for the school. Building relationships with local organizations and community leaders can create potential partnerships for future projects, exchange programs, or research collaborations.
On a formal level, Lemania could integrate this experience into the curriculum enriching the educational offerings of the school. Teachers could incorporate real-life examples and case studies from the project to make the lessons more engaging and relevant. This practical approach could enhance the overall learning experience for students. Engaging in a volunteer project abroad broadens students’ perspectives and helps them develop one of the International Baccalaureate key objective, the international mindedness. Students gain a deeper understanding of global issues, cultural diversity, and the interconnectedness of communities around the world. Furthermore, this firsthand experience serves the Learner’s profile by developing empathy, compassion, and a sense of social responsibility in students.
Arca Beta and the Lemania School are planning to continue the project at the start of the 2024 school year, both at the San Juan de Miraflores school and other schools.
Together, Arca Beta and Lemania also intend to publicise the model of this collaboration as widely as possible.
Thanks to technology, students with advanced knowledge can now pass it on to those who need it in regions as remote as the Amazon jungle. This is an opportunity that must not be missed by those who want to work towards a more sustainable world.
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