César, you are one of the most recognized teachers in Spain and, surely, in other countries of the world, what do you think is the key to your success?
First of all, and although it sounds basic, being in the right place at the right time. I have been lucky enough to travel a lot and in every place I visit I always find someone who teaches me things. That’s lucky. I understand that perhaps the fact of giving importance to social commitment, commitment to nature or human relations has weight. I think it is also key to put yourself in the place of children and adolescents to understand them better, and emphasize the essence of learning, based on curiosity, listening or connecting with what is close to us.
What is educational innovation for you?
Innovation is often associated with technology, and although it is a very important tool, it is not the only way. Sometimes, it is an invitation to the roots, to what makes us human, no matter how redundant it may seem. In the end, we could make an analogy with a company and think that for that world, innovation is reviewing the process to improve results. Hence, the question is whether the results are the best in Education. If they are not, the next step is to make us aware that there are things that we must change in the process.
What do you mean by humanizing Education in your latest book?
Although it sounds redundant, it is an invitation to bring Education closer to what makes us what we are. We could ask ourselves the question “What is education for?”. The answer is clear to me: give them tools to grow, so that they know how to relate to themselves, to the people around them and to the world in which they live.
What do you consider to be the main challenges facing Education today? And how do you think teachers should deal with them?
One of the challenges we must face is unity when we talk about Education, that we understand that the objective is to give boys and girls the tools that we did not have. Imagine a life without a pandemic: what do you miss in society? Dialogue? Critical thinking? Responsible and ethical use of technology? Education for physical and mental health? Now, with the answers to those questions, see how the programs make room for what is important.
What are the weak points of the educational system? And the strong?
There is a very clear strong point, and that is that there are thousands of teachers who are willing to train and give everything so that boys and girls get the best out of themselves. Not to mention all the experiences they are doing anonymously. If we manage to create networks and work together we will have a lot of cattle. The weak points lie in inertia (because it is always difficult to change the way in which we ourselves were educated) and in the lack of resources that, as a rule, are allocated to education. The society we want is in the schools we have. In addition, we will agree that the importance given to education in electoral debates is negligible. They should set a minimum of 30 minutes to discuss such an important issue and come out of the debate with two agreements reached, to begin with.
What would be for you the first steps to transform Education and implement an innovative educational method?
Overcome resistance to change, educate in the predisposition to listen, emphasize training in teamwork and make us understand that differences grow. This is not very innovative, but it seems to me the basis of human relations.
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