Mendive. Revista de Educación, April-june 2020; 18(2):367-378
Translated from the original in Spanish
Methodological alternative for knowledge of the history of the community in multigrade schools
Alternativa metodológica para el conocimiento de la historia de la comunidad en las escuelas multigradas
Alternativa metodológica para o conhecimento da história da comunidade em escolas multigraus
Ada Lucía Bonilla Vichot
Received: February 28th, 2020
Approved: April 27th, 2020
Knowing the history of the community in which the school is located and the life of the primary school children develops is an objective of the teaching of the History of Cuba in multigrade schools. In the present work, the results of the methodological alternative used for the knowledge of the history of their community are presented with the application of the activity book entitled "My Great Homeland and My Community" in multigrade schools of the Viñales municipality. This notebook is the result of the research project "The improvement of the multi-grade elementary school". The activities that make up this notebook facilitated the investigation by primary school children of the fifth-sixth multigrade of these schools about aspects of the history of their community and their cultural historical heritage; family members and other community members were involved in its implementation. These activities contributed to the development of identity feelings, which is of vital importance to favor the care and preservation of the Viñales Valley declared as "Cultural Landscape of Humanity". In the development of the experience methods of the theoretical and empirical level were used, as well as the mathematical statistics that allowed to base the application of the proposal and the evaluation of the results obtained. The implementation of the activity booklet was evaluated as very positive by teachers, principals, primary school children and community members who actively participated in the search for the necessary information to respond to the tasks oriented.
Keywords: multigrade school; community history; historical cultural heritage; identity feelings.
Conocer la historia de la comunidad en la que está enclavada la escuela y se desenvuelve la vida de los escolares primarios, constituye un objetivo de la enseñanza de la Historia de Cuba en las escuelas multigradas. En el presente trabajo se exponen los resultados de la alternativa metodológica utilizada para el conocimiento de la historia de su comunidad con la aplicación del cuaderno de actividades titulado Mi Patria grande y mi Comunidad en escuelas multigrados del municipio de Viñales. Este cuaderno es resultado del Proyecto de investigación "El perfeccionamiento de la escuela primaria multigrado". Las actividades que componen dicho cuaderno facilitaron la indagación por parte de los escolares primarios del multigrado quinto-sexto de estas escuelas sobre aspectos de la historia de su comunidad y su patrimonio histórico cultural; en su realización se involucraron además familiares y otros miembros de la comunidad. Estas actividades contribuyeron al desarrollo de sentimientos identitarios, lo que resulta de vital importancia para favorecer el cuidado y preservación del Valle de Viñales declarado como "Paisaje cultural de la Humanidad". En el desarrollo de la experiencia se utilizaron métodos del nivel teórico y empírico, así como los estadístico-matemáticos, que permitieron fundamentar la aplicación de la propuesta y la valoración de los resultados obtenidos. La puesta en práctica del cuaderno de actividades se evalúo de muy positiva por maestros, directivos, escolares primarios y miembros de la comunidad que participaron activamente en la búsqueda de la información necesaria para dar respuestas a las tareas orientadas.
Palabras clave: escuela multigrada; historia de la comunidad; patrimonio histórico cultural; sentimientos identitarios.
Conhecer a história da comunidade na qual a escola está localizada e a vida dos alunos da escola primária, constitui um objetivo do ensino da História cubana nas escolas de várias séries. Este trabalho apresenta os resultados da alternativa metodológica utilizada para aprender sobre a história de sua comunidade com a aplicação do livro de atividades intitulado Meu grande país e minha comunidade em escolas multigraus do município de Viñales. Este caderno é o resultado do projeto de pesquisa " O Aperfeiçoamento da Escola Primária Multigraus". As atividades que compõem este caderno facilitaram a investigação dos alunos da quinta sexta série do ensino fundamental dessas escolas sobre aspectos da história de sua comunidade e de seu patrimônio histórico e cultural; além disso, familiares e outros membros da comunidade foram envolvidos na sua realização. Estas atividades contribuíram para o desenvolvimento de sentimentos de identidade, de vital importância para o cuidado e preservação do Vale do Viñales, declarado "Paisagem Cultural da Humanidade". No desenvolvimento da experiência, foram utilizados métodos de nível teórico e empírico, bem como métodos estatísticos matemáticos, que permitiram fundamentar a aplicação da proposta e a avaliação dos resultados obtidos. A implementação do livro de atividades foi avaliada muito positivamente por professores, diretores, alunos do ensino fundamental e membros da comunidade que participaram ativamente na busca das informações necessárias para fornecer respostas às tarefas orientadas.
Palavras-chave: escola multigraus; história da comunidade; patrimônio histórico-cultural; sentimentos de identidade.
The elementary education in Cuba has the mission to form an active, reflective, critic, independent and leading scholar. Therefore the activities developed in educational institutions should contribute to this end and promote not only the assimilation of knowledge, but encourage the school think and feel, to be able to guide its behavior towards achieving social values.
The development of Elementary Education in the rural sector is an achievement of the Cuban Revolution, but also a problem facing the country. To guarantee inclusive, equitable and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all children and young people, regardless of where they live, as established in objective 4 of the 2030 Agenda [United Nations (UN) & Commission Economic for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), 2016] , is an arduous and complex task, based on current conditions.
The subject History of Cuba plays an important role in the curriculum of primary education and training contributes to the integral formation of the personality of the school. History as an essential part of culture, of the national identity of peoples, it is memory and must be preserved. This has been valued by outstanding pedagogues from past centuries, those who recognize primary education as the level where the foundations are laid for adequate citizen training. This is confirmed by Martí (1975) when he expressed: "The past is the root of the present. You have to know what it was, because what it was is in what it is " (p.302), the key to Martí's thinking that is gaining more force in the current Cuban reality, when it is a recognized aspiration to achieve a historical culture in the new generations.
On the other hand, the study of the history of the town has a fundamental connotation, because it promotes assimilation and understanding of the historical material, it allows the approach of the primary scholars to the investigation, to an actively seeking, to develop an affective relationship from the closest, from what has meaning for him, a value that leaves traces and influences the formation of his personality. The primary scholar can understand the historical progress in its town, to know the facts and historical personalities who have excelled and still live in their environment, to know monuments and historic places that are part of that story and influence their own lifetime. This enables the strengthening of feelings of identity and belonging towards the place where his life unfolds.
In this sense, scholars of the subject such as García (1940), Leal (2010) and Romero (2010) have emphasized the importance of the knowledge of the history of the locality.
According to Reyes, Javey & Palomo (2014, p. 199), didactically local history is defined as:
( ) The study of historical events, processes and phenomena, near or far in time, that reflect the economic, political, social and cultural events of the actions of the popular masses, guided by historical personalities of a certain territory, and who keep their link with national history, to the extent that they promote interest in the study of national history, promoting the formation of ideals, feelings and identity values in children, adolescents and young people.
These authors highlight that "( ) the educational approach to the history of the geographical environment has many advantages for the formation and development of the personality of the apprentices, because when knowing the historical trajectory of the place and where it lives (what surrounds it as geographical setting), the protagonists of the culture that it shares and that it must help preserve, makes them protagonists of the history itself" (p.199). For Calvas Ojeda, M. G., Espinoza Freire, E. E. & Herrera Martínez, L. (2019), "History is a dialectical process that expresses the relationship between personal, family, community, local, national and universal history. It moves from a self (personal history) to an emotionally closer us (the family), to other levels of us: the community, the locality, the nation and the universe. (p.196)
Therefore, it can be affirmed that the study of the history of the place closest to the primary school student contributes to preparing them for social life, based on the social relationships established with their family and the community. It power, in addition, the formation of identity and contributes to the knowledge of the historical heritage - culture of their locality, understood as " the set of natural or cultural elements, tangible or intangible, inherited from the past or created in the present (...) built as an identity subject for individuals, groups and communities, who recognize it as a characteristic and distinction of their identity". (Soler & Hernández, 2019, p.249)
Hence its importance in shaping the communities and towns on which historical milestones are based. It is precisely through the landscape and urban complexes that a people can be identified, both by other nations and by itself. Man is born and grows in a certain landscape surrounded by specific constructions, inherited from his ancestors.
Knowing, caring for and preserving the historical - cultural heritage favors the strengthening of identity; treasuring those works from past times that are traces of its oldest history, of its roots, that enclose moments of the economic, political and social life of that place , allow maintaining historical memory.
Precisely the need for knowledge, care and conservation of the cultural historical heritage has been addressed by different authors such as Portu, Rumbaut, Ares & Sampera (1982), who have highlighted that this heritage , in addition to belonging to a people, symbolizes it, it represents it , identifies it and contributes to educating it in its history. Accordingly, Cabrera (2013) states that:
Education is an integral part of culture and as such expresses identity. Education, school and teachers have the mission of defending the national identity. The rescue of historical memory is a way of preserving identity and training citizens. The way in which each human community expresses its culture is identity; there is no specific culture typical of a people without identity.
The primary school students can express their feelings of identity to identifying proudly Cuba as a country and where they live, describe and admire own landscapes in their locality area and understand the need to protect and preserve the surrounding environment, as well as maintaining traditions, games, parties, meals, among other elements that characterize its environment.
Therefore, to achieve knowledge of the history of their town, the places with historical and heritage value and the understanding of the need for care and conservation contributes to the formation of an independent thoughtful scholar, critic and bearer of feelings and qualities according to the demands of Cuban society.
The methodological requirements in teaching of the history of Cuba in the Elementary Education and the characteristics of multigrade schools determine the realization of extracurricular activities after school teachers and conducive learning of the subject in general and in particular the history of their locality for the development identity feelings for the care and preservation of their historical-cultural heritage. Taking advantage of the conditions of its locality, its landscapes, its traditional festivals, customs, constructions and older inhabitants constitute ways for this work in Primary Education.
The normative and methodological documents of the subject History of Cuba establish as a didactic requirement the treatment of national history in close relationship with local history, for its contribution to the strengthening of identity feelings.
However, the primary teacher does not always take advantage of the possibilities that the community where the school is located and / or their school children live is to promote learning actively; leading them to "discover" those local values of their environment, to know them, take care of them and preserve them. The classes cover relevant events and personalities from the province or municipality and not specifically from the community closest to them.
The verification of these insufficiencies through visits to multigrade schools in the municipalities of the province of Pinar del Río, as part of the research project developed by the group of teachers of the Department of Primary Education of the Faculty of Early Childhood Education, allows us to pose as a problem How to contribute to the knowledge of the history of the community where the school is located? For this, it is determined as a general objective to design a methodological alternative that contributes to the knowledge of the schoolchildren who are primary in the history of the community where their school is located.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
From the proposed target it was selected the municipality of Viñales, by having lots of multigrade schools and to be found there the Viñales Valley, declared a National Monument in 1979 for its extraordinary natural and historical values. In 1999 this place was included in the list of sites of universal value by the World Heritage Committee with the status of "Cultural Landscape of Humanity", being the first recognized by the UNESCO in the entire American region.
Due to its nature, rich traditions, peasant tunes, legend and a biotic, geological and paleontological wealth, this condition is granted, which constitutes an imperative to promote in the primary schoolchildren of that area the need to know its history to maintain that heritage, according to Rigol (2005).
The development of tourist activity in the municipality increases this need. Knowledge of the history of the place is inevitable; not only the flora, fauna and the landscape give value to that territory. The primary schoolchildren and the rest of the community members must become disseminators of this historical wealth and revitalize the traditions and customs of the place.
For applying a proposal in the municipality, there were selected five multigrade schools distant from the center of the city including the multigrade group fifth - sixth to receive the subject History of Cuba and for having a higher level of self-employment skills development.
In the development of the investigation it was assumed dialectical materialist general method, which allowed studying the object as a process from initiation and development, with its internal and external contradictions, and the selection and application of methods with empirical and the statistical and mathematical level.
As methods of theoretical level were used:
The historical and logic allowed the study of the research object of SDE its origin and development to the determination of the theoretical framework on ways and importance of the study of local history, particularly in the case of rural communities.
The analysis and synthesis enabled the assessment of experiences applied in multigrade schools in mountain areas like Los Tumbos and Mameyal of the municipality of San Cristobal, to the knowledge of the history of their town and establish common and different aspects for the development of a proposal.
The modelation facilitated the organization and structuring of alternative methodology for knowledge of the history of the town, from the specific characteristics and conditions of multigrade schools selected.
At the empirical level, the following were used:
The documentary analysis allowed the study programs, methodological orientations and lesson plans for the course History of Cuba in the multigrade fifth - sixth to verify the treatment given to the history of the town. In addition, the educational strategies of the selected schools were reviewed to confirm the performance of extracurricular activities that would contribute to the knowledge of the history of the community where the school is located.
The pedagogical test was applied to the total enrollment (46) of the multigrade groups fifth - sixth of schools that conform the sample and allowed to diagnose the level of knowledge about essential aspects of the history of the town primary school had. Aspects such as the name of the community and why that name, traditions and customs, as well as places with historical and heritage value, were evaluated.
The interview was conducted a total of seven primary teachers and four managers (school) and provided criteria on the activities undertaken in schools to the knowledge of the history of the town , and applied experiences.
The survey was applied to teachers, principals, family members, and community members who participated directly or indirectly in the implementation of the activity notebook to collect their criteria about the notebook and to evaluate the results obtained.
The descriptive statistics was used to process the results related to the characterization of the current state of knowledge of local history in school primary groups selected and activities and pathways that are used in school to promote such knowledge.
The methodological triangulation allowed the verification of the results obtained with the application of various methods, the determination of coincidences and discrepancies, to raise the objectivity of the analysis. All this favored the design of the methodological alternative to contribute to the knowledge of the history of the community where the school is located and the life of primary schoolchildren unfolds.
The results of educational testing applied to the primary school group's multigrade fifth-sixth evidence insufficient knowledge in areas such as:
The applied methods and techniques confirmed the insufficiencies in the knowledge that primary schoolchildren have about their community, since, although in the program of the course History of Cuba, elements of local history are treated, they correspond to facts and most important historical personalities of the municipality. The stories of the communities are not covered regularly in the history classes of Cuba, despite these communities having a rich history of customs and traditions, of struggles for their rights and demands that are not always included in the municipal stories; however, their knowledge is necessary to achieve the root of that land.
From the results, of the experiences applied in other mountain communities and the characteristics of the selected schools, it is designed a methodological alternative that propose a notebook of activities entitled, My big Motherland and my community, to facilitate search activities for the necessary information.
The book is structured around general themes in order to provide guidance for the investigation of the primary school about his family, the name and origin of the town, the more antique buildings and places of historical value and social importance in town, older families and important personalities (outstanding workers, teachers, athletes, internationalists, literacy teachers, musicians, etc), economic traditions, cultural and historical area, among others.
It contains an introductory presentation expressing the importance of knowledge of local history and inviting primary school children to discover the history of the community. It also consists of guidelines for carrying out the activities, in which it is suggested search the information they need to give answers to each of the topics and how to organize it by making an album with a photograph and drawings made by them.
Actions taken for its implementation
The working groups organized taking into account the amount of school it is in each grade. Even when there was a notebook for each school, they copy aspects to research and developed taking photographs of important places or draw, which demonstrated interest and motivation for conducting the activities and contributed to the work in small groups taking into account the reduced enrollment of these groups. In addition, the participation of the family, the existing institutions and organizations in the community was encouraged. These were carried out as part of the extracurricular activities during the school year and concluded with the presentation and presentation of the information obtained.
The works presented in the contest showed interest in finding information about the history of their community. The competition involved 37 primary school students (80, 4 %) and its work expressed the values of community and pride in living in it. Poems (five) and compositions (32) were presented.
As a close activity it was organized scientific - methodological meeting with the participation of teachers and principals of schools where the notebook was applied to analyze their experiences. Participants expressed favorable criteria such as:
To the final evaluation the activities notebook and its implementation in selected schools was a survey applied to teachers (seven), family ( three ), workers in the center ( two ), other community members (two), four principals of schools, as well as the Head of Primary Education and a Comprehensive Primary Education Methodologist in the municipality of Viñales with the following indicators :
The respondents provided the following regularities:
The results obtained with the implementation of the activity book My big country and my community as a methodological alternative to promote the knowledge of the history of the community, demonstrate the need for the realization of extra-teaching and extra-curricular activities for teachers and principals of these multigrade schools, for the treatment of the history of the locality, as well as other applied experiences.
According to Bonilla & González (2017), the potentialities l offered by the study of facts and historical figures, both national and locally, enable the use of different ways and means to achieve a developer learning in students in the second cycle, from establishing the appropriate relationship between the local and the national (p.39).
Other scholars on the subject such as Reyes & Moreno (2018), Rivero (2018) and Sánchez (2018) reaffirm the importance of knowledge of the history of the town as an essential element to strengthen national identity, based on the experiences developed in primary schools. In this regard, Obregón & Fleitas (2016) point out: "It is the local events that make up that great national event that is the history of the country" (p.12).
Local history in itself contains basic elements of identity, but it is known from experience that the best historical content can go unnoticed if one does not work with the necessary intentionality, this is an unavoidable premise in the effort to achieve a citizen at the height of your time, that projects a care and conservation behavior of those values that make up its town, such as its small homeland.
The applied methodological alternative is based on an interdisciplinary humanistic approach (Romero, 2010) that enables:
As a conclusion, it proposes that the implementation of the activities notebook My big homeland and my Community in five multigrade schools of the municipality of Viñales found the possibilities offered to the knowledge of the history of the community in which the school is located and the life of the primary schoolchildren unfolds.
On the other hand, it was confirmed that the knowledge of the history of the community contributes to the formation of identity feelings in school, and to be identified with that place, leading personalities of the past and the present. In addition, they learn to care for and conserve the environment in which they operate: their houses, buildings, important places, as well as nature. No less important also knows the customs and traditions of these rural areas.
The results obtained and the criteria for participating in the implementation of the activities notebook, My big country and my Community endorse the possibility of its generalization to other multigrade schools to contribute to the knowledge of the history of these communities.
It is appreciated in carrying out this work to groups of teachers, scholars, family and community members where the primary schools are placed: "Isabel Rubio Diaz", "Paquito González Cueto", "Camilo Cienfuegos Gorriarán", "Rafael Ferro Macías" and "Juan Bruno Zayas". As well as executives from Municipal Education of Viñales and the Municipal University Center of Viñales.
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Conflict of interest:
Authors declare not to have any conflict of interest.
Authors participated in the writting process of this article and in the analysis of documents.
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Copyright (c) Ada Lucía Bonilla Vichot