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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Link between Compadres and St. Paul University

This could be a great new initiative for Compadres! There is now the possibility that a Religious Ed Part II Additional Qualification (AQ) course may be put in place for teachers who want to come to El Salvador. Right now, we are just looking to see if there are people interested. If there is interest, we could have an AQ ready to go for this summer. Here is the text of the announcement that has been published on school board e-mail sites today:

Expression of Interest - Are you interested in taking Religious Ed Part II as part of a visit to beautiful, sunny El Salvador this summer?

We are currently asking for expressions of interest from teachers who would like to take Part II Religious Ed through St. Paul University. Participants would be in El Salvador from July 3 - 16 as part of the Compadres El Salvador Trip Experience

If you want to get your Part II in El Salvador this summer,as well as learn about the struggles and faith of an incredible people please contact Paul McGuire at -

For more information on the Compadres trip, please check out the link above.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

what are the plans for this year's trip?

Now we start getting into specifics. What will the trip look like for this year? Rene, the new director of Salvaide is just finishing off a trip in El Salvador. This is great for us as he is in direct contact with the people we will be working with.

I will spend the next few blog posts going over some of our thoughts on what we could possibly do.

First, we are hoping to do some workshops using the computers they have in the schools at San Jose Las Flores. We are used to using computer hooked to the internet every day in our classes and it would be our hope to use some of our expertise to do some work with the kids we meet in San Jose.

Here is Rene's post on computer workshops;

checked with Nelson about the possibility of running computer-facilitated workshops. Unfortunately, conditions in schools in the area are such that they do not have many computers and none have access to the internet. This doesn’t bode well for the group's suggestion to use Scratch (computer program).

What we do now is digest this information and look for new ideas!

computer lab in San Jose Las Flores School

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dreams of El Salvador

In mid-February, El Salvador seems very far away. I have great hopes for this year's trip. I want to get to know the community in and around San Jose Las Flores. I want to start making some meaningful inroads with educators. I want to develop some important links here with the University of Ottawa. I would really like to have more people on the trip!

It seems sometimes that I am waiting for my big break - what will it be? How do we create the conditions so that we are making a contribution that will be significant?

It all takes patience and time. To develop sustainable linkages and meaningful dialogue will take time...more time.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Where we are right now

We are now a real group. We have four people (including me) for our trip for this year. For the first time, we have two teachers from the public board here in Ottawa. I am hoping that we will make new inroads into the public board with the help of these new participants!

We are working with a new executive director for Salvaide
Rene Guerra Salazar is the new director and he is currently in El Salvador getting to know our partners and some of the communities we will be working with.

We continue to work with Teachers Without Borders, although we will be working more in the background. Teachers Without Borders likes to work directly with in-country partners and we are doing our best to facilitate this. I am hoping that Rene and the TWB Mexico program officer will have the opportunity to develop some programming ideas for this year in El Salvador.

We are also trying to work with the Ottawa Catholic School Board to develop a course link to Religion courses offered by the University of Ottawa. This is complicated, slow business, but I know that we will be able to increase the size of this year's group if we are able to offer course credit for Catholic teachers. This is an attractive option for the university so I am hoping we will be able to work something out.

Right now, we are working on our program for this summer. I am hoping that Rene will be able to meet with some of our partners to firm up activities for July.

It is good to know that we have a trip confirmed for this year. For the first time, we have teachers who are interested in conducting workshops with teachers in El Salvador. This would be a new venture for us and offers us great new opportunities to enter into meaningful professional dialogue with Salvadoran teachers. Now we need to find ways to 'release' teachers so that these workshops will have lots of participation from local teachers.

All very exciting. More to follow as our 2011 program begins to take shape!


More exchanges like this planned for 2011