At the beginning of the course, our 'teacher' of Ed. José Antonio Alonso Quijorna took one of the most pleasant surprises of his life: he was nominated by the parents of his students in the contest of the Best Teachers of Spain. As a result of that episode, the organizers of the contest proposed to collaborate in the book '30 Innovative Projects and Experiences for the Classroom of Primary Education', edited by Educa, which we can already find in the library of the School. Jose, who does not stop smiling, contributed to this publication a very special project of his own: 'El niño hoja'.
What is 'El niño hoja'?
It is an activity based on psychomotor skills. 15 years ago I worked in Catalonia in a center of activities for schools attended by students of Early Childhood Education and 1º and 2º of Ed. Primary. They asked me to develop contents related to psychomotricity in a natural environment, and I remembered a course for teachers that I had attended at the University, taught by 'profe' Roberto Cuervo-Arango. In it he taught us an activity based on the creation of silhouettes with strings. Starting from that initial idea, I adapted it to use natural resources. It started as an activity for a three-hour session, then went on to eight sessions designed for the subject of Physical Education, and then I began to relate it to other subjects, mainly of Sciences. The project, as it is currently, could occupy an entire quarter, or more ...
What was the reception you had at the time?
He liked very much, both the teachers who came with the children, and the instructors who had to teach it. All the schools that did it were delighted, and even expanded it in their centers.
What are the objectives of the project?
They are related to the subjects of Physical Education, Science (Natural and Social), Mathematics, Language and English. The idea is to work them through movement. The beautiful thing is precisely to make it interdisciplinary, because children work different areas without realizing it. They are exercising and learning amount of knowledge of different subjects.
And now, the project is included in a book as one of the best educational projects in the country. How did this possibility arise?
He was born as a result of being nominated in the contest for Best Teacher in Spain. The 150 finalists informed us that they were going to make a book with the 30 best innovative experiences in Education, and they asked us to send a brief summary. Being selected was a great joy, since the two literary editors of the book are two 'craks' at a pedagogical level. That an expert like Víctor Arufe chose a project related to Physical Education, which is his area, made me a special illusion. Especially because it is about someone external, who does not know me at all and has chosen me only for the project. This has given me the opportunity to communicate with him, to exchange experiences and ideas. It is a great opportunity. The book was presented in February at the I World Congress of Education that took place in La Coruña, and the idea is that the project is used by everyone who is interested: teachers, colleges, students of Teaching ...
How did the nomination for Best Teacher in Spain?
It was a big surprise, since I did not know about the existence of the contest. So I started looking for information and saw that it was the students' own families that had nominated me. I guess it will be because of my way of teaching, with which I try to teach children values and attitudes. I try to get to know the children, understand them first so I can teach them later. Because, precisely, the beauty is that they are different. Then, to think that as a result the families nominate you, think about you and occupy their time in presenting the application and voting ... There were exciting situations, like parents who came to apologize for not having voted for me because they did not know the prize; or the response of colleagues, also excited congratulating me; or the support of the center's management and the entire educational community ... And of course, at the family level, it has also been a very rewarding experience ... If my parents have the book at home as if it were a Hollywood Oscar! (laughs)
It supposes a great motivation in a race very ligature to the School San Fernando.
Yes, I started to realize that I liked this with 18 years ago, when I was training 9 or 10 kids for years here at the School. I was always thinking about how to do the trainings, direct the children, talk with them ... and I realized that more than a coach, I was an educator. But for a few years I worked in the family business and already with 21 years I decided to do Teaching. From the beginning I realized that it was my thing. They were three precious years. At the end I was working three years in Catalonia and then I returned to Asturias, to the School San Fernando, where I had studied all my life and started with Soccer and Sports Initiation. Actually, I consider it my house.