Week 3 Costa Rica--Escuela Miguel Obregón Lizano

Posted on August 09,2012 by latinomentalhealth

Hola a todos! This is Elena, Brian, & Dot reporting from UNIBE. After spending a few days observing classrooms K-7, we have been given the opportunity to provide the students with psychoeducation on the theme of bullying. It was brought to our attention that bullying is not only an issue in the US, but also prevalent in Costa Rican school systems. In our presentations, we plan on engaging the students in role plays that promote awareness and facilitate models of prevention.

This experience has enchanced our cultural competence through exposure to societal context; having a more refined understanding of the elementary education system has provided us with another snapshot of the meso- and exosystems (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) in which individuals operate. Students stay in the same classroom during the day across 7 periods, with 3 recesses consisting of 15, 10, and 5 minutes respectively. Comparatively, the material is advanced: Elena observed and helped teach pre-algebra to a 4th grade class, as an example. However, it is also common for students to repeat grades up to 3 times in "escuela" (elementary school), and there is little stigma surrounding such (there was nearly an even distribution of 10, 11, and 12 year olds in the 4th grade class). Class rankings are often public knowledge and posted within the "aula" (classroom). Of note also is that specific grades are designated to begin school in the afternoon and others in the morning, and they rotate between days. For example, some third grade classrooms go to school from 7 am- 12:40 pm Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and 12-5:40 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This structure is supposed to prevent 7th graders from being at school at the same time as kindergarten students. The Catholic religion pervades the classroom, and is part of daily life, curriculum, and the decor of the school.