Posts Tagged ‘Case Study’

Learning How to Learn

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

Principal and first- and second-grade teacher Fermy with one of her students

Fermy, the principal and first- and second-grade teacher at El Rosario primary school recalls: “When CoEd came to ask if we would like to enter the Culture of Reading Program (CORP), I said: ‘Yes, I want to do it. I want to learn. I want to develop myself so that I never become stagnant.’”


“I want to develop myself so that I never become stagnant,” says Fermy.

Until that point, Fermy had used the teaching skills she learned during her high school training—the only training that was required to become a Guatemalan primary school teacher until just a few years ago. “Give them a book and tell them to copy: that was reading,” she explains with a distinct note of frustration in her voice. “They would keep copying all year. But you can’t just copy—you have to find a way to learn. One can know that they are writing, but not know whether they are doing it well or poorly.”

Not only were Fermy’s students failing to learn to read through copying, they also struggled to overcome their fear of voicing their thoughts and being wrong, which posed a great barrier to learning. “Fear is something very personal,” says Fermy. “A teacher can say anything she wants, but if a student can’t let go of his fear, the teacher cannot break down that barrier for him.”


Thanks to CORP, Fermy’s students are coming out of their shells.

CORP was the solution, Fermy says. The CORP activities her students participate in—such as acting out stories and even authoring their own stories—have naturally inspired them to let go of their fear as they become lost in the magic of learning. No longer do they shrink away when their teachers move to embrace them (a common expression of affection between teacher and student in Guatemala), or speak in voices barely above a whisper, like they did before CORP was introduced.

“The word corner, the books—they get excited!” Fermy says. “They even dance and sing when we bring out the puppet theater. And now when we read a story they continually ask, ‘What’s going to happen!? What’s going to happen!?’ And at the end they say: ‘Aaahhh!’”


CORP teachers help their students let go of fear and embrace the joy of learning.

To ignite this passion for learning, Fermy explains, she had to learn the proper techniques, even when it came to a seemingly simple exercise like reading a book aloud: “As a teacher you have to know the right way to read a story. If you rush, without pausing, and without doing any movements when there are expressions of emotion in the book [the students become bored]. But if the book says, ‘Wow! It’s time to jump!’ and you jump—then the kids really pay attention!”

“I tell my students: ‘We are all capable if we simply have the desire to learn. But if we don’t want to learn, we will become stagnant. We learn, and we walk through life, and life teaches us.’”

Empowered by CORP, Fermy not only teaches her students how to read—she nourishes their natural curiosity and teaches them how to learn from life itself. It wouldn’t be possible without supporters like you!



A Life of Service: The Story of Scholarship Program Graduate Tiofila

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

girls education Latin America

Indigenous girls like Tiofila Sofía Monroy Tunché are at the very bottom of the social and economic hierarchy from the time they are born. Because of a cultural notion that girls aren’t worth educating, many Guatemalan girls face a life of poverty, discrimination, and illiteracy. More than half are married by age 18, and less than one in ten girls graduate from high school.

Tiofila had big dreams: to get a degree in computers, find work, and earn enough money to support her mother. But since most of her nine siblings dropped out of school before completing sixth grade, her odds of completing a degree seemed very slim. Without the proper education and experience, Tiofila would never be able to accomplish her dream.


Dora María Cardenas Figueroa: A Classroom Transformed

Friday, May 19th, 2017
Guatemalan primary school reading program

Dora María and her student Antony

Before the Culture of Reading Program (CORP) arrived at Agua Dulce school, Dora María’s classroom looked like most other first- and second-grade classrooms in rural Guatemala. There were no storybooks, just a whiteboard and some markers. Dora María used the teaching techniques she had learned while studying teaching in high school, which is all the training that is required of primary school teachers in Guatemala. “They would just copy and copy and copy,” she says.


Cande Daniela: On the Path to Healing

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Guatemala computer student

“The computer will be a tool I can use to defend myself against any problems I face.”


Orlando Chile Bucú: Turning Skills into Success

Friday, March 10th, 2017


“Tonight, please complete the even problems on page 268 and show up ready to compare your work with a partner’s tomorrow.” Many of us recognize these words as a typical end to a typical math class. But for students in rural Guatemala, there is nothing typical about these words. Nine out of ten middle schools in the regions where CoEd works do not have textbooks. “Learning” in these schools focuses on rote memorization instead of critical thinking. Students spend as much as 65% of class time just copying from the blackboard. (more…)

It’s Out of Our Hands

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

What sets CoEd apart from other charities? Can you name something? Let me count the ways…

Seriously, though, one of the things we pride ourselves on is community engagement. We don’t just arrive at a school, hand over some books or install some computers, and leave. Instead, our team works to develop relationships with the school community (from principals and teachers to students and parents) and to train school teachers and administrators to manage the programs on their own. This way, the beneficiaries of our programs really become the agents of their own success. They are in control, and they are the ones who ultimately pull themselves out of poverty. All we really do is give them the tools to do so, in a country where those tools often aren’t available.


Sandra Capen: Hungering for Something Different

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

Sandra Capen

From a young age, Sandra Capen was motivated to get good grades by her parents—who sacrificed so much to educate their three children that the family sometimes went without food. Throughout grade school Sandra couldn’t eat lunch with her friends or purchase the school supplies that she needed to bring her creative ideas for projects to life. Instead, she swallowed her hunger and made do with what she had, never asking her parents for money. (more…)

Florencio Fernando Teleguario: Dreamer to Be

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

We often tell stories of students with big dreams and students who have made their dreams reality, thanks to your support and CoEd’s innovative programs. The truth is, many of these students started off without a dream—many of them thought a life of toil and poverty was inescapable—until you changed their lives.

Florencio Fernando Teleguario is still without a dream. When asked how far he wants to go in school, Florencio responds, “I don’t know,” and when asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he says, “I want to work with a hoe.” Currently, Florencio works alongside his mother in the fields every day after school. He considers himself the man of the house, shouldering responsibility for his mother and five sisters on his thin, 12-year-old frame.

His father used to send money home from the United States, but now he spends his money on alcohol and Florencio rarely hears from him. All of his sisters dropped of out of school before the sixth grade, two of them before the second grade. It’s no wonder, then, that Florencio assumes he will one day drop out too.

But wait! Don’t worry! Something is changing for Florencio, and we know it will make you smile as wide as him!

Florencio with his favorite book, "Bear Under the Sun"

Florencio with his favorite book


Brenda Sequen Cux: Discovering a New World

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Brenda’s heart leapt as she rounded the corner and saw green and white streamers fluttering above her school. Why? It was inauguration day for El Aguacate Cooperative School’s first ever Computer Center, and she couldn’t wait to get her hands on a computer! She knew that those mysterious black boxes (which YOU are helping to demystify) would play a crucial role in her dreams.

“I want to be a bilingual secretary someday,” says Brenda, a seventh grader. “These computers will help me get a job as a secretary, so that I can save money and study at the university level.”

Brenda sitting at a new computer

Brenda sitting at a new computer


Edgar Elías Colop: Receiving the Gift of Education

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Two days after Edgar Elías Colop’s 15th birthday, he received an unlikely gift—textbooks from complete strangers. Like all of his fellow ninth-graders at Parracaná Cooperative School in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, Edgar had never used textbooks in class until the CoEd Textbook Program arrived and changed everything. Edgar and his classmates now get to study with math, social studies, Spanish, and science textbooks for a small monthly fee that goes into a revolving fund managed by CoEd. After five years, enough money will be saved to begin purchasing new books, making the Textbook Program 100% sustainable after the initial investment.


Edgar shows off the book he’s most excited to use.

“My favorite subject is math,” says Edgar, flipping excitedly through the pages of a brand new book. Edgar has wanted to be an engineer ever since his mother told him all about it when he was little. (more…)