Cecilia Carolina Muñoz

Escuela Primaria N 751 Teniente General Juan Carlos Sánchez, Bandera, Santiago del Estero, Argentina

Cecilia  Carolina Muñoz

The school where Cecilia Muñoz works in Bandera, Santiago del Estero, has 500 students, 80% of them living in vulnerable situations. Issues such as addiction and illiteracy are common in the community. For five years, flooding in the area meant that the saturation of soils polluted drinking water and caused disease, mostly in the local children and young people. Since then, the town has managed with a dosed tank supply.

In that context, Cecilia works as an English teacher. Starting the day is not easy. Having no drinking water to prepare breakfast for 500 children every day is a big challenge. Once in the classroom her challenge is disinterest, boredom and indiscipline. She wondered how she could arouse interest in something her students saw as far as a foreign language. The teacher knew that she had to reinvent her classes.

Her initial challenge was to give support to these students and generate a climate of trust, raise their self-esteem and allow them to dream of their future. Her specific strategy was to start from their needs and so she conducted surveys, listened to each of her students, put herself in their place and connected them with new opportunities, taking advantage of technology as a learning tool.
Cecilia Carolina Muñoz uses cutting edge ICT, gamification and flipped classroom techniques to motivate and educate her students, despite the community being an impoverished one where even basic resources such as water and sanitation are either scarce or often polluted.

Using slide carousels, projectors and laser pointers, techniques she taught herself from YouTube videos, she has managed to inspire her students, boost their concentration and reduce indiscipline in classes. Using Google Earth she has taken her students virtually all over the world and turned many of her students into "prosumers" - producers and consumers of digital content for a productive educational purpose. Cecilia’s use of technology to improve English language skills and wider student communication has won her a host of regional and national awards.

Beyond school, she has launched a program called "friends meeting point", where students can meet on Saturday afternoons in public spaces of the town.

Her greatest achievement is having been able to interpret her students’ needs, and they went from not attending classes to waiting for her at the classroom door and discovering the importance of learning a foreign language to be citizens of the world.