Counter-Culture Habits

Amazing how bad school habits plus possibly bad school methodology can mark students’ lives for a long time!

Paraguayan public schools are not as efficient as they should be due to many different factors. Unfortunately, this sad reality can be seen once students barely pass a university’s entrance exam and attend classes.

They usually have problems with reading comprehension and writing. Many say it’s due to the strong influence of Guarani -our native language-and its culture. Since Guarani is heavily oral (meaning, most aspects of our culture are based on oral skills), there is apparently “no need” to read. Consequences? students do not turn in their homework -which was carefully planned months ago, to be submitted in a specific date-because “they were not told to do it“.

Once a British friend who has lived in Paraguay for many years now, told me that she cannot understand how is it that our students say “I saw the sign, but I just did not read it”

I have seen this pattern over and over again for the last couple of years. What I usually do is talk to them about our Paraguayan oral culture, how it sometimes clashes with academic habits -especially in the field of language, my area-show them the syllabus at the beginning of the classes, with the information of doing what and when to submit it.

The result: it works!! but perseverance is extremelly important. We have this “oral habit” in our bloods.

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