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Pädagogische Hochschule Thurgau. Lehre Weiterbildung Forschung.

Newsletter Swiss-Bolivian (SwiBo) Partnership 12_2014

Dear reader

The year is coming towards an end and so is another project cycle of our North-South Partnership Project with the Escuela Superior de FormaciÓn de Maestros SimÓn BolÍvar. After four years, we may proudly say that the project has established itself very well and is often cited as an example of good practice when it comes to discussing the expectations and standards of similar projects. This is the merit of many different people involved in the project management and the organisation of the reciprocal student visits, which tend to be the culmination of all the efforts and a highlight for participants and project leaders on both sides.
Soon we are going to be able to investigate the long-term effects of this project and its repercussions on our schools and pupils. In this newsletter, we may read about one example of how former project participants are integrating Global Education topics into their teaching and how the experiences gained from working with our Bolivian partners hold great potential for vivid and interesting discussions with pupils on different perspectives and the interconnectedness of our world. We would therefore greatly appreciate if more former project participants create their own profile via the link in this newsletter (5.) . This will enable us to stay connected with you and to hear about your classroom experiences and practices.

Please note that from now on the SwiBo - Newsletter is going to appear once a year only, in the month of December. As a consequence, the individual contributions will tend to be slightly longer and more numerous.

We hope you will enjoy reading this newsletter!

With this, the project coordination team of PHTG wishes you a peaceful festive season and a happy and healthy new year filled with meaningful encounters and refreshing perspectives!

Gerit Jaritz
Lecturer and project coordinator at Thurgau University of Teacher Education

Newsletter Content

1. Project News and Information

In this section, we keep you up to date on newly conceived ideas and the latest project developments.

2. Swiss Bolivian Encounters

In this section, students share some of their experiences and impressions gained during their study visits in either Bolivia or Switzerland.

3. What are you up to?

This section is dedicated to reports, thoughts and reflections by former project participants who now work as teachers.

4. Global Education Notice Board

In this section, readers are provided with short abstracts of relevant books in the field of Global Education and an insight into how the traditional Bolivian concept of “vivir bien/to live well” relates to it.
5. Create a profile and stay connected

Here, former project participants can update their e-mail address and create a short personal profile.

6. News, questions and comments


Direct Links

Project News and Information
Swiss Bolivian Encounters
What are you up to?
Global Education Notice Board
Create a profile and stay connected
News, questions and comments


1. Project News and Information


Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as a future focus of the North South Partnership Program

This year’s reciprocal visits were very successful again and the members of both delegations had the chance to be part of manifold experiences. Within a period of half a year, the student tandems spend four weeks together in total. We have been observing that this experience in particular seems to lay a solid foundation for long lasting friendships.
During those visits Global Education as a part of Education for Sustainable (ESD) development plays a major role and highlights the focus of our partnership. This is confirmed by the topic choice for the diploma theses the Swiss students have to start writing upon their return from Bolivia and which represents the last component of their participation in the project. All eight topics chosen are dealing with aspects of ESD.
Accordingly, we welcome the new ESD focus of the foundation éducation21 for the North-South-Partnership Program. It is planned that the targeted fourth phase of the program will especially deal with the development and in depth discussion of ESD. Hence, the degree of implementation of ESD in the individual partnerships ought to be made visible and subsequently strengthened. All South and North partners will be able to work on these issues in a common atelier in March 2016.
Therefore, the Swiss Bolivian partnership will certainly benefit from these efforts and we are looking forward to improving our common understanding and sphere of activity of Global Education as a part of ESD.

Christina Colberg
Lecturer and project coordinator at Thurgau University of Teacher Education


2. Swiss Bolivian Encounters



The experience to visit Switzerland improves my perception about the Global Education concept. All the information, all the social aspects and the education system that I saw in Switzerland have shown me another point of view and more information about how to preserve our planet Earth.

This program, in which the Bolivian and Swiss students have the chance to visit the country of its tandem partner was a wonderful experience, because you can socialize and self-criticize the relevant aspects in which our countries need to get better in order to save the environment and human beings’ life.  

There are many ways of learning, but the best one is to learn directly by touching and viewing; that was the advantage that this program offered us. I am not the same man that I was before, because there was a change in my manner of thinking about the global dimension of education and it provoked a change in my life style.

It was a real pleasure to meet people that live in a responsible way in Switzerland. So, I was grateful to meet 8 people that have the same reasons and purposes in life like me. All of us have similar duties, which is to educate, to form and to guide the new generations and we must do that in a perfect way.

Our task as teachers is to benefit our countries and we follow and share the same goals, which are to protect and preserve the world through sharing knowledge in order to create a safe life for human beings.

Cesar Oscar Villca Quispe
Bolivian project participant 2014

"What I have taken with me from Bolivia…"

  • new ideas and perspectives on life and luxury
  • a lot of great and beautiful friendships, memories and meetings
  • a heart filled with happiness, gratitude and experience
  • the importance of cultural things like music, dancing, food,...
  • how to be flexible, tolerant and open
  • how to live with and accept people who have another mentality
  • personal growth (how do I work in a group, why and when do I get annoyed, when/why do I struggle, what holds me back/what drives me?, etc)
  • the communication of the heart and smiles

Esther Brüllhardt
Swiss project participant 2014

The journey to Bolivia opened my horizon especially for my future work as a teacher with children from other cultures. The cultural exchange with our tandem partners showed me, how different a country and culture can be. This doesn’t mean that one of them is right and the other one is wrong. From my point of view, this is an important experience for a teacher. I also came to the conclusion that the things making life better and meaningful are very simple, like: friendship, enjoying time together in communication and so on.

Roshni Wartmann
Swiss project participant 2014

Working/teaching with our Bolivian partners
Working and teaching with our Bolivian partners was a pleasure and a very good experience for us. This partnership made it possible to increase our communication and social skills. Even if we had sometimes some language issues, we were always able to understand each other. They tried their best to make us feel comfortable.  
The first step for a successful collaboration is the definition of common goals, openness and a good communication. We worked on the project "Global Education and Education for Sustainable Development" and taught together in Bolivia. We discussed our topics, explored and generated ideas.
Teaching in Bolivia was different to Switzerland in some aspects. It is not that easy if you don't speak the pupils’ language, and English is a foreign language for both of us. Our Bolivian partners helped us out and translated into Spanish when necessary.

Emine Iseni, Özlem Oguz Lutz
Swiss project participants 2014

When Swiss and Bolivian people get together ...
The intercultural encounter between Swiss and Bolivian students here in Bolivia was taken place on the months of September and October where we got the great experience to share and interchange educative and sociocultural experiences, like the visit to touristic places, to work between partners on going to schools and teach students, the intercultural encounter where each group showed us their customs and traditions, to share a traditional "apthapi" (a traditional Andean buffet), the workshops, to visit the cable car the highest and the longest in the world, among other activities.
It is important to highlight that professors also had the chance to interchange pedagogical experiences on the way we work with our students. So to see students and professors interacting in different situations it is a good way to do and work "Global education" in real, because when people from different countries get together, we got the chance to tell each other and show each other how do we talk and behave with students out of classroom. Most of the things from which our students learn, it is from what they see in us, their professors. For, it is sure that they will do it in the same way, when they´ll became teachers.
To create moments and places to generate social interaction, let us realize that we are not alone, that there is a lot people from many parts of the world that are the same as us,  because their interests, their needs and their expectations are the same.  We all want a better world, we want to live in peace and be happy with our dearest people, then we ask why is some people trying to remark the differences for negative, instead of encouraging ourselves to live in harmony?
This kind of experiences with Global Education give us the opportunity to both students and colleagues to grow as professionals but the most important to grow as human beings too. When I talk with my Bolivian students they say, they felt very pleased and very thankful to be chosen to travel to Switzerland and had that experience and also when their tandems came here to know the way we live and study. Therefore, it was an experience that has marked their lives and the way they will conceive the process of teaching in schools and high schools.

Martha L. Alvarado Portillo
Lecturer at
Escuela Superior de Formación de Maestros "Simón Bolívar"

Swiss students in La Paz - a photo report
If you would like to gain an impression of the Swiss students’ teaching and learning experiences at the Escuela Superior de Formacion de Maestros Simon Bolivar during their stay in Bolivia, please click here. It contains many commented photos and was put together by Veronica Simonini, Lecturer and project coordinator at Escuela Superior de Formación de Maestros "Simón Bolívar".


3. What are you up to?


Bolivian students visited my class and school
I was really happy being part of the student exchange with our Bolivian friends in 2012. So when I started teaching as a primary school teacher, it was clear for me that I would once welcome new Bolivian students to my classroom. I am currently teaching fifth and sixth graders. In spring 2014, Bolivian students visited our school and took part in different lessons.
In our English lessons they worked with the pupils and told them about their culture and habits. The second part of the morning they visited different classes, for example handicrafts, where they learned how to knit or to crochet. For all of us, the staff and the pupils, it was a nice experience. Especially the children had a lot of questions afterwards, which is why we looked at the photos I took the year before in Bolivia. It was nice to share my experiences with my students and to discuss about differences and similarities in our countries.
The experiences I gained from the participation in the project and from learning about Global Education during my studies still influence my teaching today. At least one topic in the subject "human and Environment" is always linked to a global education topic. Last year we dealt with the topic of "clothes" and a few weeks later with "food/nutrition". This year we worked on the topics of "communication" and "climate/weather".
On the Day of the Children Rights (20th November) we talked about the rights a child has, especially the right to education. We watched a short film from a boy in Niger. So we discussed also the question: Is it a right or a duty to go to school? First, the children were sure that they have to go to school and that they would prefer to do what they want. Afterwards, they knew that it is a privilege having the possibility to go to a state school. We also talked about school costs and how difficult they are to afford for some families in other countries. I think the pupils got a new perspective on school and as well they know more about their rights. It was great to discuss all of this with them and to encourage them to think about such things.
For me the project was much more than a period of time during my studies. It influences my daily life and my teaching as well. I’m still in contact with my Bolivian friend and project partner Alex and we regularly exchange opinions and experiences on education and culture.

Nadine Rabensteiner
Swiss project participant 2012


4. Global Education Notice Board


Is it possible to get into Global Education in Bolivia?
Global education in Bolivia might have different conceptions since we are living in an actual process of decolonization. For we are trying to leave behind all the old and traditional conceptions of assuming the education as an instrument of colonization in order to establish a unique model or pattern of life for everyone like the Globalization without considering that everyone in every country is different and that diversity is the richness of complement of human beings.
We are looking forward to developing the structure of our country in every area like economic, sociocultural and political independence but not in a "perverse way", just looking after our own interests but the "living well of every living being on earth", for instance we need to care about our Mother Earth.
To do so, we have to teach our students to think and reflect critically about the things they’re learning and not just ask them to repeat and reproduce things in order to get high grades.

Martha L. Alvarado Portillo
Lecturer at Escuela Superior de Formación de Maestros "Simón Bolívar"

Between "Global Education" and "Vivir Bien"
This article presents two experiences about the way that we can join the idea of the "Global Education" and "Vivir bien/To Live Well" in order to achieve the respect of our nature.
The Escuela Superior de Formación de Maestros "Simón Bolívar" since 2010 has an agreement with Thurgau University of Teacher Education (PHTG). Both are working with the topic of Global Education.
In Bolivia, we are developing a new way to understand the education, it's based in four scopes: to be, to know, to do, and to decide. These scopes are part of the concept "To live well", it means to search the harmony with our "Land Mother" (nature) that is not only the rational respect but also the development of the holistic awareness where the human beings think, feel as a part of the harmonic relationship with the nature and the cosmos. Also English teachers have the challenge to achieve the goals to look after our nature, that's why we try to apply them to reading, songs and the topic of some lesson plans. All of the experiences were inspired by the "sustainable resources" and "to live well". Maybe both have some semantic differences but the main idea is the same, to take care of our world.
An example of a possible English lesson on the topic of "water cycle" can be found here:

PDF LessonPlanner

With each experience like the Curricula lesson planner and the song "Let's choose life", the project between Bolivia and Switzerland, involved us to reconsider the topics and move beyond traditional approaches. As teachers, we need to be aware of the links between "Global education" and "To Live Well", we need to nurture students the respect of our nature through the language.

Verónica Amanda Simonini López
Lecturer at Escuela Superior de Formación de Maestros "Simón Bolívar"

Book suggestions for Global Education
Marking the end of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), an interesting book has been published dealing with the concepts, policies and educational experiences in the field of ESD: Schooling for Sustainable Development in Europe, R. Jucker, R. Mathar (Eds.)

It examines the implementation of ESD programs in schools across Europe, features case studies and helps readers to gain valuable insights into how to help students develop the knowledge, skills and values needed to shape a sustainable future.

A similar book was published in 2011 providing expert authorship from several South American countries: Schooling for Sustainable Development in South America, M.L. de Amorim Soares, L. Petarnella (Eds.)

The book includes presentations by directors of influential recent projects in the field of ESD and contains case study details as well as mor general national and regional discussions.


5. Create a profile and stay connected


Dear former project participants!

Please let us know how you are and what has become of you!
You simply need to click here and create a short personal profile. You’ll thus allow us to stay connectd with you!

Thank you, all the best y que les vaya muy bien!


6. News, questions and comments


We would appreciate your comments and questions regarding our newsletter. You are also most welcome to post any news or questions which might be of interest to the readers of this newsletter. Simply e-mail them to newsletter@phtg.ch.