“Pedagogia 2017” in Havana to feature Lobman on youth development, play and performance

Carrie Lobman, Institute director of pedagogy and Associate Professor, Rutgers Univ. Graduate School of Education, will be a featured speaker at Pedagogía 2017 in Havana, Cuba, next month, where she will present on the social therapeutic, performatory approach to developmental learning. East Side Institute Community News sat down with Carrie to hear how she’s thinking about the conference…

Carrie, you’re heading to Havana soon. What is Pedagogia 2017, and who will be there?

Yes, I’m thrilled to be going. The conference draws educators from across Latin America, the US and Canada to talk about innovations in education.

Are you familiar with the Cuban pedagogical approach?

Well, I was first in Cuba in 1987 visiting preschools — and it was first time that I learned (from them) about Lev Vygotsky. They used his work in a way I’d never seen. They were engaged by Vygotsky’s understanding that learning happens in a zone of development. This ZPD was seen as providing kids with learning experiences that could take them to the next step of their learning — so if child could already count from 1 to 10, you might have them begin to add numbers.

Tell us about your presentation.

My talk will be on the All Stars Project and the Development School for Youth (DSY) — coming out of the research project that I completed in 2014. I’m calling it, Performing on a Wider Stage: Developing Youth through Play and Performance. I’m eager to introduce our work on youth development and outside-of-school learning. I think our understanding of the importance of helping kids develop and the relationship of development to learning has a great deal to bear on the current moment and the changing relationship between the US and Cuba.

“Most of what gets presented at pedagogy conferences are lessons from our [U.S.] public education system, which get presented as a ‘model pedagogy’ — rather than what it is: a failure.”

I’m eager to bring out our successes in after-school and youth development, since most of what gets presented at pedagogy conferences are lessons from our public education system, which get presented as a “model pedagogy” — rather than what it is: a failure. And second, I think the work of All Stars and DSY to create partnership across racial and social economic divides is an important story to be told in Cuba.

As the title of your talk suggests, your orientation to developmental learning is playful, performatory and improvisational…

Yes, I’m eager to see whether the improvisational theatrical playful aspects of the social therapeutic methodology captures the imagination of Cuban educators.

Institute colleague Dr. Fernanda Liberali, professor at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, will be attending.

Yes, I’m very pleased to be traveling with Fernanda and some of our other Brazilian Vygotskian colleagues, who have ongoing relationships with Cuban educators that they plan to share with me.

Janet Wootten is a media and public relations professional, a member of the Institute’s Board of Directors and a leader of its annual community fundraising campaign.

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