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Chile Study Abroad

A Little UNlearning…

by Sara Espinoza
Educational Leadership student

July 11, 2018

For all of the learning opportunities that Texas State has offered me during my graduate courses, I am currently most grateful for the opportunity that I recently had to “unlearn” while participating in a curriculum design course in Santiago de Chile. As part of Texas State’s master’s program in educational leadership, this unique opportunity allowed me to study at Universidad Alberto Hurtado, with Dr. Encarna Rodriguez, editor of Pedagogies and Curriculums to Reimagine Public Education: Transnational Tales of Hope and Resistance. The course content focused on how to design democratic curriculum and promote the voice and needs of the individual in public school systems. The course and the instructor were exceptional, but the welcoming, professional, and dedicated cohort of Chilean educators and aspiring school leaders that I got to work with added exponentially to the experience, and I walked away with new hope for the students and teachers that I serve.

As educators, we often view learning as simple accumulation...more truths + more concepts + more knowledge = greater wisdom. But we neglect to recognize that, as often as we learn things that propel us forward, we also learn things that hinder our progress. With experiences that stem largely from one system, one language, one culture, one worldview, we begin to make assumptions about the way things are and limit our possibilities, but, with a change of context, language, system, and perspective, we can be reminded that many more possibilities exist than we realized, not just in theory, but in practice as well.

I would highly recommend this opportunity to any graduate student who might consider it in the future. My time in Chile, both at the university and in K-12 schools, allowed me to start unlearning the limitations that I have often felt in educational leadership, and I am grateful that my new world of possibilities was tied to an unforgettable experience that I won’t easily forget, even when my learning starts to get in the way.

Sara’s study abroad experience in Chile was organized by Texas State’s Project LEARN-Chile, housed in the College of Education. For further information about this project, view our history on Twitter by searching #LEARN_Chile

Espinoza with her professor and Chilean student counterparts