The Center for Latin American Studies at The Ohio State University announces the “Teaching the Andes” a one-month seminar project in Otavalo, Ecuador and Cusco, Peru. The purpose of the program is to advance and disseminate knowledge of the Andes by providing opportunities for K-12 educators to experience firsthand the history, politics, language, and culture of the Andes. The program is designed to provide cultural competency in Quechua language development and contribute to the internationalization of the curriculum that accurately and effectively brings the Andes into the classroom through standards-based approaches.

Cotacachi Cayapas Natural Reserve

Cotacachi Cayapas Natural Reserve

Why teach the Andes?

For centuries, the Andean region of South America has attracted travelers, researchers, educators, missionaries, entrepreneurs, explorers, conquistadors, migrants, and others. The physical and cultural distinctiveness of these lands shrouded the region in an aura of wonder and promise that since the arrival of Europeans to the New World has inspired countless pursuits.

The “Teaching the Andes” seminar project will approach Andean cultures from a multidisciplinary perspective centered on the notion of the common good in the public square. The project will equip teachers with multidisciplinary content, curricular resources, and methods of inquiry for deploying that approach themselves in their K-12 classrooms, creating a model that is generative of innovative approaches to K-12 education more broadly.

Teaching the Andes allows us to engage not just a variety of subjects, but the epistemological processes behind them. We expect to cover not just history and regional historical connections but the processes by which histories of the area were written and documented in the first place, what events or phenomena were highlighted, which accounts were marginalized or omitted. Introducing such skills for critical analysis as early as elementary school and fostering reflexive and empathetic understanding via inquiry-led and process-centered pedagogies makes significant inroads into debunking trivial approaches to history and superficial approaches to culture.

It is possible—in fact, necessary—to introduce these models in early education as we strive to develop generations of students who are not only informed about the world and aware of other cultures, but who have cultural competency skills along with the capacity for empathetic understanding and a sense of social obligation to contribute to the common good.

Program Design

The program will include a Pre-Departure Orientation and webinar planning sessions, 4 weeks of fully-funded overseas travel for twelve k-12 educators, and post-travel summary activities. Participants will enjoy a variety of activities abroad, including:

  • Tours in colonial Quito, Ecuador
  • Music, dance, and artisanal demonstrations in Otavalo, Ecuador
  • Daily experiential activities designed to “Teach the Andes”
  • Site Visits to Intag Cloud Forest Reserve, Machu Picchu and many more!