Institut Escola Trinitat Nova: “They learn that the audiovisual in general requires an effort, enthusiasm, hard work, and that it is not just a question of pressing a button.”

02/20/2019

We interview Lupe Capell, audiovisual facilitator and Pilar Armengol, audiovisual teaching coordinator at the Institut Escola Trinitat Nova (IETN). This centre, which wants to become an educational space integrated in the neighbourhood, was created in 2017 as part of Barcelona City Council’s Neighbourhood Plan.

The Institut Escola is a new project with audiovisual as the main focus of the educational work. How did this idea arise?

Pilar Armengol: There were two primary schools in the neighbourhood, Sant Josep Oriol and Sant Jordi and this secondary school, which was called Roger de Flor. There was a need for change in these centres. The Barcelona Education Consortium decided to close them, relocate the teaching staff and look for a new head teacher to lead this project. The Institut Escola was to form a single school for pupils from the age of 3 to 16. It was proposed to Joan Artigal who had a period of nine months to form a team and choose the new teaching staff. The proposal of following a teaching line with the focus on audiovisual appeared during this process.

 

When did the audiovisual facilitator join the project?

Pilar: The Neighbourhood Plan came out in June 2017, and a few centres from this area were offered the opportunity to have three people from outside the teaching staff, recruited by the Neighbourhood Plan. There are two figures which are the same in several centres: the social educator and the emotional educator. There is a third figure which each centre can individualize. This is when the school, during the process of defining the audiovisual project, advised by the ICUB, said: “We want an audiovisual technician”. That’s why Lupe joined in November.

 

What does your work consist of?

Lupe: My position forms part of the community team which is also one of the special things about the IETN and which means that, in part, we are also in charge of opening the school up to the neighbourhood. On the one hand, instead of the Trinitat Nova primary and secondary school, we are moving toward the Trinitat Nova educational space. Our activities are also open to families and people who have nothing to do with the school. As the team has gradually been formed and we have become established during this first year, our intention has been to open up to the neighbourhood, whether in sport, languages or audiovisual. Young people from the neighbourhood can come and share this learning with everyone. This community team joins the team of teachers and supports them or collaborates on different levels, depending on the project.

The team includes an emotional specialist, social integrators and a community facilitator from the neighbourhood, Otger Cano, who is also very special because he puts us in contact with the different organizations. He knows the whole fabric of associations in the neighbourhood very well and he also knows many families, thanks to his professional career. I am also there as the audiovisual facilitator. My task is both to propose audiovisual activities which can be of use to the centre, and to support the teachers when they think that they can use audiovisual but they find the technical part too complicated or they do not have a command of it. They think that the project could go ahead, but they don’t know how to do it. It works in different ways. Sometimes a teacher comes to see me with their project, and I tell them how they can make it possible from the technical viewpoint. I accompany them when we record it, edit it and even in the pre-production phase. And sometimes it happens the other way round. I am very lucky; I can’t complain at all, because they let me propose a lot. By observing a little, talking with the youths about what we think they may like, we try to detect which activity we can propose. I also help to give shape, through audiovisual, to the more open activities that we want to undertake, such as the workshops. These mix different ages and we want the learning to be more active and fun.

 

Pilar: This community team is also a distinctive feature of the centre. The Neighbourhood Plan offers these figures, but in other schools they have joined the dynamics of the centre or they do what is asked of them. However, in this new project, for example, the Consortium recognizes the figure of Alba Sanagustín, who is the community manager. A school has a leadership team formed by a head teacher, a studies coordinator and a secretary. Here this fourth person is recognized. One of the reasons for creating the centre is that the majority of boys and girls from the neighbourhood are enrolled in schools outside the neighbourhood. The neighbourhood also lacks facilities such as a library and a sports space. With the work that is being carried out in the IETN, the school library will be the neighbourhood library and so will the gym. The community team is a distinctive feature of the centre, and we are committed to it being an educational space and to the school not being closed as a centre, but rather a neighbourhood space.

 

 

Do all of the centre’s pupils participate in the audiovisual projects?

Pilar: Most of them. There are groups in which all the pupils take part throughout the year. For example, starting last year those in the first year of secondary school take Cine en curso (film at school). The other group in the first year of secondary school creates an audiovisual project linked to the circus, since we have the circus school of the Ateneu Popular de Nou Barris right here. This year, in the fourth and fifth year of primary school, they began to take Photography at school. The older children have shorter projects, which do not last the whole year, but rather from 4 to 5 months, also linked to audiovisual.

Lupe: We have artistic audiovisual on Mondays, which offers a blend of audiovisual and theatre. This year we opened a radio workshop and it is proving to be very popular. We are still finalizing the shape that it will take, but it is working very well. Then we have a journalism afternoon, related to audiovisual. We will hold special workshops with the young children, based on the universe of Méliès. We already know it a little and we will use old special effects. We also organize activities with chrome with the young children. And then we have the Trinitubers.

 

What are the Trinitubers?

Lupe: This is a project that we activate and deactivate depending on the needs. They become the school’s journalists. We gave it this name, Trinitubers, so that the children would find it more attractive and link it to YouTube. We created the logo, taking the image of YouTube and the children, just on seeing the logo and playing with the mike, are already hooked. Because the mike and the credits are like those of real journalists. They are boys and girls who have good everyday behaviour at school or who have a motivation or interest in audiovisual. They come to the audiovisual classroom, we explain what the activity is, what they have to cover as journalists and we train them. What questions can they ask? What will we be recording? What is our objective for the day? And then I accompany them with the cameras and the mike and we cover different things that are happening in the neighbourhood, the school, ...

We will now tackle a project called Educarts from another school to record for carnival. We want it to be open to discover other situations or projects, as well as those which are internal. They like it because of the small things that children find funny. Small motivations, such as the logo, the mike, that they are fairly autonomous actions, since they have to set up the tripod themselves, etc., ... I have been doing it for many years now, and it’s fun to see how a child experiences things that you have completely assimilated but which, for them, it is the first time that they are doing. Such as setting up the tripod, which is a real adventure for them.

 

Pilar: As a school, what is good is that everyone is involved in everything in the project but, at the same time, it offers spaces where the pupils who are more interested in one aspect or, as Lupe says, are more motivated, can make faster progress. Such as the Trinitubers or other projects that we want to do but for which we need time and the structure to gradually create them.

 

 

You set up the Aloha tubers video club. An educational space for pupils who are from the centre and also for those who are not. How did this workshop arise and what does it consist of?

Lupe: It is the extracurricular activity that we devote to audiovisual. We hold it on Wednesday afternoons from 5 to 6.30. Yesterday there were six of us; some days there are more, others less. I think that it will gradually grow when it starts taking shape. We talk with them about what audiovisual interests they have and we mix it all with a critical spirit. We show videos that they would never watch or old films and we mix their universe with ours. Each day we finish with a practical exercise. We have practised with Stop Motion, old special effects, TiK ToK. We want to open up to the social media and new technologies with tablets, because we think that they need to mix both worlds. What is the distinctive feature about this? That every second Wednesday we meet up in the neighbourhood with a group of young people who are organizing a festival of YouTubers, with the support of the educators from the Neighbourhood Plan. This was proposed by a boy from the neighbourhood; he knocked at the door of the Neighbourhood Plan and they looked for other young people who wanted to collaborate. We want it to be them, accompanied by a recognized YouTuber and the street educators, who organize the festival. We have joined the initiative. One week we hold the workshop, and the next we go to the festival.

 

How have the parents reacted to this unconventional type of education?

Pilar: It is still early to be able to give an opinion about how the families see it. Maybe the fact that there is more technical material gives them the sensation that more things will be done. However, at the moment, we do not have very clear feedback that for them this is improving the education of their children. But, as we work on aspects such as making them autonomous, helping them to manage things, I think that they must see a difference.

 

 

Lupe: Joan Artigal, the centre’s head teacher, always explains to us that when they put audiovisuals in the meetings with families, they must help them to see the everyday life at the school. They must feel at ease. There are many immigrant families, and some parents who do not yet speak the language very well need to know what we are doing in the school. Each year always makes a video explaining what is done in the school. They explain that this is my classroom, this is my teacher, ... In the meetings with parents, we always try to show a video so that they can see what we are doing. Also with the photographic projects, such as Photography at school, the audiovisual projects that we do here or Cine en curso, we always try to see how we can collaborate with the neighbourhood with a viewing for everyone. This year, we want to organize an exhibition of the pupils’ photographs and we want to share the results.

I have experience as a network communication technician and I really like applying it in the school because I believed that making our networks bigger means bringing to the neighbourhood not just what we are doing, but also what we will do and what we propose. Having followers on the social media allows us to communicate with the neighbourhood in a very easy manner. And with our target audience. In one year we have increased by 650 followers on Instagram and by 150 YouTube subscribers, which may not be much, but if they are precisely those of our neighbourhood we are interested in them. Because, whenever we announce any activity, we have direct feedback from the pupils and from the neighbourhood. We share information from the cultural centre when they ask us. We have a fairly strong presence on the social media.

 

What do the boys and girls think of these first experiences in front of and behind the camera?

Lupe: When they see the camera they are very surprised, since with mobiles the number of people who decide to buy a camera has gone down considerably. The surprise effect is even bigger. We have simple, but practical cameras. The first thing that they do, to tell the truth, is to put their finger on the lens. They want to touch everything, to experiment, all the buttons, to see themselves, to take photos. Most of them are fascinated by the camera. Then there are some who love going out and others not so much. We try to get everyone to test them, but we don’t force anyone. Then what they really love is the radio. To hear their voice, the mike and the headphones.

 

Do they participate in the whole recording and editing process?

Lupe: Above all in the preparation of the script and the recording. We now want to include editing. The problem with editing is that it is a much longer and denser process than what people imagine. We try to get them to participate, but depending on the age they only record and I edit. As they become older, we get them to participate in this process. The ones studying Cine en curso do undertake the editing.

 

 

How do the audiovisual pieces help to support the classroom teaching?

Lupe: The teachers use audiovisual to support their classes, above all short films. When they organize a film forum, they also ask for my opinion about which audiovisual could be the most appropriate. I also ask professionals for help to expand our audiovisuals and the videos that we make are always shown in class. This year we are going to make an audiovisual which is quite different. In the school we have created mediators for when there is a conflict between the pupils. We will make a video explaining about this service. It will be like a video advertising the service within the classroom made by the pupils. Another video that we made is to remind the families that they have to bring fruit on Wednesdays. It is fun, with a superhero explaining the advantages of eating fruit. Another that we made is the video club, explaining what TiK ToK is. We had realized that the young people know, but the adults don’t. Sometimes, when we need to, we can make a video.

 

Do you think that it is important for children to learn about audiovisual and what do you think it brings them?

Lupe: The first thing that it gives them is a critical spirit in order to know how to differentiate what is being sold to people. Even more so now, in the time in which we are living, with so much fake news. You see images and you are incapable of distinguishing what is real and what isn’t with the special effects that now exist. It is good to help them to understand that things are being done in a certain way. They then learn a lot that everything requires an effort. That audiovisual is not just making a video and being a success in YouTube, but rather the YouTubers that they admire the most have needed hours of practice and work. That all those videos are edited. That audiovisual in general requires an effort, enthusiasm, hard work, and that it is not just a question of pressing a button.

 

The project has received several awards, such as the Barcelona educational innovation award, but also the 1st Prize for Illustrated Audiovisual Story in the Floral Games of Nou Barris and in those of Barcelona for La Luri vol conèixer el sol (Luri wants to meet the sun). What was it like for the children to see their work receive an award?

Lupe: They experienced it with great enthusiasm, nerves and joy. Above all, when they went to the City Hall and they were finalists in the award for Catalonia. We weren’t expecting them to win. This year the video La Luri vol conèixer el sol will be transformed into a video of the programme Una mà de contes. They are making an illustrated version of the same story with a professional illustrator. We are very happy. This was the big final prize. It gave them great joy because they did it almost all themselves, they did the drawings, the voices, ... They participated in the process a lot. We are repeating this video illustrated story project.

 

 

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