Teaching to teach between communities in Spanish

Podes leer este post en Español

During 2020 and 2021 we taught two trainings for Carpentries instructors organized by MetaDocencia. These workshops had a number of particular characteristics:

  1. Completely in Spanish: both trainers and participants were people native Spanish-speakers from Latin America.
  2. Online.
  3. In four half-day meetings over two weeks.
  4. An optional fifth meeting was organized to complete the three steps of the checkout.

The first two items made the training much more accessible to Spanish speakers and people from the region who wanted to be trained to be able to teach better. The fact that the workshop is in Spanish breaks down one of the most important access barriers to the materials and practices promoted by The Carpentries. The fact that the workshop is online allows more people to participate from their locations, without having to travel. The two editions of the courses brought together people from Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Uruguay. This also contributes to enriching the regional community because it makes it easier to get to know each other and share the specific experiences of our region.

But this post focuses on the fourth item about adding one additional and optional day to help with the checkout process.

Learning together

Despite all the available information and clarifications about the purpose of the checkout, this certification process is a source of stress for people who want to get certified. How to prepare for the demo, which lesson to choose, how to contribute and, perhaps, how to deal with GitHub, are often the questions and concerns most mentioned by those who attended the instructor trainings organized by MetaDocencia.

One of the most important values in The Carpentries and MetaDocencia is working in community. We cannot think of a better way to do a task that stresses us out than in the company of the people who taught us and the colleagues with whom we shared the workshop.

Tweet translation: Thanks for training us!! Thank you, teachers and colleagues! A group of Latin Americans trained and certified as instructors de The Carpentries. More than a certification, I take with me many lessons learned and a network of good people.

Organization of the checkout

Starting on the last day of the training, we asked those who attended if they would also participate in the checkout day. We made sure to discuss all the doubts that arose so that no one misses the checkout day for these reasons. This allowed us to organize the agenda for the optional day in advance and dedicate the necessary time to each step. We scheduled the necessary demonstration and discussion sessions to include all interested people. Of course, this is possible because The Carpentries has several Spanish-speaking trainers. In each training session we had three or four trainers participating during the optional day.

We started the checkout day by showing the map. That is, we told those who attended how we would organize ourselves, what the timing would be, and what would happen.

We started with the demonstrations because it is the checkout step that generates the most nerves. Doing it at the beginning allowed us to concentrate on the other activities later. For this, the group is divided into small groups of about five people who are joined by a trainer in a Zoom breakout room. We then returned to the main room to discuss the experience and breathe calmly again.

After a break away from the screen of at least 5 minutes, we continued with community discussions. Depending on the number of people, it can also be divided into smaller groups. Many times those of us who were in charge of the discussion start by breaking the ice by telling our experience by showing the training they had in the previous days.

Finally, we dedicated time to the contribution that each person previously identified. For the contributions, we create small thematic groups and in each room there is at least one trainer to address questions.

In general, the contributions take the form of translations, issues, or pull requests to materials from the lessons that interests learners or that they prepared for the demonstration.

For people who have never used GitHub, or do not feel confident using it, we showed them how to use the platform. For that we invited people to share their screen and we guided them through the steps until the pull request or issue is opened. Of course, we celebrated every new contribution!

For those who prefered to contribute translations, we suggested contributing to the [glossary] package (https://github.com/carpentries/glosario) or reviewing/translating a lesson available in The Carpentries translation system. We taught how to use both tools and, again, guided to perform these tasks. Along the way we included spaces to discuss how to translate different terms and agreed on how to use a neutral Spanish understood accross Latin America.

And with that, everyone participated in the usual three steps of the checkout process.

We were left with the task of reporting the results of the demonstration and registering each person’s participation so that they will receive their official Carpentries instructor certificate in the following weeks.

Final remarks

Getting certified is a great achievement. But generating a first pull request, issue, or translation also generates a lot of excitement.

Tweet translation: I am very happy to have obtained my certification as a The Carpentries instructor. Once again thanks to MetaDocencia for creating luxurious spaces to learn with others how to teach technology in an effective, inclusive, and evidence-based way.

These two experiences added 34 instructors from Latin America to The Carpentries community and encouraged one of them to become a trainer.

The checkout percentage exceeded 80%, well above the 44% average of the whole community in the last year. It is an extra effort for the trainers. However, it proves how much more further we can go by learning with a community in our native language.

Tweet translation: The Data Carpentries Instructor certificate has arrived and I am very happy!!!! Thank you, MetaDocencia and The Carpentries, for the workshop! I really enjoyed the journey.

Dialogue & Discussion

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