Sarramona, J. (2020). La enseñanza no presencial en la educación básica. Guía práctica para maestros y profesores [Distance teaching in elementary education: a practical guide for teachers]. (Antonio J. Colom Cañellas)
Sarramona, J. (2020).
La enseñanza no presencial en la educación básica. Guía práctica para maestros y profesores [Distance teaching in elementary education: a practical guide for teachers].
Horsori. 92 pp.
This new book by Jaume Sarramona is, in our opinion, well worth reviewing because, more than ever, we believe that it merits a discussion to make known certain aspects that, as well as being noteworthy, seem important to us as they have had a bearing on the development of education in Spain in recent years, a process in which Professor Sarramona has, to a large extent, been a leading figure.
We say this because in 1975, Sarramona published no fewer than three books; one with the Teide publishing house called Cogestión en la escuela [Comanagement at school], and two others which now, after many years, can be seen to be important milestones for our most recent times; namely, La enseñanza a distancia. Posibilidades y desarrollo actual [Distance learning: possibilities and current development] and Tecnología de la enseñanza a distancia [Distance learning technology], both published by CEAC. As a result, Spain progressed, coming up to date with what was already an established reality in the English-speaking world.
These titles were not examples of mere snobbishness or of being avant la lettre, although he was ahead of his time, but instead they soon had a practical expression as our colleague was involved at the forefront of the design of the UNED, Spain’s distance education university. However, no trace is now left of the good work from that period and his valuable proposals. Costa Rica and other Latin American countries also benefitted from his collaboration to establish their respective distance education universities.
This is not, therefore, a new author or an opportunistic book, rather quite the contrary. The distance learning we now have the pleasure of presenting is the culmination of the long career of someone who was a pioneer in these questions and, given the situation in which we currently find ourselves, it arrives as a useful and above all necessary instrument for our schools. And also because I believe that new generations not only lack historical knowledge, which is perhaps forgivable (I have my doubts), but also the very culture of the environment in which they work.
In the midst of a pandemic, Professor Sarramona has written a book that is not just exemplary — he has many more of these than the current crop of academics — but necessary, tremendously necessary and useful. In the current difficult circumstances, this book is a tool — a vital one, I would say — for enabling our children to do their courses with complete security in both the health and cultural spheres alike.
Sarramona has undoubtedly provided a useful and necessary tool to help solve the issue of classes in which students are not physically present, and fundamentally to help teachers with questions related to the act of teaching. The author provides an exemplary response to both of these circumstances because he develops aspects such as planning for distance teaching — a basic element that should form part of any teacher’s professional skills — that is to say, setting clear objectives, doing relevant exercises, ensuring students work in groups and individually, promoting the necessary didactic resources for this type of teaching, and essentially connecting didactic activities to the objectives previously set. What Fernández Huerta called congruence between teaching and learning. (Nota bene: Professor Fernández Huerta was Chair of Education at the Universidad de Barcelona. He was a great statistician and he introduced educational technology and programmed learning to Spain.)
As well as what is mentioned above, the author dedicates a chapter each to the most difficult questions relating to distance teaching, which have been the target of many tirades in recent months, namely, how to assess, how to motivate, and fundamentally, how to tutor students, in other words, how to help them, how to direct them, how to make the necessary guidance possible so that they feel secure in their activities and know that what they are doing is not just valuable but also that this value is guaranteed by their teacher.
In short, this is a book for this very moment, that all teachers should be familiar with, in particular so that they can apply its proposals. Indeed, it is packed with examples of practical activities and attitudes, with suggestions, synopses, and that which is the ultimate purpose of pedagogy; namely, it focusses on how to do it. This is undoubtedly the ideal book for use in primary education and teaching degrees.
It is, therefore, an illuminating example taken to its maximum expression of what the theory of education is, or at least what it should be, and which I hope (and this hope is, it seems to me, plural) will focus on being theory for action, or to put it another way theory for improving educational practice, and so solving problems in class. Values yes, and also morality — what would become of pedagogy without them? — but theory’s raison d’être is undoubtedly that it improves practical pedagogy and resolves educational problems. Those problems that are so far from the university, but which primary school teachers face every day in class.
Sarramona’s new book is an excellent example of all of this. And please read it, even if you are not of his generation. You will learn from it and perhaps, if you do not have mental or other objections, it might affect what you think the theory of education is and should be, namely, solving problems and helping those who do not know, more or less as Monsignor Tusquests taught us. (Another forgotten Professor of Pedagogy, who with his Pedagogía de la problematicidad [Pedagogy of problematics] could still as my colleague and friend the novelist Camilo Cela said, help many people lose their simplicity.)
Antonio J. Colom Cañellas ■