The Power of Learning Communities: The Latin American Teacher Professional Development Network

Ixchel Bibiana Galicia Cansino, Coordinator at Proyecto Nuevo Maestro and Enseña por México Alumna

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The Latin American Teacher Professional Development Network (in Spanish, La Red Latinoamericana de Desarrollo Profesional Docente, or DPD) is a community that was created in 2019 and is made up of six organizations led by alumni of the Teach For All global network in Latin America, dedicated to continuous teacher development in socioemotional and pedagogical skills and teaching strategies in multiple Latin American countries.

We seek to create an inclusive community of Latin American teachers and educational leaders in which they have the opportunity to share experiences and best practices in order to encourage the creation of meaningful learning spaces. We achieve this by providing online professional development spaces for teachers that promote the implementation of innovative teaching strategies.

A bit of history

The DPD Network was launched in Mexico in 2019 during Latido Latino, an event that annually brings together alumni from the Teach For All network in Latin America. 

At this meeting, Bernardita Yuraszeck, alumna of Enseña Chile and co-founder of Impulso Docente; Mariel Manriquez, alumna of Enseña por México and director of Proyecto Nuevo Maestro; Romina Przepiorka, alumna of Enseña Uruguay and co-founder of Ábaco Docente; and Vanessa VIllavicencio, alumna of Enseña Perú and coordinator of Qué Maestro; discussed the questions What does it mean to be a teacher in Latin America?  and How can we accompany each other in the challenge of training teachers to scale our national impact to the regional level?  The answer was to create a community and a Latin American network for teacher professional development. 

By 2020, the organizations Arandu Aty in Paraguay and Profe Master in Ecuador had joined the network (the latter ended its participation in January 2022). In 2021, Conexión Docente in Colombia joined as well.

This synergy has been possible because, as alumni of Teach For All network partners, we use the same language and have the same beliefs about the importance of education, which translates into the same vision and values. This is a tremendous benefit  of being part of the Teach For All network, since aligning and co-constructing collectively without losing the specifics of our t countries’ contexts is often difficult to achieve in regional collaborations.

Our achievements

In 2020, with the intention of sharing knowledge and learning among LATAM countries, we conducted our first online seminar consisting of a series of five workshops on various topics related to teaching practice, such as social-emotional skills, gender perspective, and skills development. A total of 1200 teachers from several Latin American countries participated in this first program.

In 2021, we launched the Socioemotional Training Program with the objective of developing the socioemotional skills of the participants through six online workshops. We received more than 1000 applications from network teachers and alumni as well as teachers from outside of the network in 11 Latin American countries. Thanks to the support of Teach For All's Communities and Connections Fund, we were able to enroll 530 participants, 233 of whom successfully completed the program and received a certificate of participation. (Learn more about the results of this program.)

To date, the DPD Network has worked with more than 1,500 teachers in 11 countries, and in 2022 we are aiming to reach more with a second iteration of the Socioemotional Training Program. The program will be held in the second half of the year with a series of six workshops facilitated by the organizations that make up the DPD Network, and our goal is to serve 500 participants.

The value of our community lies in the coming together of teachers' voices throughout Latin America, as well as in building and sharing knowledge, experiences, good practices, and knowledge that strengthens teaching practice. Being part of the Teach For All network has allowed us to build bridges between our own organizations, and invites us to reflect and create collectively. 

If you are a network teacher or alumni in Latin America interested in joining the Socioemotional Training Program that we will be offering this year or leading a teacher professional development initiative in your country, contact us by email and on Facebook.