Radio Lessons Help Keep Teachers and Students Connected During Lockdown

When schools in Nigeria closed in mid-March, 48 Teach For Nigeria fellows in Ogun and Kaduna states organized themselves to develop and record lessons for grades one to six and disseminate them through the government’s radio station. Soon after the radio lessons began, two Enseña Chile teachers read about them in an update from Teach For All’s CEO Wendy Kopp, and were inspired to record their own 30-minute lessons on various subjects for students in Chile. In a week, the lessons had been picked up throughout their local district. 

“More than the radio itself, it was the spirit in those broadcasts that was so alive, different, and relevant for the students,” explained Enseña Chile’s CEO, Tomás Recart, who shared the lessons the fellows recorded with the Chilean Radio Broadcasters Association, local government officials, and the media. Before long, they had launched “La radio enseña.” Currently, 50 Enseña Chile teachers and 10 staff members are working with community leaders to record lessons that are broadcast on the radio throughout the country. The lessons, which are targeted at 13- to 18-year-olds and focus on multiple subjects, air daily from Monday to Friday and can also be accessed from Enseña Chile’s website, Spotify, and Instagram

The initiative continues to expand to stations throughout the country, and Enseña Chile is currently exploring sustaining it even after schools reopen. As a quarter of the schools in Chile are rural and hard for Enseña Chile to reach, Tomás believes "La radio enseña" will enable the organization to impact many more students, and hopefully help decrease the attrition rate of the school system.

In March, Enseña Chile hosted a call for teachers of other Teach For All network partners in Latin America who were interested in using the radio for teaching to learn from their experience developing lessons for radio and building the necessary partnerships to have them broadcast widely. Many of these partners are now also working on similar radio projects and continue to connect and share their learnings and challenges with each other.

Enseña por Colombia teachers and alumni have launched “A prender la Onda” which was inspired by “Radio Sutatenza,” a Colombian station that broadcast cultural and educational programs between 1947 and 1994. The lessons air daily and each episode is transmitted twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, to allow students to revisit the lesson or catch up if they missed the morning program. “We use this radio space to share stories and challenges so that our students feel that love and education do not abandon them,” said Enseña por Colombia teacher Lina Marcela Giraldo. The lessons are also all available on Spotify. “Aprender la Onda” was supported by Cuenteach, a think tank and incubator made up of alumni of Teach For All network partners across Latin America who focus on creating and sharing stories related to education. Cuenteach is now offering a course for teachers interested in starting radio programs, which is open to all. 

Two Enseña por México teachers, Raúl Carlín and Alejandra Contreras, launched “El poder de las Emociones,” a show on Frecuencia TEC, the university radio station at Tecnológico de Monterrey. The program focuses on social-emotional skills for students, parents, and teachers, and episodes are uploaded to podcast platforms such as Spotify to increase accessibility. Enseña por México staff and alumni help create content and record guest appearances on the show, and they hope to invite teachers from other Teach For All network partners in Latin America to join future episodes.

Enseña Perú is providing content and production support to “Escuela al Aire” a program on a community radio station in the Ancash region. The Enseña Perú team is helping the local teacher who started the show with planning and producing the lessons, as well as referring alumni and others who have appeared as guests on the program. 

Enseña Ecuador is supporting several community projects in the Zamora Chinchipe province, which is part of the Ecuadorian Amazon and has very limited internet connectivity. Through an agreement with the mayor of the El Pangui community, they have a daily spot on the community radio where they share educational content and are also recording podcasts and connecting through megaphones in rural communities. Enseña Ecuador hopes to expand these initiatives throughout the country in the near future.

Several teachers and alumni of these network partners in Latin America have joined others from across Teach For All on a WhatsApp group focused on using the radio for teaching. Through the group, educators can collaborate, share resources, and learn from each other about how to continue reaching students during and after the pandemic.

Read about teachers and alumni of Teach For All network partners who are reaching students by teaching on television.