Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

No es Fácil: A phrase learned by K-12 Educators this Summer while in Cuba

July 8th, 2015

Ten K-12 educators travelled to Cuba to learn and develop classroom lesson plans to enhance current teaching in U.S schools about a country clouded in mystery and intrigue to most of the United States. What they learned is no es fácil/it’s not easy, an expression commonly used among Cubans. The group participated in Tulane University’s Latin American Resource Center summer teacher institute in Cuba. Ten educators from across the U.S. were selected to participate in this unique and exciting two-week institute June 20 – July 4, 2015.

Professor Annie Gibson led the group through an itinerary designed to expose U.S. educators to society and the culture of Cuba while focusing on one of Cuba’s ideals of national pride – education. The trip was developed in coordination with the National Union of Writers and Artists or UNEAC with faculty, artists, writers and social activists providing lectures and performances throughout the program.

The group engaged with local community groups that use the arts to enhance their community and lives of children in the neighborhood with Muraleando Lawton. Social activist hip-hop group Obsesión shared their music and journey to develop socially conscious music about the diversity of Cuban identity. We heard from literacy teacher, Norma Guillard about her experience teaching in 1961 during the Cuban Literacy Campaign. Grammy award winning rumba group Los Muñequitos de Matanzas engaged the group in an exploration of AfroCuban roots on a sizzling hot summer day. The group was welcomed into art schools and public libraries in Cienfuegos and Havana to connect with kids about their passion for the arts and learn about children’s literature. Themes of environmental preservation and restoration were explored while traveling to UNESCO World Heritage site, Viñales. Participants saw firsthand the site of the historic 1961 U.S. backed invasion of the bay of pigs.

Check out the map of our travels to explore the geography of Cuba.

Each participant in the program is developing a set of lesson plans to be used in their own classroom and to be published together as a cohesive curriculum unit for other educators to bring Cuba into their classroom.

The Curriculum Unit, Cuba Across the Curriculum, will serve as a resource for all educators interested in infusing Cuba across disciplines. Topics will address:

  • Food
  • Music
  • Environmental preservation
  • Education
  • History
  • Future for U.S./Cuba Relations

Check back later on our online curriculum page for the finalized unit by December 2015.

If you are interested in bringing Cuba into your classroom don’t miss this resource and others such as the Virtual Visitor Speaker Bureau (invite a speaker via skype to discuss new directions in Cuba), the LARC Lending Library, the Lending Library Guide and more.

Check out the event website for more details, the schedule, and information on resources for your classroom!

For more pictures from the event, visit the Stone Center flickr page.

Cuba + People
Laura Rosanne Adderley
Associate Professor - History
Cuba + News