Ecuador – Tatiana Pesántez, the teacher who gave birth to "Pipo"

19 March 2021

(ANS - Cuenca) - The Covid-19 pandemic has motivated many educators in Salesian circles to seek alternative or innovative teaching methods in the field of virtual teaching. The traditional method of teaching, in fact, was,  not enough to capture the interest of students, especially the boys and girls behind a computer, tablet or mobile phone.

It is in this scenario that initiatives such as that of Tatiana Pesántez, a teacher of the Salesian Technical Educational Unit-Carlos Crespi campus, in Cuenca, are born; an educational therapeutic psychologist, she gave life to a character called "Pipo, the teacher monkey".

For Children's Day 2020 the institution had prepared an online event and Tatiana was part of the group of animators. It was then that she remembered that she had a monkey, a doll, in her closet and that it was the ideal character for the date. And from that moment "Pipo" became her teaching companion in the Religion and Human Dignity course.

The doll was a childhood gift that an aunt gave her, and already her father, Homero Pesántez, animated it through games and the modulation of different voices. This is why "Pipo" has a strong emotional value for her and now she puts him at the service of her third and fifth grade students.

Given the great reception, Tatiana decided to make videos where “Pipo”, in an interactive way, presented each lesson. Then she came up with a more ambitious idea: to create a theater in which she could represent the puppet's stories, and for this she had the support of Luis Curay, the school Director.

This is how Tatiana, together with Jessica Suqui and María José Flores, created the first show; its theme was Don Bosco and its goal was to teach “Pipo” and the children who attended it how to acquire a Salesian heart.

“Pipo is my daily life, I can't teach without Pipo,” says Tatiana, as her students now ask about him at every lesson. In fact, it is now part of her teaching methodology, given that through a constructivist style she makes her pupils learn through the dialogues she plans, with questions and answers on topics such as love of God and respect for diversity and inclusion.

Similarly, the presence of the puppet has awakened the desire of children to learn also in distance learning, because the lessons are moments of joy, fun and fraternity.

Thinking about the future, Tatiana does not want "Pipo" to go back to the closet when they resume lessons in person; Pipo will continue to be her “right-hand man” to carry out a fun and effective education.

This young teacher offers a great lesson: the obstacles of this moment should not be an impediment, but should be interpreted as an opportunity to develop creativity and improve teaching.

“Being a teacher,” concludes Tatiana, “for me means fulfilling a mission to build a better world, hand in hand with Don Bosco; a different education, which generates fraternity and joy.”


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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