International Education Consulting

Outreach • Teacher Training • Student Workshops • Curriculum Consulting

At Manu Kai we firmly believe in the importance of well-rounded, comprehensive science instruction. When it comes to understanding the life sciences and natural history, it is vital that students are instructed in a way that incorporates the foundational concepts that enable the understanding of how the story of life is constructed. This integrated approach to learning is key to the process of cultivating a knowledgeable, scientifically literate citizenry who can make informed decisions that impact the ecosystems that sustain us.

We at Manu Kai are committed to ensuring that students around the world, and particularly those in ecologically sensitive and biodiversity rich areas, receive sound scientific instruction at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. We work with local schools, non-profits, curriculum consortiums and ministries of education worldwide to improve upon science standards and to develop curricula that incorporates fundamental topics, however controversial or difficult to understand, in a way that relates to students’ everyday experiences. To do this, we have teamed up with organizations like the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center at Duke University, the Belize Ministry of Education and the Caribbean Examination Council to turn these goals into realty.

Understanding the basic building blocks of all life helps us become more educated, scientifically literate citizens capable of making informed decisions that impact the environment around us. Teaching difficult topics like evolution and the scientific method is vital to this because science is playing an increasingly important role in our world. From the development of more effective medicine, better crop yields, more accurate weather prediction, safer transportation, and cleaner energy sources, new discoveries and scientific innovations are shaping our lives in profound ways. When citizens and policy makers understand the need for, and benefits of, comprehensive science instruction, and concepts like evolution, biodiversity, ecosystem services and scientific literacy, we can make decisions that will have profound impacts on our environment, our economies, and our future.

Read on to learn more about our work abroad…

Galápagos Islands

Goals of the Project

A team from the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), and representatives from Manu Kai Educational Services, traveled to the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador to conduct elementary school, high school and university level workshops on several biological concepts, and on effective ways of teaching evolution in the classroom. The team also led similar workshops for tour guides at the Galápagos National Park.

What We Did

Led the workshops for the high school and university students at the Tomas de Berlanga school in Puerto Ayora, Galápagos. Mr. Nunez assisted with the SALSA (Seeing and Learning Science Afterschool) program.

* All workshops were done in Spanish.

Barbados

Goals of the Project

To revise the Caribbean Secondary Examination Council (CSEC) Biology Syllabus in order to make it more comprehensive and relevant to students’ lives.

What We Did

Mr. Nunez represented his home country of Belize as part of an international review panel of six curriculum specialists from across the Caribbean (Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana and Belize). The syllabus was revised to meet international standards in terms of content and pedagogy. More hands-on activities were included as well as practical labs. Interconnectivity among chapters was encouraged. This new syllabus was put into effect starting in the Fall of 2013. It will be tested starting 2015.

Curriculum Reform in the Caribbean

2011 – Phase 1 (Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, Belize)

Phase 1 Objectives

This project was an effort to expose high school and community college teachers to biological evolution, evidence for biological evolution and the applications of evolutionary biology to everyday life. With the biology syllabus for the region in the review process, this phase of the project sought to prepare teachers to teach difficult concepts that were incorporated in the revised syllabus.

What We Did

Manu Kai teamed up with biologists and science educators from NESCent and traveled to four of the thirteen countries in the Caribbean that subscribe to the Caribbean Examinations Council standards. In Jamaica, they visited Excelsior high school where they conducted workshops and small discussion groups. Students were exposed to careers in science. A workshop was also conducted for the science faculty at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus in Kingston, Jamaica. In Port of Spain, Trinidad, the team conducted both student and teacher workshops. The team also visited two schools in the Bridgetown, Barbados where student and teacher workshops were held. In Belize, the team conducted student workshops at Muffles High School in Orange Walk Town, a high school teacher workshop in Belize City, as well as a faculty workshop at the University of Belize Campus in Belmopan, Belize.

This project was made possible through collaborations with the NESCent, Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), University of the West Indies (UWI), and the University of Belize (UB).

2012 – Phase 2 (Belize, Trinidad)

Phase 2 Objectives

Following the success of the 2011 trip across the Caribbean and the completion of the revised CSEC Biology syllabus, this was joint collaboration to further the missions of the first trip by reaching a greater number of teachers. The goal was to expose high school and university teachers in both rural and urban areas of Trinidad and Belize to research in evolutionary education as well as to the changes in the high school biology syllabus.

What We Did

In Belize, teacher workshops were held in both Belize City and Belmopan. The workshops were geared towards high school teachers and the implementation of the new high school biology syllabus. In Trinidad workshops were held in Port of Spain as well as schools in remote areas of the country where active research in biological education was being conducted. Students were introduced to “Guppy Research” and its relevance to conservation biology. High school teachers were introduced to the newly revised CSEC Biology syllabus.

*We did not physically participate in the workshop, but organized the student and teacher workshops. Mr. Nunez participated in the workshop via video conference.

2013 – Phase 3 (Jamaica, Kingston/Montego Bay)

Phase 3 Objectives

Following the completion of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Caribbean project, the team embarked on Phase 3, with the goal of disseminating official changes to the syllabus including the laboratory activities.

What We Did

Manu Kai teamed up with NESCent in Kingston, Jamaica where a series of teacher workshops were to be videoed and used as a teaching resource across all thirteen CXC countries. The team also visited two high schools (one rural and one urban) near Kingston. A second workshop was held for high school teachers in Montego Bay. These workshops were extremely important given that the syllabus was already in place and was scheduled for testing in two years time.

Results

We work hard to ensure that the programs we’ve completed produce lasting results.  For that reason we keep in close communication with participants and organizations to ensure the lasting impact of these initiatives.

What’s Next?

We are always looking for ways to create new partnerships for upcoming projects.  If you or your organization would like more information on our programs or our outreach projects, please contact us.