Development that Works
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    This blog highlights effective ideas in the fight against poverty and exclusion, and analyzes the impact of development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • How important math is in preschool

    24
    May
    2016

    By

    As part of a lesson on quantities, a group of five-year-olds in Huancavelica, Peru, was asked, “If you have three candies and I have six, what is that?” The expected answer was something along the lines of “more” or “less,” but after a moment of contemplation, a student responded, “Unfair.”

    math in preschool

    Source: iStock

    These preschoolers are part of a new bilingual preschool program called Mimate that helps children develop essential pre-math skills. Children need these skills as a basis for primary school mathematics, including number sequence, shape recognition, counting objects, and spatial relations (such as the difference between over and under). Read more…

    Cerrando Brechas: good teachers matter for kindergarten success

    17
    May
    2016

    By

    What makes a teacher a good teacher? Although teachers are mostly selected according to what is showcased in their curriculum vitae, those credentials are not what matters most, according to Cerrando Brechas (Closing Gaps), a multi-year study to measure the effects of better teachers on child learning in the first years of elementary school carried out by the government of Ecuador who requested support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

    Cerrando Brechas participants. Source: IDB

    Cerrando Brechas participants. Source: IDB

    Identifying the effects of teachers on learning is difficult for two reasons.

    First, children are generally not assigned to teachers at random, meaning that groups in different classes are not necessarily homogeneous.

    For example if a teacher is assigned the best students of a group, these naturally will have a better performance regardless of his or her efforts and bias the results of studies that attempt to measure the contributions of teachers to learning.

    Second, it is hard to distinguish good teachers. The characteristics of teachers commonly found in administrative data, which largely determine teacher pay and promotion, generally explain very little of their effectiveness. Read more…

    Symphony for Peru: Music and Social Inclusion together

    10
    May
    2016

    By

    In 2011, the Symphony Association of Peru, presided over by renowned Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez, launched the “Symphony for Peru: Music and Social Inclusion” project with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

    A social intervention inspired by the successful Youth and Child Orchestras of Venezuela.

    The project established four musical centers in four very different areas in Peru: the marginalized, urban ghettos of Trujillo (coastal), Huancayo (mountain), Huánuco (rainforest), and Manchay-Lima (desert). Each center brings music to almost 200 children and adolescents living at or below the poverty level. Read more…

    Lessons from Honduras’ CTT program: conditionalities matter

    3
    May
    2016

    By

    A successful strategy to reduce poverty in developing nations has been the use of conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs.

    CCTs attempt to reduce poverty while also changing behavior and building human capital by providing families with cash in exchange for certain requirements, such as enrolling their children in school.

    Source: Secretaria de Desarrollo e Inclusión Social del Gobierno de Honduras

    Source: Secretaria de Desarrollo e Inclusión Social del Gobierno de Honduras

    These incentives have been employed effectively to boost school enrollment and attendance, decrease child labor, and encourage the use of preventive health services.

    In Honduras, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has been the main financial and technical partner of a CCT known as Bono Vida Mejor (formerly Bono 10,000).

    Since its inception in 2010, Bono Vida Mejor has benefited 350,000 households. It has contributed to reducing the poverty rate in Honduras and moderately improved school attendance and the rate of health clinic visits for children under 3. Read more…

    Opening the English world for native Spanish speakers

    26
    Apr
    2016

    By

    Have you ever tried to learn to speak a foreign language? Did it make you nervous the first time you had to speak it? Imagine having to teach it.

    hispanohablantes ingles
    English is the most widely spoken language in the world. It is spoken by one quarter of the world’s population and is the most published language. More people are learning English today than any other language.

    English is the language of commerce, diplomacy, computers, and half of the internet. Unfortunately in Latin America, few students graduate from school with a command of the English language, limiting their opportunities to participate in a globalized economy.

    Some of these countries are making changes to improve English education. Mexico recently reformed public schools, introducing English in preschool and primary education and increasing study time in English by an additional 50% in secondary education. Read more…

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