Karol Villalobos Ovares

EL Preschool Teacher, Costa Rica

Karol was born in San José, Costa Rica. She graduated in Preschool Education with an Emphasis in Bilingual Teaching at the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica and later specialized in Learning Disabilities at Universidad Fidelitas.

Being diagnosed in her adulthood with attention deficit and hyperactivity made her understand her difficulties and little empathy with which the educational system addresses these realities in childhood.

Therefore, encouraging her to study education. She focuses her efforts on providing an active, dynamic, and inclusive education proposal. She pursues the knowledge of her students by enhancing their skills and creating procedural strategies for their development by discovering their intrinsic motivations and generating autonomy, security, and satisfaction. With more than fifteen years of experience in teaching, she is passionate about sharing with her students in artistic-playful environments, the creation and discovery of linguistic resources and technological tools in real and everyday contexts, that promote the acquisition of English language.

She is currently researching and putting into practice respectful models of teaching a second language in early childhood, considering active listening, and playing as promoters of their skills, and the awakening of phonemic awareness for the construction of words, phrases, etc. Based on methodologies such as Montessori and Reggio Emilia, among others that foster child’s development and their construction of knowledge.

A good day happens when she hears her students express themselves spontaneously and naturally with each other in English, regardless of the amount of words or meaning, the only thing that matters is their effort and willingness to communicate in English.

* Schedule: Karol will be a panelist on the general session panel titled “Find Unique Solutions Through Partnerships: Forge Connections” on Wednesday, March 3rd 1:00-1:35 pm MST.

Breakout Session Description: In 2019, a government and edtech company came together to meet the needs of a nation and together they found a better way to help Costa Rica’s youth learn English. The Alliance for Bilingualism in Costa Rica partnered with Alegra Learning, an edtech company based out of the US to integrate their program Joy School English into Costa Rica’s primary schools. When pandemic struck in 2020, Costa Rica’s private schools continued to use Alegra Learning’s program at home as distributed by EduTech C.A., and the public schools were able to quickly follow suit. This enormous success was fueled by teachers, who in a heroic effort, took the initiative to reach out to families and sign students up for the program one by one. One month later, in August 2020, the number of students climbed from 5,000 to 58,000+. As Manuel Rojas-Mata, the National Coordinator of the Alliance for Bilingualism said, “Alegra Learning appeared in the right moment” and “fit perfectly”. 

We are still in the midst of a devastating worldwide crisis. No solution or partnership we come up with will likely be perfect, but some can perhaps come close and others can be just good enough for now. Today, even though school is online, hybrid, and in many cases vacillating back and forth between the two, through the efforts of countless people and a very timely partnership, young private and public school students in Costa Rica still have access to a high quality EFL education from home or at school. Watch this general session panel live to learn from the leaders themselves about how this partnership was formed, what has come from it, and principles they would like to share with others who are seeking for similar solutions during this time of crisis.