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News 2 > Global Teacher Prize - Finalists > 2023 Finalists Global Teacher Prize > Manuel Chaves Quirós

Manuel Chaves Quirós 

Costa Rica - UCR Laboratory School

Manuel Chaves Quiros, a dedicated teacher from Costa Rica, has been tirelessly working in the field of educational guidance and vocational development for over 25 years. Despite initially studying engineering, he found his true calling was education, inspired by teachers who had supported him and driven by a deep desire to help children aspire to a better future, particularly as his own childhood experience was of growing up in a rural area plagued by poverty, alcoholism, and drug addiction.

Throughout his career, Manuel has faced numerous challenges working with students from extremely low-income backgrounds, encountering initial indifference from families and communities, as well as scepticism from educational authorities. But his dedication, understanding, and guidance have helped countless students overcome obstacles and achieve success.

Manuel's teaching approach revolves around three key guidance models: educational, vocational, and personal. He conducts group sessions that foster feedback and knowledge sharing among students, using audiovisual materials and tools to facilitate their development. His work begins with youngsters aged 5 and continues through primary school, helping students discover their interests, abilities, and vocational maturity.

One of his significant achievements is the creation of the "Test Fingers Counselling," an innovative vocational test for children aged 11 to 14, helping students understand their interests and abilities and empowering them to make informed career choices and life plans. He has also conducted training sessions for parents to emphasize the crucial role families play in the vocational development of their children.

Manuel's impact on the classroom has been remarkable, achieving a 100% daily school attendance rate and reduced interpersonal relationship problems between students by over 50%. His anti-bullying efforts, including a "Godparents and godchildren" strategy, have completely eliminated bullying cases. Regarding educational and vocational development, all of his primary school graduates have enrolled in secondary education, with over 90% successfully completing it and pursuing further studies. His work with families has received overwhelmingly positive feedback, with 98% of parents finding virtual talks useful. Beyond the classroom, his significant impact on his community includes playing a crucial role in a local development plan improving infrastructure and services in an impoverished area. He has also engaged in environmental projects and promoted waste management and recycling.

Manuel's commitment to developing global citizens is evident in his teaching approach, emphasizing universal values and cultural diversity. His school fosters international connections and participates in global studies related to neuroscience. As an advocate for improving the teaching profession, Manuel has conducted training sessions, given TEDx talks, participated in webinars, and written numerous articles and books on vocational development and education. He has received various awards and recognition for his outstanding work, including the "Ford Motor Award for Environmental Conservation" and being chosen as the "Educator of the Year" in his educational region by the local authorities of the Ministry of Education.

Manuel Chaves Quiros is a dedicated educator who has made a significant impact on the lives of students, families, and communities in Costa Rica. His innovative approaches to educational and vocational guidance have transformed the educational landscape, helping students aspire to brighter futures and achieve their full potential. His commitment to improving education and empowering students serves as an inspiration to educators worldwide.

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