On Teaching and Learning

My Thoughts on Teaching and Learning

Marina, Sep 8, 2013

Teaching is my passion. Teaching is, first of all, learning and thinking about learning. It is my favorite intellectual pursuit because I love learning and the rewards that come with it. I am constantly driven by the insatiable thirst for knowing more: about teaching and about learning, about my learners and about myself. My inspiration comes from learning together with others, my students and colleagues, by sharing and complementing one another’s ideas, and by reflecting on them. We are forever constructing the knowledge together, building an enormous jigsaw puzzle, pondering over the missing pieces, taking challenges and finding ways to integrate the new bits, those precious “gems and pearls”- the rewards for our curiosity.

I love learning about the language. I think that what fascinates me about languages and math is the patterns, as well as the modeling and the acquisition of these patterns. To acquire a language though, one must hear it, so language patterns are best modeled with sounds and music is probably the best facilitator for these. I would like to explore how aural-oral language training through direct exposure to natural speech and songs may affect language acquisition. There are a lot of interesting findings on this subject now and I would like to hear from any readers who would be willing to share their thoughts with me.

I think I am also going to devote a lot of time on this blog to the changes in teaching and learning, the shifting of the paradigm, and creating new models which will serve the learners in the 21st century more effectively. I believe that these changes are both exciting and overwhelming: the immense potential of technology to enhance teaching and learning is both empowering and scary.

For me, teaching is about making connections. I am grateful to have had so many opportunities to learn about my numerous learners in various settings. Understanding the learners’ needs and challenges and helping them to recognize them and create their own systems and patterns for learning –this is my method, my ultimate goal, and my reward for teaching.

I also feel that I can fulfill my desire to improve myself if I can make a difference for others. For more than 5 years, I have been the Chair of ETEA Professional Development Committee and have organized 8 professional development events, where I delivered presentations on Teaching Grammar and Teaching Writing, Integrating Technology in ESL Classroom and Classroom Management, and Using Blogs for Sharing Teachers’ Ideas.

Together with many colleagues, whom I am immensely grateful to, and especially, with Michael Wicks, the co-author of this blog, whom I am indebted to for his unfailing support and mentorship, we are striving to create the community of teachers who are able to design their own program towards professional growth.

Michael says:

Understanding learning and teaching is an ongoing study. All of us learn every day; new ideas are presented everywhere we go. New teachers’ excitement and more experienced teachers’ perspectives need to have a place to mix. More importantly, teachers need a place to reflect, so that each can share and discover the unique path they will take.

As a retired teacher, desiring to share 40 years of experience, I am keen to work with Marina to provide one of those places. Having spent time together working on Professional Development in our private teachers union (ETEA), we have seen the talent of our peers in sharing and developing ideas, in drawing others into helpful discussions, and supporting less-experienced teachers in developing their expertise.

Is this blog going to be the way to manifest our vision? We hope so, as we are providing resources, thoughts to reflect on, and specific workshops.  We hope to be inspiring, practical and  able to connect with teachers everywhere.

Join us to help us all benefit from these efforts.

Michael is preparing to share his views on Teaching in his nearest posts on Subordinating Teaching to Learning (SUBTLE) . Also, his new series of workshops on Developing Assertiveness Skills  are coming.

 Check this blog for the times and dates.

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