jueves, 8 de diciembre de 2016

Becoming the Greatest Teacher? You can always start Over Again!

                                                                                                   By Flor de María Vila A.

When one begins another year, usually feels one can start anew. It´s like beginning a new relationship or moving to a different house. Do you remember establishing a new friendship or moving to your present home? Doesn´t one try to enhance oneself or embellish one´s new place?
What about beginning a new relationship with that teacher we carry inside? What would you need to enamor that educator? What about brightening ourselves up?
Probably, what we will do is trying to enhance what we already possess or are. As an alternative, we would dare to do new things in order to have more chance of becoming interesting enough to captivate that teacher. Thus, we need to identify the qualities that should be beautified or try new deeds.
We know that first impressions are the ones that may open opportunities or, adversely, narrow our chances down to zero. So, let´s start with the most important: your business card. What is it? It is quite difficult to choose, but I will venture an attempt and make a list with the minimum to embellish our qualities. You can consider it to decide what to study in summer. 

1.    Language: It should be like the irresistible song of a mermaid.
In order to achieve that, we need to reinforce at least pronunciation and grammar. There are always pronunciation, advanced grammar or conversation courses that could be useful to help you accomplish that goal. Even better, we could take a preparation course to take an international exam and obtain a certification of a higher level. If you are well organized, you could always study on your own. There are so many free websites and apps that could serve like a dream. Just type the exam you want to take and there will be thousands of entries from which to choose. Furthermore, having a higher certification will give us many more opportunities to get a job and even better to choose the job we want. A higher certification also means a better salary or the possibility of exploring new areas, courses and so on.
2.   Methodology: It should be connected to the idea of innovation
Answer this: How much of what we do or use in our classes is truly ours? Have we been copying or adapting materials? Have we incorporated new tools, technological tools for instance? Who can innovate?
Innovation means change, and that could be drastic or progressive. But, how is it done? I would say that the only way to have new ideas is by exposing ourselves to new knowledge and, most importantly, by daring to try new things in class. We need to leave our comfort zone and gently move to a routine laboratory experiment. Our classes should be that space that creates new types of engagement, experience, and commitment.
We do not need to invent the gunpowder, just use our imagination!
Another way to picture innovation is to think of it as an ability to combine existing resources. Thus, we need to learn about those resources. We need to nourish creativity by permeating it with reading. 
We need to set goals if we want to feel we´re moving forward and even better to feel that it is worthwhile to spend the time we´ve got on whatever we decide to do.  You do not need to set out to make far-reaching change, just start with the simplest.

We just need a single butterfly to change everything. Do you remember the following saying?  “When a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world it can cause a hurricane in another part of the globe.” (Author unknown). Then, merely dare to begin FLAPPING!!

                          What about sharing your ideas about this topic?
What do we need to "upgrade" ourselves? Is it necessary to make structural changes?


M.A. in Cognition, Learning and Development from PUCP, B.A. in Education with a major in English Teaching. Ms. Vila is currently Pedagogic Advisor and Member of the Research Team at Centro de Idiomas de la Universidad del Pacífico and Academic Director of International Contacts (test training & foreign applications advisory). She is official Examiner for several University of Cambridge tests, freelance consultant with Universidad ESAN, experienced speaker on diverse English teaching issues for prestigious institutions, and senior international examinations trainer (GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS).