Are our students really learning? Is the class content meaningful? Are they going to be able to use this knowledge to make the world a better place for everyone?
These are just a few questions I have been reflecting in the past three years. I have been reshaping my work as a teacher to become an educator who aims to help my students learn to learn and find the solutions by themselves.
I believe that repetition and memorization are not enough to make my student become fluent in the language she or he wants to learn. I am an example of this because I started having classes of English when I was 6 years old. I remember the classes very well. There were lots of drills, copies, and vocabulary lists to be memorized. I also needed to learn grammar by repeating the structures. The result after 12 years of English classes? I knew how to repeat and I knew many grammar structures but I was not able to communicate. I felt really frustrated and I did not want my students to feel the same way.
I learned the "secrets" when I read the book Language Learning Strategies - what every teacher should know, written by Rebecca Oxford. I also learned a lot reading about autonomy in learning. This was like magic to me! I started changing the paradigms of my job and I could see my students really learning!
I also learned a lot when I worked at Duke University. My director, Professor Magda Silva, inspired me to think about the contents of my classes that should be really meaningful. This was another big change in my career. I remember using very provocative sentences and texts so my students could learn the language reflecting about a fair world for everyone.
I have been changing a lot every day. I watch lots of videos about philosophy, anthropology, conflict resolution, education, peace, environment and many other topics. All these fields and others shape the way I work. I really want my students to learn in a meaningful way.
If you are interested in trying to change education, you can watch these videos:
Changing the education paradigm: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U
Paulo Freire: An incredible conversation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFWjnkFypFA
Sugata Mitra: Build a school in the cloud: https://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_build_a_school_in_the_cloud?language=en
Schooling the world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6t_HN95-Urs
CPCD projects: http://www.cpcd.org.br/videos/globo-rural-english-parte-13-video_c45f89e93.html
See you soon!