Troika & BrELT: The Results

In partnership with Troika, we were able to offer two teachers the opportunity to attend two signature courses. Mary Ruth Popov got the Wired Sounds scholarship and Jonathan Macedo got one for the Iungo course.

Read and comment on Mary’s and Jonathan’s impressions on the Troika courses they were given the chance to attend.

Thank you for your kindness, Mary and Jonathan!

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Jonathan Macedo on Iungo:

To go tech or not to go tech, that’s the question! 

Using technology in the classroom is something that is challenging for anyone – especially when its use is mandatory at your workplace. Some teachers struggle to implement technological resources at their lessons, not because they don’t try it, but because instead of being something natural, it is something clunky and some teachers are not used to it.

We perform rather mundane activities like checking our messages, posting and commenting on updated, checking our emails but why is it so complicated for us to implement the use of some technological tools in our daily teaching practice? Are we looking at it through the most complicated angle? Having those questions in mind, I was happy I was chosen by BrELT to attend the IUNGO course by Troika.

Paulo Dantas, our trainer made us think about topics such as:

  • How is a particular technological tool going to transform my students’ outcome?
  • Is it going to be something practical to everyone?

What am I going to use?

When we are asked to use technological tools in our lessons we find the first struggle: What am I going to use? That question shouldn’t be your first concern. As mentioned previously, technology in our lessons should be a tool to transform learning, and not the other way around. As a suggestion, write your planning, decide your activities, THEN you check if your lesson needs to have something different.

If you need your students to describe what people are wearing you could use their Instagram/Facebook and describe the pictures they shared with their network. By doing that, you personalised your lesson, you used a technological resource, you transform your student experience, and last, but not least, you didn’t have to spend extra work hours on designing something miraculous.

How do I know if what is going to transform my students’ learning experience?

That’s one of the questions I made to myself for sometime. During the course, a model was presented to us to help teachers assess if the use of that technological resource was going to transform the learning experience or not. It’s call the SAMR model. So when thinking of using something different during your lesson, consider the answers of the four questions below:

  1. Will it substitute a step of my lesson?
  2. Will there be functional improvement?
  3. Will it redesign my task?
  4. Will it achieve a level that was never achievable before?

If the answers to the questions above are yes, you MUST use the tool you chose. If not all the answers were yes, consider carefully the use of the tool you thought of – it might not have as much impact as you would like it to have.

When should we use it?

As I see it, you should use technology whenever you see an opportunity to transform your students’ learning experience and, at the same time, it should be something that won’t harm your dynamic with students. There is also something else, we all have or have had those students who are heavy users of specific APPs, in this case I think technology might be even more beneficial to their learning experience, than simply ignore that fact and persist on old habits.

Answering my own question, I DO think we should always go tech, but with responsibility. To go tech with responsibility is to use the tools you have at your disposal with the certainty it’ll transform your students’ learning experience, bring peace to your coordinator’s heart, and won’t be another thing to trouble you.

I’d like to invite you tell us ways you can transform your students’ learning experience with the use of technology. 

 

Mary Ruth Popov on Wired Sounds:

One of the things I love the most about language and communication is that whatever we say and how we say it can have an impact on people, sometimes for a lifetime. So, it came as a pleasant surprise to find out that BrELT offered me a place on a mini-course by Troika. Being able to learn a bit more on how pronunciation and language can impact on a person’s life was very rewarding for me as a teacher.

Troika’s Wired Sounds mini-course brought insight to an aspect of the language that I had not yet given much thought to. Even though I teach pronunciation to my students, Catarina Pontes’ course showed me a whole new approach. Her charts, colorful sticks and blocks gave me an array of ideas on how to get the students more involved in the process of pronouncing words. Her love for language was transparent as she spoke and emitted the different sounds, almost as if she were singing a song – a language song! She was enthusiastic about her work which was tangible throughout her lecture.

The second part of the course with Paulo Dantas was excellent. His personality showed how passionate he is about helping teachers become better equipped. He put out questions that made us think on how we could use the internet to our advantage–such as making our own polls and questionnaires. Not having much experience with using the internet to make my own material, the whole afternoon was quite enlightening. In addition, he also shared a couple of websites and apps that could add to a variety of classroom tasks. I was all eyes and ears during the whole course.

My classmates were all very involved and ready to share their own experiences which helped all those who were present. It is so interesting to see how easily one can connect with other teachers. This first contact with Troika was exceptional to the point that made me want to participate in other Troika and BrELT events. My daughter and I went to BrELT on the Road on September 7th and thoroughly enjoyed it. We are now in the process of taking our teachers to other Troika and BrELT events. In the end, it does not matter how much you study, how many years you teach or how many conferences you attend, there is still so much more to explore and learn about the English language.

 

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