12/05/2015

Why Taking Risks Benefits Students


During the months of October and November, while I was dealing with family health issues, trying to be focused on my work at school and finishing my final presentation for the specialization I had been studying since 2013, I made a decision to present for the Global Education Conference 2015 organized by Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon for the third time in my life: in 2013 and 2014 I talked about my experience as a cultural exchange educator with VIF International Education.

So, although I was not sure of what to talk about , I did take the challenge: "Presenting and Sharing Your Expertise" is one of the 30 Goals!  2, Shelly Sanchez Terrell advised me. She added: "People need to hear your stories and see how you teach". "You have a mission to infect with your enthusiasm".
My second challenge was when I was invited by Dr Nellie Deutsch to present for her Moodle MOOC No.7.

Why did I take those risks? Why do I talk about risks?



First, I would like to explain to those that are taking the time to read this post, that I am talking about two different types of risks: the ones I take in class and  those after class.
Second, because since I have joined the 30 Goals Challenge for Educators, I knew that if I documented my students´ work, I would be able to showcase it later on!




"Mystery Skype" was MY goal this year: if I could connect my students with a class in another country, they would never forget the experience of talking English live with real people. Later, I realized that the real risk in class was "Mystery Skypying" without a reliable Internet connection, sound problems due to the bandwidth, spending two classes trying to connect: one with video and sound and the second one with sound but no video. Honestly, there were some concerns around the school. That type of practice proved we are all vulnerable as educators and that we have to solve problems the moment they are present.The main concern was why the students were so loud and laughing so much. Later on, the concerned people understood, they were having fun sharing hints and clues from our school, our city and country in order to be "discovered" and our mystery to be revealed by the school on the other side of the camera. 

I am convinced that things happen for something. There are those moments that wake you up. So today, while reading Twitter, I found encouragement and more motivation from tweets, talks and links to blog posts written  by another EduGuru for me: Eric Sheninger: "Take Risks, Learn, Model".  He also talks about schools in general and how they are not being shaped to satisfy students´ abilities and capabilities, even his own children hate school and that really shocked me because my eight-year-old became tired of school and she is only in second grade. This is something I may include in my following blog post.


In one of his talks, Mr Sheninger also says that we shouldn´t make time an excuse. I can assure you I didn´t! 
I did my best, and it worked! Despite our main goals are learning and practicing intensively so that our students can sit Cambridge International Exams by the end of the school year, being short of time was not an excuse: I did set up an Edmodo group to receive whatever work they were not able to finish in class.




The first week in December, I had the pleasure to attend two webinars organized by edWeb.net:

The first one was about how making global connections motivates students and makes them more aware of the way children live and study in other countries.


Webinar # 1: Get Ahead With Global Learning which made me feel more proud to be ...



Having the possibility to participate in a webinar, chat and debate about global interaction among schools, educators and students was absolutely beyond what I had desired to share!

Webinar #2: Creating Innovators: What Does an Innovator in a School/District Look Like?

Presented by Thomas C. Murray, state and district digital learning director for the Alliance for Excellent Education who showed the following video that kept me thinking...Do our best to encourage our students to learn, to find their passions and to stay motivated to go to school.