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Multiple Intelligences and the EQ – an old trend, viewed from a contemporary perspective (for the classroom)

The idea of multiple intelligences was introduced by Howard Gardner in the 1980s to describe the different types of “intelligences” that can be connected to different learning styles.  While it has revolutionised the teaching world, it also brought forward a lot of unanswered questions: how DO you adapt your teaching to the different learning styles present in our classrooms? 

While the answer is not easy to find, through mindfulness and open-mindedness, and using a variety of communication and teaching strategies, Maria will introduce you to unlimited ways to nurture the multiple intelligences of your individual learners while still catering to the needs of the learners as a group.  Together, you will identify what helps and prevents learning in the multiple intelligent classroom and how to use different teaching styles and techniques in your planning, so your learners participate in the learning process.

Using The “Teaching Moment” In Lesson Planning
Lesson planning is the most important step in providing meaningful teaching.  Whether a seasoned teacher or a new kid on the block, planning is essential and it should go hand in hand with intuition, spontaneity and imagination, which make the complete toolkit for best teaching practices.  On the other hand, a too detailed lesson plan can restrict our ability to cater to the needs of our learners as a group; that is when a “teaching moment” could be perceived as a derailment from our plan and a breakdown in the lesson’s continuity.  But, instead of looking at this interruption as a distraction, integrating it in our planning and using it as a teaching tool makes the lessons more varied and fun.

In this 90 minute session, Maria will demonstrate how the TEACHING MOMENT can actually be smartly and successfully INCLUDED in our lesson planning with great results for the learning process.  She will show you how it can be made look like a natural occurrence in the middle of an ordinary lesson, at the same time giving credit to our learners for active participation and ultimately turning it into a fun learning experience for everybody.

Great Minds Think Alike – Or Do They?!

While nobody knows exactly where this “aphorism” comes from, today we use it in a self-deprecating, usually humorous way, when we realise that our “mind” has come to the same conclusion as our conversation partners.  For educators, such declaration could describe two teaching methods that result in similar responses in our learners, as they acquire a similar piece of knowledge.  But while the “minds” may think alike, many times, the path used to get to the same result is different.  For instance, we may think that learning to spell correctly can only be done by incessant repetition, endless dictation or diction practice.  The same result can also be achieved by reading extensively or by listening to audio books, while reading along.  The scope of the activity is the same, but the path to achieve it is different.

In this 90 minute session, Maria will demonstrate different ways to teach the same topic, using different paths, with similar results.  Taken from her extensive teaching career and the most recent studies in teaching methodology and pedagogy, she will address the question of teaching styles and learning styles and how we can adapt our teaching so that we address the individual needs of our learners, at the same time catering to the entire group.

Assessment And Feedback – Empowering Our Learners (Or How To “Produce” Successful Learners)

When the time for assessment comes, we battle with a number of “big questions”: who are we writing the assessments for: the learner or their next teacher?  Also, what do we want to share with the recipients of these assessments: progress, lack thereof or both?  Do we want to empower them to continue to work hard or do we put them down so they give up?  To a certain extent, teachers acknowledge that the difference between constructive/positive feedback and berating the work of a student is the difference between success and failure.  Not only can we prove to our learners which skills they suck at, but we can also trick them and fail them by providing them with complicated and wordy questions so they cannot complete a simple task.  But, does this constitute best teaching practices?

In this 90 minute session, Maria invites you to participate in an open and honest discussion about why too many teachers employ such tactics that are not only detrimental to our learners, but ultimately to all of us in the teaching profession.  She will share different ways to give feedback for lack of progress by using encouragement and positive reinforcement and will demonstrate how easy it is to change the “negative” into “positive” while being true to the scope of our job.

Teachers are Human After All – How to Make Learning Meaningful by Sharing Personal Stories

Building rapport with our learners is the key to a successful learning process in any educational situation or institution.  Stepping down from the pedestal our learners like to place us on and showing them that “to err is to be human”, will not make us lose their respect; on the contrary.  Showing our learners different ways to overcome the difficulties of learning through examples taken from our own “career” as lifelong learners will only empower them and encourage them to work harder.

In this 90 minutes session, Maria will share with you “stories from the classroom” that demonstrate how using personal examples of trials and tribulations and success and failure, empower our learners but also create a relaxed, friendly and comfortable learning environment. 

Planning your lesson judiciously or teaching “off the cuff”

Planning a lesson is part of the arsenal a teacher, just starting their career or an experienced role-model and leader, should always have at the ready. Whether in detail, a mental picture or just as an outline, every teacher should have a clear picture of what “today lesson should be about”.

But do we stick to the plan and nip in the bud any attempts of derailments from the plan or do we go with the flow and allow that derailment to take us where the learners will gain even more information and have fun learning it?  The answer is: depends.  What it depends on is really how prepared and comfortable one is to “derail” from the plan and choose the other more interesting siding that will capture the attention of the learners and get them engaged in the learning process.

If you do like to try the spontaneous, off the cuff “lesson plan” but you’re not sure how to do it, Maria will share her stories of going with the flow and how she turned the “distraction” and “out of turn questions” into an amazing, albeit unplanned, lesson.

Internet resources: a dime a dozen. Finding the right online resources for your classroom

During the last two years, the learning curve of teachers and educators in using online resources was steeper than the slopes of Mount Everest.  Desperately trying to find the balance between teaching from a textbook or using online resources, they were scouring the internet high and low for resources fit for their learners. A lot of online resources, some even being advertised as “perfect for your classroom” and “ready to use” started to pop up like “mushrooms after a shower”.  Sifting through the hundreds, sometimes thousands of links was a tedious job, tiresome and unrewarding.

While we are struggling to return to some sort of normalcy and in-person teaching routines, the “online bug” that infected us will still be there, but here’s the conundrum: should they be used as a complementary teaching resource or a main teaching material?!  The other question is: which resources are truly useful and complement our lessons?!

In this 90 minute session, Maria will provide you with a list of tried and used (and reused) resources that you will truly be able to use “as is” and that will provide you with extra teaching materials at your fingertips.

How to get our learners to (re)join the bandwagon: engaging your learners to “return to school”

A world crisis of the magnitude COVID created just over two years ago, not only disrupted our lives, but education and the learning process.  Without motivation and in-person support, a lot of learners that saw going to school every day the “necessary evil” before COVID, find returning to school and its related routines an “unnecessary” evil.  How to motivate them to reset and restart the learning process without the pains that come from social inactivity and very lax rules are now the new challenges teachers and parents face.

In this session, Maria will help you identify reasons why learners resist and oppose restarting their lives past COVID and how to find solutions to overcome them, together, teachers and learners as a team.

The rule of thumb of teaching: the teacher is ALWAYS right; but are we?!

Learning is a process that engages all our five senses, but learning a new language, and a complex and complicated one like English, requires more than “sense”.  It requires determination, perseverance and, above all, an open minded teacher.  How many times did we come across the “know-it-all”, “never wrong” (or always right, depending on the point of view), “stick-in-the-mud” type of teacher?!

Stepping down from the pedestal our learners place us (or ourselves) on and acknowledging that we DO NOT know it all, and most importantly that we are not ALWAYS right, will allow us to build the rapport with our learners that will results in successful, self-confident graduates.  What we must show them, though, is that WE DO know how to help them throughout the learning journey, either by example or by giving them the tools to “figure out” things by themselves AND that we are rooting for them.

In this session, Maria will share stories from her almost 3 decades long teaching career that helped her learners overcome the challenges of learning (not just English) and how she prepared them for the challenges and life after school.

Every teacher worth their salt will know how to… (or what to do when we draw a blank in the classroom)

Do you remember that one time when you could not, for the life of you, remember how to spell that pesky scientific word and how embarrassing it was to have to look it up, in the middle of the lesson?  Or when that “know-it-all” student corrected you in front of the class when you mixed up Richard the IIIrd’s years of reign?

We all “draw blanks” and it happens more often than we think, even to the best of us.  But what may seem like the beginning of an embarrassing moment, can be easily transformed into a “teaching moment” or a quick, ad-hoc spelling game or history quiz.

As teachers, we are not infallible and we do not have to save face when we don’t remember how to spell “onomatopoeia” or the year of the Norman invasion.  Engaging our learners in the learning process and asking them to “help out”, will not lower their respect for us; on the contrary, will build the rapport that every teacher strives to obtain in the classroom.  Showing them that sometimes not “knowing-it-all” is alright and it will only empower them to ask for help when they need it most so, they too, are ready and willing to help others in return.

The “one track mind” syndrome and how it affects the learning process

As teachers, we try our best to engage our learners in the learning process using a myriad of techniques, some tried over time in different settings and some rather new that we hope will bring innovation to our lessons.  Sticking to what we know best has the benefit of never being in an awkward situation when we need to improvise.

But teaching is not something set in “stone-age” rules.  Teaching is about improvising and adapting and above all, using our imagination to provide our learners with the best pieces of the puzzle that will allow them to create the clearest picture possible, as fast as possible.

In this 90 minute session, Maria will demonstrate how going down the “one-track-mind” lesson planning is detrimental to our learners and how easy it is to switch to the sidings of imagination, ingenuity, open-mindedness and create lessons that your learners will remember and build on throughout their lives

Assessing with your heart in mind

How many of us dread the time of assessment?! How many times did we end up having an uncomfortable discussion with our learners over lack of progress at the end of the term?! Telling our learners they need to improve, get better at…, or that they did not pass without starting a war or go into conflict over grades will only make us the “bearer of bad news”.

Assessment does not have to be a dreaded part of our jobs, one that we do not look forward to.  More importantly, assessment should not happen at the end of the learning cycle.  I must be done throughout the learning process and the sooner we catch the issues, the easier it is to intervene and correct them. Identifying reasons behind lack of success is only half the battle.  Working out the reasons WHY we need to go into damage control mode is the second half and it should be done together with the learner.

In this 90 minute session, you’ll look at ways to mindfully communicate with your learners and together identify and investigate reasons why they are not successful or struggle.  Maria will use her expensive experience and examples from the classroom to show that it is never too soon to intervene so that a first time mistake does not turn into a fossilized error.

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Taking risks is not something we as teachers consider as being part of the job description.  Planning our lessons and sticking to the plan is something most of us do subconsciously and for some it is like a second nature.  But how many times did we go to class and had to deal with a bored group of learners counting down the minutes to the end of class regardless of our good planning and what looked to us as an interesting topic?!

Taking the “beaten path” in lesson preparation should not be the norm.  Teachers are masters of improvisation and improvising we must.  Having a clear idea of what our learners need, will allow us the momentary straying from the straight line, which could be the spark that will bring back our learners interest.

In this session, together as a group, you will see that taking risks is the best way to engage your learners, while still staying the course.  After all, we ARE masters of improvisation and we can only gain our learners’ respect by taking calculated risks.