What a month April has been! I went to a Montessori Polish Education Conference in Warsaw, Poland 05-07.04.2019 and heard from influential speakers: Paul Epstein, Michael Dorer, Jonathan Wolf and Kathy Leitch. It was a great insight into the Montessori Education Method! I took away with me some unique ideas of how I can combine Montessori with TEFL training, in particular, the programme about ‘The Importance of Montessori Education in times of change and uncertainty’. When a student is concentrating they are more likely to be encouraged to be guided to do something new and more challenging to learn.
After the conference I was eager to implement my new ideas and energy into teaching. One aspect which I have taken from TEFL teaching is tunnel vision and since observation is a key element in the Montessori Method I now make more notes about the students behaviour, learning styles and progress in class. One recent interesting observation I made was with a student who looked like he was messing around in class on the laptop during work-time (searching for sunglasses images and looking at memes)… wasting time, but, I gave him distance, and on closer inspection when I went over and interacted with him it turned out he was working on a music extra curriculum activity about ‘What he thought of Chopin’ he replied “I think he is cool, so I am going to make a meme and put sunglasses on him”. We both laughed… Overall, you can see that I gave help when it was needed in order for the student to develop independently in that aspect of learning.
What I will take away the most from the conference is the importance of giving students community and social roles, this can be achieved through ESL projects where students work in small groups. Project ideas include creating: a class newspaper, thought for the week, green grousers shop and a TED talk. Other ideas I brought to my classroom have been – spelling games: Apples to Apples, Boggle, Countdown and Scrabble.
In other news, this has been my first Easter in Poland and I really enjoyed the festive period. Painting Easter eggs (hard boiled eggs) and then breaking them with friends as a sign of good will. On Easter Monday there’s a tradition known as Smigus-Dyngus (wet Monday) where boys throw water over girls! Yes, its still going strong today.
Watch this space for more updates about my life in Poland after gaining a TEFL qualification.