An extract of the article written by Christina Markoulaki
Owner of “Markaki- Markoulaki” Language School in Heraklion and EFL teacher (markoulaki.gr)
The magic of learning
What constitutes learning and, more precisely, what brings about the moment that it magically occurs? How can we entice a diversity of age groups to pay attention to and engage in the new material we present in class despite the daily obstacles life presents us with? What is the path to a mutual trust, devotion and optimal performance connecting the people from both sides of the teacher’s desk? These are some of the deeper questions that all educators ponder, passionately trying to improve their knowledge on the subject and apply the most effective classroom practices in order to maximise information intake and learners’ output.
Demystifying the learning process through PD
I believe this is the very goal of every professional development (PD) course in the ELT field, all of which aim to demystify the cognitive process of learning and help teachers achieve maximum effect in class. This is why it is of grave importance for all educators to constantly reflect on and update classroom methods through personal research of online and offline bibliography as well as participation in various PD events, which can truly make the world of difference to a person of any age wanting to master a language in our classrooms.
In our school, the need to move with the times so as to achieve the best possible results is not underestimated. Continuous professional development (CPD) literally happens every single day, in the same way that learning can occur on the spur of the moment virtually everywhere, between teachers exchanging feedback in the corridor outside the classrooms, by email with cross-curricular, cross-disciplinary content or even on the school’s private educational platform myschool.markoulaki.gr where a number of new lesson plans are posted and tried out, depending on the language level and time of year. Teacher associations as well as online communities also play a cardinal role in motivating, inspiring and guiding us towards exploiting resources across a spectrum of disciplines. TESOL Greece conferences and webinars, for instance, have been invaluable throughout the years, whereas the ELT News awards, newsletter and seminars have made for teaching methods of elevated quality in schools all over Greece. Winning the gold medal of creativity has definitely paved our teaching staff’s way towards more research in diverse classroom projects and techniques. Last but not least, cooperating with colleagues from around the world, perceiving ELT from their own unique perspective and heeding the advice of well-known teacher-trainers has been and will continue to be part of our annual course of action.