BA (Hons) and MA Teaching Techniques, Orel State University, Russia
Head of Modern Foreign Languages (teacher of Spanish, Italian, French and Russian)
Why study languages? The study of languages is liberating. It open doors one cannot imagine are there to be opened. Born in Cuba, educated in Russia, further educated in the States, and finally settled in Europe, I have worked - and taught - in every corner of the world. Without languages, this simply wouldn't have been possible. Learning languages is one of the fundamental pleasures, and challenges, of growing up - and into - the world. At d'Overbroeck's we take it seriously and we make it fun. Every young person deserves a chance to learn a language, and enabling this is quite simply an honour and a joy.
What's a typical languages lesson like? Our lesson starts with an upbeat 'buenos dias' all round. Each session is well prepared and will naturally focus on the development of the four core skills - reading, speaking, writing and listening. But through this 'communication' will be a mainstay. There will be a variety of student-to-student, student-to-teacher, and group-to-group dialogue. We will play games and improvise situations in a challenging, focused and fun way - whereby the classroom becomes, if you like, a well-crafted, living theatre. The curriculum will drive our progress. It will enable us to monitor our successes, and it will pick up on gaps in understanding - both within our group setting and at the level of the individual student.
What makes for a great lesson? A great lesson is where focus and fun go hand in hand. It is where each student 'gets' why they are in attendance - and reaffirms afresh their individual choice to study a language. A great lesson involves everyone yet encourages support for the individual among the group. Interacting thus carries an almost 'global' awareness - a perfect blend of empathy, inspiration and aspiration.
What's the best thing about teaching at Leckford Place? It's a two-way street. It's about the fabulous young people I care for, and my fellow faculty members who inspire me to teach and lead. It's a small school - so lots of individual attention for the student - but through its robust curriculum its focus is to prepare students for the real world, and we do.