24/10/2011

ROME - LEARNING NOT TEACHING TODAY

“Live as if your were to die tomorrow. 
Learn as if you were to live forever.” ~ Gandhi

Tired. More than tired. Exhausted. It's nearly 11 p.m., I got up at 5 this morning and I've been away from home all day long. I went to Rome for an updating course about methodology in preparing students for written and oral exams in English as a foreign language. Interesting and stimulating. I like to be "the student" and not the teacher for once. I need to recharge in order to be ready to go on giving. It was a nice rewarding experience: meeting other teachers and comparing our experiences, listening to our trainers from Britain and learn from their privileged perspective how to improve our teaching strategies of their native tongue is always a good chance to improve ourselves.

The seminars and workshops I attended, both in the morning and in the afternoon, were held by Trinity College London, for which I'm a local  representative in my town. 
Especially worth being there was Dr Mark Griffith's workshop providing strategies, tasks, materials to prepare students for the B2 level (if you are not  experts in English as a Foreign Language teaching, let's say high intermediate level) exams. This brilliant Welsh teacher/examiner could have been successful as a TV presenter or  a comedian because he is an incredibly entertaining, involving, hilarious communicator. I think my students would like to have HIM as their teacher. We laughed all the time! He teased us, entertained us, involved us, informed us, kept us interested all the time with his funny imitations of Italians' spoken English and imitations of our students' performances in their exams. Too funny! I'd love to learn how to be that volcanicly involving but ... that's something you can't be taught. You must be.

After my 7 hour's  course, I had a pleasant date with one of the authors I've met thanks to my blogs. I met Cornelis De Jong and his lovely wife, Jennifer, in Rome. It is such a pleasure to meet interesting talented people online, but when you can do it in real life it is really exciting. Cornelis is a colleague too, he teaches English to teenage students in the Netherlands. In one of the biggest libraries in the capital, we talked over a cappuccino about Gaskell, Austen, teaching, Rome, our families, blogging - and I can't remember what more - and it was a lovely end for an already great day. 
Cornelis brought me a signed copy of his book, My Brother and I, an Austen sequel he wrote, which I'm going to read and review.
This maybe sound an ordinary day to you, but I really feel it has been very special, instead. This is why I wanted to share. Good night, my friends.

P.S. Special thanks to my friend K/V. for all she did for me today!

11 comments:

Cat Winchester said...

Sounds wonderful. I cant claim to be a teacher but I definitely still enjoy being a student from time to time.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@CatWinchester
Great, Cat. We never end learning actually in our lives. But, actually, I wouldn't go back to the years I spent in school as a student. My real love for studying started at university.
Thanks for passing by and commenting!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your day with us and for the beautiful Gandhi quote.
Monica

MARIA GRAZIA said...

Sharing always makes everything ... more real. Or this is the impression I get, as if written words can capture the flying moments.
Thanks for your comment. Have a great day!

Cat Winchester said...

I liked school as well as college, but I wouldn't go back to being a kid again.

What would stop me being a full time student these days is the thought of living on student wages again! ;)

MARIA GRAZIA said...

We've never had students' wages here in Italy. If you wanted, and still now if you want, to go to university your parents must support you financially.

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

What a busy day! It sounds like you got something out of it though :)

MARIA GRAZIA said...

Yes, definitely Sam! :-) Thanks for your visit!

Cat Winchester said...

It's the same here, Maria, and obviously you cant study full-time and work full-time, hence you get paid very little.

They never paid you to go to college but once upon a time it was totally free and you could get grants and bursaries to cover supplies and living expenses.

Now? They just raised the fees to £9,000 a year + supplies + accommodation and living expenses.

I think our university fees are about on a par with America's now. Such a sad state of affairs. I think education should always be free and the desire to learn supported.

I don't think I'd have gone to uni if I'd had to start my working life £60,000 in debt.

Cat Winchester said...

It's the same here, Maria, and obviously you cant study full-time and work full-time, hence you get paid very little.

They never paid you to go to college but once upon a time it was totally free and you could get grants and bursaries to cover supplies and living expenses.

Now? They just raised the fees to £9,000 a year + supplies + accommodation and living expenses.

I think our university fees are about on a par with America's now. Such a sad state of affairs. I think education should always be free and the desire to learn supported.

I don't think I'd have gone to uni if I'd had to start my working life £60,000 in debt.

Ally said...

I see we have the same job! It's always a pleasure to meet new teachers and share experiences :) And, once in a while, to go back to being the one in the student's seat! :)