Teacher- Enlightener

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During the day of the Bulgarian national revival leaders, which memorializes the feast of the Bulgarian enlighteners, teachers and revolutionaries from the old elapsed times, we are inviting you to take a notice of the keen spirit nowadays.

Reminding again about the event from the previous week Regional Simulation for Students “Model UNESCO“, on today’s holiday we will take notice of the teachers and with their support we will search the real meaning of the calling to be one. To aim this, during our stay in Veliko Turnovo, we briefly interviewed some of the tutors who have participated in the training seminar on the topic “Global education and the aims for sustainable development”.

Marina Dimova, “Ethics and law and Philosophy in German” teacher in Profiled foreign language school “Hristo Botev”, Kardzhali- part of the UNESCO associated schools network

Were you familiar with the global and informal education topic before the seminar? Have you used this methods?

From this point of view my subject is gracious so that it allows me to step out from the strict frameworks of the curriculum. The topics we discuss in ethics and law and in Philosophy as well are related with the global education theme. With the pupils we often talk about conscious consumption, the problems caused by the pollution of the environment, what they would do if they were a mayor for a day etc. While I am teaching, I put through interactive methods as well, which is really liked by the pupils. Instead of saying them firmly „Put your mobile phones away!” I encourage them to take them out but to use them for the purpose of the subject.  My teaching cabinet has a more different and off-beat look than the normal classroom. Other thing which I maintain is the so called “feedback”- the opinions of the pupils’. To achieve this goal I ask them questions: “What kind of grade you think you should get and why?” and also I incite them to evaluate each other, willing to avoid the putting etiquettes and rivalry between them.

Do your other colleagues teach the same way?

Basically, the management of the school encourage us to step out of the conventional frames by not just educating but also bringing up our children. It is not just me a pioneer in this field. The politics of the school is directed to non-formal education. Also the fact that we are a foreign language high school and we are in touch with the original texts in many foreign languages gives a wider view, not just to the pupils but to the teachers because we give knowledge to each other.

According to you, what are the challenges in front of the teachers using these methods?

It depends on the audience, the pupils who you are working with and accordingly the parents, what they expect from us as an educating institution- to teach them languages or something more. There are many other challenges- sometimes it is difficult to cover all the educating requirements.

What should the contemporary Bulgarian teacher look like?

There is a very pleasant word I really like- facilitator. For me the style a teacher should apply is facilitating. We are not computers with information. There are enough global networks where the pupils can get knowledge. We, the teachers are the people who have to direct this knowledge in the right direction, developing the strongest parts and features of our children. I would like my pupils to be more functional literate but not just computers with knowledge learnt by heart. The contemporary teacher should be compact, flexible and digitally literate so as to be close to the pupils.

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Stoyanka Dimitrova, Foreign language school, Pravets, director of club “Freedom” and coordinator to the UNESCO associated schools network

Were you familiar before the seminar with the global and informal education topic? Have you used this methods?

I cannot still say that these methods are consciously applied in our school. They are spoken, some of the colleagues were trained for them but cannot be talked for a built system for applying them.

According to you, what are the challenges in front of the teachers using these methods?

The limitation of the program which the colleges should cover defined material for a limited time and the work should additionally do to adapt the material which they would teach in this different way. While this is easy for us – the language teachers by the other subjects’ colleagues it would be managed much harder. I am not sure that they can put so much enthusiasm and work in it. The challenges are basically in the educational system and the teachers who categorically do not have enough knowledge about this methods. Although I think it is imperative in every school to begin to be taught this way.

What should the contemporary Bulgarian teacher look like?

The contemporary teacher should be dynamic. Things are changing so fast that a person has to be able to correspond to the needs of the particular moment. It is very easy to blame the pupils that they are not concentrated and etc. But the truth is that all the pupils are a result from the time and the conditions they live in. The children for sure are not worse than this the previous generations used to be but we just have to find the right аpproach, right moment to run the teaching smoothly.

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Techers in European languages high school “St. Konstantin –Kiril Philosoph”, Russe

Were you familiar before the seminar with the global and informal education topic? Have you used this methods?

Yes, in our school we are working very actively this way but not every subject assumes an opportunity to be taught like this.

According yo you, what are the challenges in front of the teachers using these methods?

Imperativeness should be realized by the children and they should perceive us like facilitators but not like overseer. The teacher’s role is extremely important `but this depends not just on the teacher himself/herself but on the adjustment of the child. Really serious is the problem with the social status of the teacher because many of the parents take in the teachers as an institution and the children come with this adjustment. I would like the parents to delegate us a bit more confidence and see the use of their children staying at school. Because the teacher is at least tutor- he or she is psychologist, social worker, mother, friend and whatever else. The pupils from today’s generation will be global citizens. I notice how the pupils who often travel abroad are much more active and participate in a variety of activities because they are more open-minded. But in the next moment instead of keeping and spreading this fire they get assimilated from the environment they return to- the Bulgarian reality of rewriting, awful chalga culture, living on the edge and etc. It is not just about generational specifics but about cultural belonging and communication culture.

Teacher in National Aprilov’s high school, Gabrovo

Were you familiar before the seminar with the global and informal education topic? Have you used this methods?

Yes, I was.

According to you, what are the challenges in front of the teachers nowadays and using these methods as well?

The trust and the respect – they are the foundation of everything. If we teach our children to be distrustful, fearful and not to respect anything thus unconsciously we close them the doors. In these cases children should not be deeply affected by their parents in order to be open to the world. I speak from a teacher’s point of view. For example, I noticed that in 5th-8th grade the relationship with the parents and the teachers is breaking and then the children find themselves nowhere. 9th and 10th grades are the most difficult – the pupils are searching themselves and their individuality but at the same time it is easy to mislead them. The society attitude to the teachers is mostly wrong which is formed primarily from the parents. A student’s opinion on this side is formed from his or her parents and the media.

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Kalina Sato, English and Japanese teacher and assistant director of Science and Mathematics high school, Silistra and quite recently coordinator to the UNESCO associated schools network

Were you familiar before the seminar with the global and informal education topic? Have you used this methods?

As quite recently the school is included in the UNESCO system these formulations are new for me. Although their essence in not completely unknown. I have studied, lived and taught for a long time in Japan where I was in touch with these methods. I feel joyful that I see here more and more enterprises like this which aims at rising their popularity.

Do you face many challenges in your profession when you are using this methods?

For sure I am facing many challenges. I have seen the other side of the coin i.e. the brilliancy and the intensity of a such a full of value education in which the child is in the heart of the system and in a maximum naturally way it gets the knowledge- breathing, feeling, touching them and even learning without feeling like it is doing it. I have seen that this way of learning works wonderful and I would really like this to happen in our country.

I do not know why when the Bulgarian person is outside of Bulgaria and put in stressful situation he or she proves himself or herself always in incredible way. According to me this proves that a  Bulgarian has an incredible supply of learning, he or she is very intelligent and capable but an important condition is how we irrigate, dung and grow this teacher. I do not know not even one Bulgarian who failed in Japan- every person who had stepped there had proved himself or herself as a professional.  This is possible and our children would be extremely happy to learn in this kind of environment. Upon having this practice why are we not applying this in our schools? The problem is that we have to overcome all kind of institutional obstacles and difficulties which is not easy at all but possible.

What should the contemporary Bulgarian teacher look like?

He or she should be supplied of much energy, knowledge, goodwill, ready to do good things, to give and instantly to improve himself or herself. The teaching should be calling for him or her.

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Nedelcho Zheynov – assistant director and Philosophy teacher in Foreign Language School, Silistra-  part of the UNESCO associated schools network

Were you familiar before the seminar with the global and informal education topic? Have you used this methods?

Great variety of the presented during the seminar methods are applied and many other as well. Of course the global education is included not regularly and non-thematically in teaching of the subject “World and personality” where themes like poverty and educational right a.o. are broached.

According to you, what are the challenges in front of the teachers using these methods?

Yes, e.g. at the moment I observe such while working on the international progam “Philosophy for children”, which is also based on the informal education. In it a totally different strategy is used – instead of emphasizing on just theory, children study via discussions, debating, polemics, etc. The good side is that the program is trying to grant the children rights that were only availbale after the Enlightenment. It is quite of a challenge for me to fing the proper method whithout losing the educational agenda. Of course, this is the institutions` responsiblity to a big extend, but this is alredy another topic to discuss.

What should the contemporary Bulgarian teacher look like? 

He or she should be purposeful, with a vision how to create the future. A collosal energy is needed in order to attract the attention of children.

Author: Liya Savova

Translation into English: Anjela Kalenova

Read also:

Regional Model UNESCO – Day 1

Regional Model UNESCO – Day 2

Regional Model UNESCO – Day 3

Why am I participang in Model UNESCO?

 

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