English and Ethics teacher
Secondary School number 17 (XVII LO)
Anna Leszczyńska, an English and Ethics teacher in her second year as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIE Expert), believes her job is a broad and important one: spreading important ideas to her students. “So even if I teach language, it is still a great opportunity to teach about important issues,” she says.
And Leszczyńska frequently turns to Skype in the Classroom to help teach these issues in an engaging way.
“My classes have a lot of varied Skype meetings,” she says. “Mystery Skypes are great fun and a great opportunity to meet peers from all over the world. We met a refugee from Syria, which made my students aware of challenges people in many countries face. We met scientists, journalists, educators, and a writer. We of course took part in Skype-a-Thon.”
When Leszczyńska’s class held a Skype meeting with Manuela Coreia from Plastic Brigade, and Charlotte Orba from WiseOceans, students prepared posters, presentations, and games on the subjects of the Skype lessons in advance, making them familiar with both vocabulary and the problem they were solving. Leszczyńska shares her best practices for other teachers on her blog.
“We live in extraordinary times,” says Leszczyńska. “On one hand, all the world and knowledge are at our fingertips. On the other hand, everything is changing so quickly that it is hard to say what the world will be in 20 years. What jobs will be available and what knowledge will be in demand? How will relationships among people change because of technology and social media?”
With these questions in mind, Leszczyńska believes the biggest challenge for educators is teaching students to learn, work in teams, create relationships, and showing them how to use technology effectively and responsibly. “We have to teach them critical thinking and to be ready for changes,” she shares. “This also means that we teachers must learn to keep pace with the changing world.”
When it comes to keeping pace with technology and teaching, Leszczyńska recommends becoming a part of the Microsoft Educator Community. “For me, it was becoming a part of the global MEC teachers’ community which completely changed my view of being a teacher,” she says. “I also found a lot of fantastic courses on the site which developed my knowledge as a teacher. After one of them, I shared my own lesson about food and environment.”
About Anna Leszczyńska
- Educational background: Master’s in Philosophy and Protection of Environment
- Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Skype, Forms, Sway, Teams
- What is the best advice you have ever received? “Keep going.”
- Childhood memory: Sitting on a roof with my cat and watching the neighborhood of my grandparents’ place.
- My favorite film: The Grand Budapest Hotel
- My favorite book: A lot of them – I love reading. But “A Taste of the World” and “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” by Yuval Noah Harari are good examples.