Teaching English and happiness in the age of technology

MIE Expert Marie-Helene addresses her fellow educators.

Like so many of her peers, Marie-Hélène Fasquel believes that we are all students and teachers. Almost two decades after she kicked off her career teaching English in the north of France, she is as passionate in her profession as ever, taking her lessons farther and farther beyond the classroom.

Marie-Hélène currently teaches OIB language and literature at the Nelson Mandela International High School in Nantes, France, and encourages her students to learn in partnership with technology – from documenting their education on Sway, to broadening their horizons via Skype.

“I’ve been using Skype for years and have resorted to it for enhancing the learning experience of my students for three years: they have met authors that way,” Marie-Hélène says. “American authors, British ones, and [we] have also planned to meet the New York General Consul.”

Having taught for as long as she has, Marie-Hélène has grown both with the times and everyday technology, without losing sight of what she wants to inspire in her students: “Collaboration, empathy and happiness. The pleasure of learning and growing as a person.”

Over the years Marie-Hélène has penned textbooks for other teachers, which she shares on her blog and social media, and created a book – due to be released this summer – about her methods and career.

She says her dream of becoming a teacher dates back to her first day of middle school. From there she never stopped her efforts to make it happen.

“I studied, went abroad and taught in Canada and England, visited English-speaking countries as often as possible and took many summer camps,” Marie-Hélène says. “I also read a lot and shared my knowledge with other students, which helped me when I started teaching.”

She says that now more than ever, pupils are switched on and connected and living in a time when teachers should be learning from them too, taking advantage of “their knowledge and great ideas.“

For Marie-Hélène, education is about preparing the students of today for the world of tomorrow, empowering them with the technical and collaboration skills they’ll need to succeed.

“The future will all be about sustainable development goals and creativity. Our students will need 21st century skills rather than knowledge, “ Marie-Hélène says.

As testament to her dedication and forward thinking, Marie-Hélène entered the Microsoft Global Forum innovation competition in 2014, finishing as 2nd runner-up in the category of ‘Critical Thinking’ (much to the delight of her students, who she said were proud to have their work recognized on an international level). She has been actively and proudly involved in the MIEE (Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert) community ever since.

“The MIEExpert community has empowered me in multiple ways: by providing varied training sessions, webinars and most importantly by allowing me to meet and discover teachers from all over the world!” Marie-Hélène says. “I’ve made friends and have also had an opportunity to share my work and teaching ideas with a larger global audience.”

Connect, learn and engage with other Microsoft Innovative Educators on Twitter @MicrosoftEDU and join the Microsoft MIE community today.