For MIE Expert Gretchen Torres-Cintron (San Juan, Puerto Rico, @gtorresemct), helping to shape active learners may be a teacher’s most important role.
“Students need to be active learners and take ownership of their learning,” she tells us. “We need to create innovative projects to challenge our students so they become critical thinkers instead of passive learners.”
How does Torres-Cintron do that? Skype in the Classroom plays a big part.
“One of my favorite activities to do with my students is using Skype in the Classroom and playing Mystery Skype,” she explains. “It empowers my students to do more and become culturally aware of their surroundings, to become global citizens and have empathy for others.”
As for her own inspiration, Torres-Cintron recalls an email from one of her students, telling her he had been accepted to a summer program he wanted to attend. He linked his success to an exercise he had done in class, where students wrote letters about themselves to a future employer.
“As ESL students, many of them struggle with writing,” she says. “This was a pivotal moment in my career when I realized I was making a difference. I was forming the future generation. I began to appreciate what I do and put this new-found appreciation into practice. I decided I needed to break away from the traditional models of what to teach, how to teach it, and when to teach it, and began listening to the students I was teaching.”
Connect with Gretchen through her Microsoft Educator Community Profile.
About Gretchen Torres-Cintron
- Educational background: BA in ESL, MA in Translation, MA in Law
- Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Skype in the Classroom
- Website I check every day: YouTube
- Favorite childhood memory: Visiting Disney World with my family.
- Favorite book: The Giver by Lois Lowry
- What is the best advice you have ever received? Never be afraid of what you can do with technology in the classroom. The sky is the limit