Katarzyna Góralczyk works to bring technology and creativity into every phase of learning, but before her students can learn, she knows that they must sometimes overcome emotional hurdles. Even something as simple as disappointing grades can uncover deeper problems.
“All of the students want to have only an A+,” she explains, “and any other grade is a huge disaster for them. So they start to cry or scream. It shows that the biggest problem that we teachers face is our students’ emotions and their pressure at home. They just want to be seen by their parents and feel that they are loved. That is why they try so much: they learn all day long, go to optional classes or have private lessons, and in result they experience burn out in their young age.”
To help students with these issues, Góralczyk talks with her students about behavior and emotions, and sometimes employs art therapy in her classes. Along with other Polish teachers, she started #RokRelacji (year of the relationship).
“I had a webinar about ideas for how to prepare ourselves for Christmas and show empathy for people around us,” says Góralczyk. “I also write a blog about art therapy and how use it at school with students, or at home with our own children. I share my ideas lesson plans about significant topics like depression on my website.”
With her students more ready to learn, Góralczyk uses a variety of technology-based activities to engage them and measure their progress.
“I prefer to use technology during different stages of learning, like at the beginning of the class or a new unit,” she shares. “When I taught about cookery, we watched The Original and Best Yorkshire Pudding Recipe. After that, my students would record their own short films about preparing dishes they can coo. When I finish the unit or a lesson and want to revisit everything, I use quizzes like Quizlet, Kahoot, Qizizz. My students like to know the reason for learning English, which is why I try to show them that English is all around us and we can benefit from understanding this language.”
One of Góralczyk’s early efforts at incorporating video into lessons – creating an animation about grammar – taught her that technology has an important place in learning.
“My students were shocked that their teacher could do things like create the animation, and they wanted to learn more about it,” she shares. “This situation taught me that I am a better teacher when I use modern ways of teaching. Students know that I understand them and their needs. Thanks to it, they are more open and willing to learn. Of course, I know that technology is not everything, but for sure it is a key to students’ desire to learn and succeed, both in learning and in their lives.”
About Katarzyna Góralczyk
- Educational background: English teacher, educator, art therapist
- Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Sway and OneNote
- Favorite book: Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm
- Favorite childhood memory: Cutting Barbie’s hair and believing it would grow.
- What is the best advice you have ever received? Never be afraid of dreaming, everything depends on you.