I consider myself lucky for staying in touch with former students of mine who have had impact on my praxis and whose potential was an undeniable asset in the class we used to share.
Some of my former students have contributed to my new classes with powerful collaborations that have detonated inquiry among my students now. I have witnessed how students find it easier to relate to learning experiences when they interact with people who are almost their age, and this is the reason why I create scenarios where past students of mine speak to the students I teach at present (it is interesting how the sense of time will change depending on when this statement is read).
As someone who has experienced imparting lessons alongside people who were my teachers, I enjoy having students sharing their expertise and exchange their views on how they have become the people they are today. In these experiences, I have observed how students open up to different perspectives, and become more receptive of the learning possibilities in the experience they undergo; I enjoyed how the outcome each Skype conference becomes the topic of conversation for hours and days, and how students are able to refer to it and their experience in future occasions.
Students need to be aware of the impact they are having on their peers and their teachers, for all interaction and exchange of ideas will certainly have an impact on the way they will approach a future meeting. Many of the concepts, thoughts, or beliefs exchanged will be long lasting and will only become evident in the future, while some others will have an immediate effect and will give way to change. Yet, the point being made here is that new questions to respond and new problems demanding a solution will be formulated upon all interactions.
In order to enhance the concept of international mindedness and global citizenship, my young students spoke to one of the most singular students I have ever had.
Isabel, the speaker, shared her experiences about the way traveling, learning languages, living in different cultures and finding strong similarities and marked differences between those cultures and hers have contributed to making her feel that the world is her home. Although they were somewhat shy, my youngsters asked questions that triggered their curiosity and encouraged them to keep asking (too bad we ran short of time!). Yet, it was when the session was brought to an end and reflection took place that the statements that gave meaning to this experience were pronounced:
- “Mister, you look so comfortable being in the audience… Does it mean this in the future we will also speak to your students then?”
- “So, ultimately experiencing different cultures will cause us not to be able to say to which place we belong… Is that good?”
- “Sir, do your views about students change every time you hear what they think.”
Considering that students are required to listen to teachers with attention and interest; for me, it is interesting to think that my teaching has become more diverse, inclusive, enriched and down-to-earth as I listen to what students have to say.