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Support and Motivate to Make a Difference

By Dalia Ibrahim

It is all about support and motivation. Teaching and learning are not about the quantity of knowledge the student has, but about the skills he acquires, about how much he develops and, most importantly, to what extent he enjoys learning. When you are supported, motivated and you love what you are doing, you can do miracles: you can express yourself in the most creative ways, impress those around you and, while doing this, re-discover your own self, its strengths, as well as its weaknesses. When you are supported and motivated, you feel the urge to give more, to take it all out, all this energy and all this creativity. When you are supported and motivated, you feel there is always more to be done, an extra sentence to conclude that essay, a better editing for your presentation’s video, or even a better design for that slogan you have to submit. 

I have always been a teacher who tends to escape from the traditional forms of teaching. I love to explore new realms with my students, to create something different and unique, something customized to their interests and needs. I do not believe teachers are restricted by the curriculum they need to teach; there is always a way to adapt and change whatever objective you have in your lesson. Instead of explaining to them a certain grammatical rule, let them work in pairs or groups, research about it, and create their lesson. Let them explain, evaluate, and comment on each other’s work; let them think critically, in order to present the topic in a way no one else thought about; give them confidence and motivate them to explore. Let them practice presentation skills, break this ice between them and the world, break it with their powerful words and with their incredible minds. My students love doing that and, every time I ask them to brainstorm together, to create a presentation, or even to discuss certain topics related to their own lives, I remain speechless by how exceptional they are. 

Every day, I learn something new from them; I see life through their eyes and I totally enjoy it. Watching their presentations, or hearing their voices during our live lessons, motivates me to develop myself and to always look for different and inventive forms to teach them those skills they need to be great thinkers and precious human beings. I motivate and support them, encouraging them all the time, giving them confidence, and they pay me back with those incredible feelings whenever I check their assignments and find out they did more than expected.

If at the beginning we, as teachers, were all confused and frightened by this new phase, I think that now we realized that E-learning was a chance to re-explore our way of teaching and assessing students and a great opportunity to give room to creativity from both sides: we do not only need to think out of the box, but we should throw this box and replace it with a sphere of skills and knowledge; a sphere where there is no end to creation, evaluation and reflection, and where skills and knowledge revolve around each other, enriching both students and teachers.

This is the time for online discussions, where students agree and disagree about certain topics of their interest, help each other, giving feedback and advice, based on their personal experience. For this, the connection is crucial, and by connection, I mean human interaction. Students should be encouraged to video call, to exchange opinions, to brainstorm, to create and to critically think together, in order to have the chance to shape their characters and to be ready to meet the needs of a world more focused on charisma and skills than on knowledge, a world where you need to be confident enough to overcome its obstacles, a world where they have to value themselves so that others can value them properly.