Hi! My name is Tricia Audette and I am a vocational Canadian teacher who has been teaching English in Spain for over 6 years. I am passionate about teaching. For me, it is an art. A creative outlet where I am continually striving to find innovative ways to enhance the learning experience. I genuinely enjoy cultivating authentic learning experiences so that students leave the class not only feeling like they have absorbed something new but are also interested in exploring more. I often view the role of a teacher as very comparable to that of an actor. The more dynamic and captivating the teacher, the more interested the students are in not only hearing but really listening.
As a result of my interests in differentiated learning and attention to creative lesson planning, I also have found success in teacher training. I speak at a variety of conferences in Spain and have delivered workshops for the Ministry of Education to help English teachers explores different approaches to language acquisition. I do also see myself as a lifelong learner and when I am not speaking I am attending professional development seminars to keep my lessons fresh.
I am also a comedian/writer/producer and love making people laugh. As a result, I often find myself teaching through entertainment. I see comedy as a wonderful platform to remind people of important concepts in life. For example, I use it to gently encourage people to be themselves and live their dreams. It also provides an opportunity to help people with their confidence in speaking English in public as my presentations and shows are always interactive. It's one of the greater challenges I've come across teaching English in Spain for so many years. Generally, people are shy and embarrassed as they fear making a mistake and being laughed at. I feel it's really important to cultivate safe environments for students to engage with English and help them step out of their comfort zones so that they can apply their language skills in real life.
I am a Master of Teaching graduate from the University of Calgary, Canada. The practical experience was intensive has we spent two years student teaching. During that time, I was fortunate enough to participate in Teaching Across Borders in the Dominican Republic. While there, I developed an English program for an underprivileged community in Puerto Plata. For the past 6 years I have been living and teaching English in Spain for the Ministry of Education, private academy's as well as private classes. I have also visited a variety of schools around Spain, giving English presentations on behalf of Oxford University Press and am no stranger at teacher conferences where I deliver talks and workshops to help fellow English teachers diversify their teaching.
My approach to teaching is this - if I'm not having a good time no one is. What that means is, I go above and beyond to plan a learning experience that I am excited to deliver. If I want my students to be passionate and enthusiastic about English, I need to model that and genuinely experience it as well. The possibilities are endless when it comes to lesson planning and I often find creating plans from scratch to be the most rewarding. As such, I generally don't use textbooks or worksheets.
The first step is to know the student and their interests. My training at the University of Calgary was very unique and gratifying. They call the program "inquiry based" which I identify as my style of teaching. What that means is that the learning is student directed. In a classroom, that would have students exploring what they want to learn and the teacher making the connections to the curriculum. In an online platform, I explore and ask questions to understand what the student interests are. I take notes and then after the first class I go straight to google and plug in the interests. From there, the planning becomes like a web as I find myself reading applicable quotes or blogs or news articles that I can then share with the student for the following class.
The actress in me is usually present so I definitely enjoy weaving in comedy during our conversation. I feel it helps me develop a strong relationship with the student which is an important element in language acquisition. Creating a safe, open environment in which they feel willing to step out of their comfort zones and explore English in ways they haven't before. As students become more comfortable with me, I like to work towards activities that involve improvised speaking games. In this way, students can exercise their creativity in speaking and it also helps set them up for success in real life speaking situations. It also helps to enhance the importance of expression. The way we say things is just as important as the words we are using.
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