“For me, technology has opened the doors to my students. Speaking their language and working with the tools they know gives me credibility; I get their attention and collaboration willingly.” – Mireia Gussinyé Figueres, Mexico
A veteran teacher of 18 years, Gussinyé Figueres was a first-place winner at the Latin-American Forum, with her project, “Guernica and Democracy.” The inter-disciplinary project is “a journey in time” that begins with students creating a blog journal for their “chrononaut” adventure. The students learn about the short-lived Spanish Republic, General Francisco Franco’s military uprising and the progression of the fratricidal war. The students also learn about what happened in Guernica in 1937, and why Picasso created the painting of the same name.
According to Gussinyé Figueres, “After this, the adventure reaches the present and (the students) learn about the values that accompany democracy and their importance in order to be able to live in free and sovereign countries and create peaceful and tolerant societies.” The project culminates in a wiki that includes all of what they’ve learned, allowing them to share their insights with peers, learning even more about the subject as they teach other students.
Gussinyé Figueres, who has been an educator for 18 plus years, is passionate about strengthening the principles of students who live in a totally connected and digitized world. “These are guys that communicate throughout the (multicultural) universe, reasons that force them to be tolerant, fair, and respectful with multi-diversity,” she says. “The teacher is a guide who should provide the necessary tools to deal with people of all countries.”
In today’s Daily Edventure, Gussinyé Figueres shares her philosophy on teaching and how she’s able to connect with students who live in an always-on, always-connected world. If you’d like to meet more incredible teachers like Gussinyé Figueres, be sure to apply to Microsoft’s Expert Educator program here.
Why did you become an educator?
I come from a family of teachers, my dad and my mom were teachers, since childhood I liked to help my colleagues when they didn’t understand something, I like to study, learn, and be able to share it with others to grow as a society. Another factor is that I love being with young people.
Who was your favorite educator and why?
My French literature teacher, because he always trusted in me and encouraged me all the time to look forward.
What is your philosophy as an educator?
I think that a teacher must be a guide, teaching and accompanying students on the learning path. Show them through the discovery and experience that the study is not boring or heavy; it is an adventure that never ends that makes us grow every day. I try to teach through play, creativity and fun; a playful and enjoyable learning becomes significant learning. Memorization and tests make students not want to go to school, so I try to avoid them as much as possible and work with projects and innovative tools.
What type of learning environment do you create in your classroom?
One of the main environments of learning that I promote in my classroom is collaboration: working in teams of four students in a simple project that later presentd to the group. The environment is focused on the student and learning, allowing the debate, criticizm and the reflection on actual problems. It is a relaxed environment that promotes creativity, critical thinking and fun.
Why is using technology an important part of your educator toolkit?
Because the students are born with the technology and live surrounded by it, it is their natural environment, so it is important to speak their language and surround them with tools that they know.
Explain how technology has changed education for you?
For me, technology has opened the doors to my students. Speaking their language and working with the tools they know gives me credibility; I get their attention and collaboration willingly. Also, I make them discover new technologies are very enriching to their learning.
What are three things every student must have in order to be successful?
First they must have values and live according to them, second they must know to work as a team and third be creative, very creative in how they think, act, solve problems and take decisions.
What is your biggest pet peeve as an educator?
I hate intolerance, particularly the discrimination by race, social status, gender or religion.
Where do you find inspiration and new ideas for the classroom?
I am studying for a Masters in technology and communication in education and thanks to this, I am finding many more ideas and new tools. Also, sharing with my peers helps me know more tools and ideas, and finally I read a lot about the future of education and I’m always looking for better innovative practices on the Internet.
What lessons have your students taught you?
Many, difficult to list them all; they teach me all ideas to be more creative, With them, I’ve learned a lot about technology, with them I learn to have a futuristic vision and thanks to them every day I learn what they want and how they want to learn. They have also taught me to be happy and try to be always young and enterprising.
What is your key to success?
Always seeing into the future, accepting that I know a few things and am learning all the time. Staying updated and open to change.
About Mireia Gussinyé Figueres
- Home town: Mexico City
- Current residence: Mexico City
- Education: Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, Bachelor degree in Humanities
- Personal interests: Study, reading, visits to museums, gardening & crafts
- Favorite food served in the school cafeteria: Chilaquiles (Mexican tortilla with hot sauce, cheese and cream)
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