“I find inspiration and new ideas for the classroom by networking, searching on the Internet and thinking out of the box. I see possibilities instead of barriers.” – Pim Staals, Netherlands
Many of the educators we profile here at Daily Edventures draw on a wealth of experience accumulated over long careers. So it’s especially exciting when we come across teachers who are just beginning their careers. These newly minted teachers bring enthusiasm, technology savvy and fresh ideas to their work, and positive results soon follow. Such is the case with today’s Daily Edventure from 25-year-old Pim Staals. Though he’s only been teaching since 2009, Staals has already accomplished a great deal, both in and outside of the classroom.
As a Microsoft Innovative Educator, Staals has participated in a number of Partners in Learning Forums, and was recognized most recently for his Digital News Agency project, The Pioneer Courier (in Dutch, “De Pionier Koerier”). The project had his 8th grade students gathering, organizing and editing news content, then publishing it on an interactive website they created. This project-based learning exercise focuses on 21st century skills while engaging students in activities – like video creation – they clearly enjoy. According to Staals, “The aim of the project is to stimulate the language competence of the children in a valuable, usable and attractive way of learning.”
Staals’s project was born out of a need to address poor evaluations received by his school. While his students were motivated, their performance in basic skills areas was not up to national standards. Staals was inspired by the students’ desire to go above and beyond the skills required by national standards. “They wanted to work together, explore the world – anything they can do for themselves, and they want important and meaningful progress,” Staals says.
Clearly, the approach worked, and Staals was recognized last year at the Partners in Learning European Forum in Lisbon. As he continues to evolve as a teacher, we look forward to seeing what new innovation will bring to his classroom. Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure with Pim Staals.
Why did you become an educator?
I love working with young people. It feels great when you see them growing.
What is your philosophy as an educator?
I want to help children by giving them a successful life. It’s my job to give them the opportunity to develop essential skills for being successful.
What type of learning environment do you create in your classroom?
I create an environment that stimulates children to develop the 21st century skills.
Why is using technology an important part of your educator toolkit?
By using technology it is possible to train on 21st century skills and this can make education valuable, usable and attractive.
Explain how technology has changed education for you?
I’ve grown up with technology! Lucky me.
What are three things every student must have in order to be successful?
Children need a creative and positive attitude. And most important: they must enjoy the things they do.
What is your biggest “pet peeve” (annoyance) as an educator?
There is more possible when you see less as impossible.
Where do you find inspiration and new ideas for the classroom?
By networking, searching on the Internet and thinking out of the box. I see possibilities instead of barriers.
What lessons have your students taught you?
Communicate with children, listen to them and involve them in the learning process.
What is your key to success?
Hearing my students, involving them in their own learning process and trying to improve education every day.
What’s one piece of technology in your classroom that you can’t live without?
Laptops. There is so much possible!
About Pim Staals, Teacher and ICT Coordinator, Microsoft Innovative Educator
Valdenswaard, The Netherlands
- Hometown: Budel, The Netherlands
- Education: University of Professional Education
- Personal interests/hobbies:Playing football and volleyball. In the summer I like to travel, go cycling and playing tennis.
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