Andrey Sidenko: Russian Teacher of the Year 2013
ICT teacher Andrey Sidenko received the prestigious national ‘Teacher of the Year’ Award in Russia in 2013. He works at school N29 in Mytischi, a town in the Moscow region and in his 8th year of teaching. At the moment he combines his work at school with postgraduate study on the Methodology of ICT teaching and e-learning. He shared his vision for the integration of technology in education with our professional community.
Inna Stevens: Andrey, thank you for agreeing to give this interview at this very busy time
for teachers for our online edition of Connect Learning Today and the Promethean Planet website. Can you tell us what drives you in your teaching career?
Andrey Sidenko: I think many teachers ask themselves these questions—not only those who take part in the Teacher of the Year contest. What drives a person? How do you motivate yourself? What do you need to do in order for your activity is useful?
In my opinion the main motivating factor for teachers is when students are interested in your subject. If they are interested, students are engaged in the lesson, they are interested in learning about the topic, and they are motivated to study, and to go outside the curriculum and are always looking for something new. This student activity motivates a teacher. At least, this is what happens with me.
My students don’t allow to me to relax and we are always on a collaborative quest with them in my subject—ICT. We try to find new algorithms and solutions for typical problems. This doesn’t allow me to give up, always keeps my spirit up and is, in my opinion, a recipe for how to keep motivated.
Inna Stevens: Can you give an example from your practice in which the use of technology has helped to solve pedagogical objectives effectively, and in a new and unconventional way?
As a teacher of ICT I have clear understanding that modern technology allows you to solve lots of pedagogical problems using modern approaches, which were practically impossible or inaccessible before.
For example I would like to highlight the organization of collaboration in class. When groups of students work together on one problem. They can work collaboratively, even if they are in different parts of school, in different classrooms. Some of them may even work from home, if for any reason they couldn’t attend class that day. They can still continue learning and working together with their group.
Technology enables this teamwork to go smoothly, to monitor each student’s contribution to the group work. The works results can be presented in a more visual way.
Students can use a range of user-friendly multimedia tools—different digital tools such as digital cameras and document cameras—all kinds of digital sensors to get any necessary information. Then students can process this information and share it using cloud technologies.
This approach allows the seamless integration of technologies into modern education and imbues traditional group work with greater efficiency.
Inna Stevens: What is the secret for successful integration of interactive technology in the classroom?
Andrey Sidenko: I think that it is no great secret that one of the most important factors for guaranteed success in using interactive technology in and beyond the classroom is that teachers should not be afraid to use technology.
It is important that teachers have enough practice in using the IWB, learner response systems, document cameras and also mobile devices, as well as use of students’ own devices.
All this technology looks complicated and may raise questions at first, but those who brave these difficulties, by exploring some new technology or device, get the most out of them. These teachers are always on creative, technological and pedagogical quests, using different devices in lessons, daring to take risks and make mistakes. I think it is normal to make mistakes in the teaching process—it is part of forming your future success. You should understand the mistakes you have made and then work to improve, to avoid similar mistakes in the future.
Inna Stevens: Andrey, can you please share your thoughts on the changing role of the teacher?
Andrey Sidenko: It is difficult for me to evaluate changes in schools as I have being working in a school for not so long—just 8 years. However, I have my own vision of the role of teachers in the modern school, and in the modern education system.
I think it is important to assess the role of the teacher as an organizer of learning processes; not based on the content, which he/she provides, although this is also important.
I think it is very important to organize students’ work properly, to motivate them on their own search for information and not to give students ready-made knowledge and instructions. It is better to demonstrate some paths for students to follow.Not giving knowledge, but instead opening the door a little, so that students take their own steps to knowledge independently. This will increase the motivation of students and raise standards because this knowledge won’t be limited to instructions or activities defined by the teacher, but instead, by the students themselves.
I consider this change in the role of the teacher to be fundamental. It is important to interact with learning materials, but students must gain all the information on the topic by way of independent exploration, as part of their own learning process or route, which they create themselves. During this process students can find more effective solutions and their own unique vision for problems given by the teacher.
It is important to listen to all student opinions. All possible solutions should be assessed so that the student understands why his/her suggestions are effective or not.This is the key change we are experiencing in education today. These are the changes in the approach to learning, but I think there have always been teacher innovators, who have used different teaching techniques—away from the traditional ways of teaching. What we see now is a change from the traditional system with teachers using new and modern approaches.
Inna Stevens: What have you learned from your students?
Andrey Sidenko: My answer will possibly repeat my answer to your first question. I am always learning something new, something that can motivate me as a teacher for further exploration—not to give up and always move onward.
The education process has never been one-sided. Teachers have always been interacting with students—the opinion of every student matters and we can always learn something from each of our students.My motivation is to keep learning, discovering new ideas, new solutions and creating new projects with students. For me every lesson is a new discovery, a new achievement and I am always happy if students support this process, and are happy with their achievements.
About the Interviewer:
Inna Stevens is a Teaching and Learning Consultant at Promethean