Rosana Tignanelli was already an experienced teacher when she enrolled on the online Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) programme. Here she reflects on how the masters shaped her teaching practice and shares how she's spending her retirement in Argentina.
Master of Education (MEd) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
|Year of graduation||2007|
At the moment
I am retired but I want to go on being linked with education by assessing teachers and also by writing, an activity that I like very much.
Your time at the University
It was the year 2000 when, due to my husband’s job, our family (the four of us: my husband, my two daughters and myself) went to live in Caracas, Venezuela. I wanted to take up postgraduate studies and, for that reason, I emailed some British universities for information. All of them answered me back but the one that was exactly tailored to my needs was Edinburgh. Very promptly, I was sent a booklet to complete with personal and professional information: I had already graduated as a teacher of English in my home country and had 20 years of experience in the profession. I applied, was accepted very quickly and, at that time, I received the study materials by post and communicated with my tutors by email. The experience at Edinburgh was so enriching from the personal and professional points of view!
You cannot imagine how much I learnt from the materials; they were very well organised through articles and guidelines to complete. Likewise, I became a member of the British Council library in Caracas and I was able to read and consult an enormous (and when I say “enormous”, I am not exaggerating) list of books. These helped me a lot to complete each folio task and each module assignment. I completed eight modules and then I wrote my dissertation on the design of reading comprehension lessons.
The feedback given by my tutors was so motivating that it facilitated my work and stimulated me to grow not only academically but personally as well. It is a pleasure for me to send, once more, a word of thanks to the whole staff that accompanied my work during my study time at Edinburgh.
The graduation day came on June 20th, 2007 and, together with the birth of my two daughters, this was one of the most unforgettable days of my life. My time as a distance-learning student had come to an end on that day. The day of my graduation was a feast at Mc Ewan Hall.
I would like to go back to Edinburgh and visit the city and its historical places, the castle, the Royal Mile and so many others, the University premises and contact, if possible, staff and administrators that were so polite and kind to me. Edinburgh is one of my places in the world, very happy moments I lived through there. Now I have a daughter living in Aberdeen and will have a granddaughter born in Scotland next April. So the possibility of travelling and visiting Edinburgh again could be certain in the future.
Your experiences since leaving the University
After my graduation I went on teaching at my school’s teacher-training college. I centred my work on primary teaching and young learners. My experience at the University helped to open the minds of my student-teachers. Subjects such as listening and reading comprehension skills and theme-based lessons were the focus of my work at the tertiary level. Unfortunately, the situation in my country is not particularly one that opens to new ideas and facilitates teacher promotion. Hopefully, this could be changed in the future.
Now retired, I would like to work on the writing of articles in journals, magazines and newspapers. This could be just a piece of help, I think, for the transformation of a system which demands change. Very recently, I wrote an article for my school’s magazine on techniques and activities that facilitate the expression of feelings and emotions of students in a second language class. This subject, especially in this time of “pandemia”, seems to be extremely important. Our students need to be able to get to know themselves little by little, which helps them understand others. Content and skills as well as the expression of feelings and emotions - who we are, what we want and desire, what our needs are - and the sharing of these views let us grow in all walks of life and work for the transformation of our realities.
Life during Covid-19
The education situation during Covid-19 is utmost worrying. Such a breakthrough in the school schedule, online learning, parents taking the role of teachers and the whole situation of home enclosure have not contributed to making up for the losses of teacher-student relationship, peer-partnership, and emotional, social and cognitive stages that are greatly fostered in schools. Changes, innovations, new ideas, approaches and methodologies are called for. What is more, minds open to different ways of assessing and evaluating students’ work are thoroughly important.
Going through this “pandemia” has inevitably brought me (and each of us, I think) a little more time for activities or hobbies that we have pleasure in, things that we see as "treasures" that help us express the most profound of our beings. Cooking and knitting, with kitchen utensils, wool and needles respectively, show my creative side in the making of cakes for tea-time, my specialty, and “amiguris”, knitted toys for children.
The proximity of family members and friends; that is, affective and social relationships, intrinsically related, will be essential for being able to cope with this changing world, and my relatives and social life are what I miss very much.
Edinburgh was one of the best moments of my life. It is worth experiencing! The academic life, exchanging views and opinions with fellow students of different nationalities, whether face-to-face or via online exchanges, the city itself and its surroundings – it all invites you to learn!