Monday, 7 April 2008
Who are we?
Resourceful Teaching was founded by Laura Szmuch and Jamie Duncan. We are Master Practitioners and Trainers in NLP. Laura is a graduate of the Instituto Superior del Profesorado "Dr. Joaquín V. González" and works as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language in her studio in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Jamie Duncan is lecturer in Language III at the I.N.S.P.T of the Universidad Tecnológica Nacional in Buenos Aires and works with students of all ages.
At one point in our careers we felt the need to go further in understanding the learning process. In particular, we paid attention to some important aspects in teaching which were not generally covered, like the delicate chemistry produced by the communication between teacher and student. We began to play with this intuitively and change things in our teaching and we started to read a lot about NLP. We wondered what would happen if we took all these marvellous ideas and technology and used them in education. We realised we had a lot to learn and that there was an amazing world to which we had only just gained entry, so we decided to take a course and learn about it properly.
As we were both very enthusiastic about applying what we had been learning to our classes, we began to try things out, take notes, read, and get books from the US, the UK and New Zealand that were not available here. Above all, we shared everything we were discovering. Individually, we started giving some workshops to friends and colleagues, until the day, when as we were about to finish the Master Practitioner, we organised a study group together. From this group, there were requests or almost 'demands' from our colleagues who wanted something deeper and more structured than just a workshop, to be given in English and dedicated to education and language teaching. At this point we were completing the Trainer training and we realised that we had all the material and ideas in our heads. What was needed was to put it in order and form a course. And our first Practitioner Certificate course in Education started.
The wonderful thing about working with teachers is that we see almost instant results. They tend to have a phenomenal drive and come to us interested in acquiring techniques to help their students learn more easily. Little by little, however, they realise that they are also helping themselves immensely. They become more open and more complete as people and discover that they have resources available to resolve conflicts and communicate more effectively. They see that they possess an enormous treasure in the form of their academic knowledge and training but that however rich this intellectual knowledge may be, it is still not quite enough. Therefore, they acquire tools to transmit learning, not just from the mental perspective. It is incredible to see the difference in their classes when they learn to use their bodies, their voices, aspects of non-verbal and unconscious communication and to value their intuition. They improve their communication with their students, parents of students, colleagues, heads and other staff in a remarkable fashion. And this is because their communication reveals a different point of view, one which has been nourished by NLP.
What most excites us is that they approach us as 'professionals', committed to their work and then they discover themselves as 'people'. They realise that they need to devote time and space to themselves and to the
organisation and planning of their lives and careers in a wider perspective. Teachers normally live in a whirlwind of classes, preparation, marking, exams and different groups and undoubtedly this is a situation in which it is easy to lose oneself. The changes that we witness in teachers have to do with finding themselves again and reacquainting
themselves with their subject, their pupils and their lives. Apart from dramatic improvements in their classrooms, they tell us of important changes in their families and with their partners, of new jobs or growth in their institutes, of more useful free time which emerges from better organisation and clear objectives. They also tell of better physical
health and we insist a lot on this point as teachers need strong and flexible bodies, loads of energy and to eat well. Teachers need to set an example for students.
When people complain about the crisis in education, we consider that it is a good idea to teach those who teach. When those who are part of the teaching-learning process know where they are going, what their beliefs and values are and how to find their mission, the crisis becomes a path of opportunities. The huge changes that we are experiencing in the world are an excellent challenge and the better prepared we are and the greater our self-knowledge and our personal and spiritual development, the more chances we have for continued learning and growth in all aspects of our life.
© Laura Szmuch and Jamie Duncan, 2001