Cited as one of the 42 leading women in education by the University of Southern California, Vicky Loras is a strong proponent of growth in teaching and learning.
She is the owner of The Loras Network, where she teaches English, trains teachers and also organises events and educational trips for children. In her upcoming webinar “Are You Playing or Learning?- Both!” hosted by Fluency MC, she aims to help teachers grasp the real essence of informal learning.
In an interview, Vicky shares more about her teaching journey and offers advice to teachers on using new approaches.
- Please tell us about yourself and your teaching journey so far.
I was born in Toronto, Canada to Greek parents who emigrated there when they were very young. I have been teaching since 1997, since I was a young girl in university – even though, I had never in my life thought of becoming a teacher. As long as I can remember myself, I wanted to be a lawyer, but in my university entrance exams, I missed Law School by a fragment of a percentage and got into teacher education by accident. I was not very warm to the idea at first, until I started studying it and teaching too – and then I fell in love with this profession!
- What’s your take on informal learning?
First of all, I believe that learning is something that can happen anywhere, and I have had great learning moments outside school or university; it can happen on the train talking to someone, but the last few years I have realised that I am learning tremendously a lot from other colleagues on social media, be it because of an article or blog post they have shared, or an online teachers’ chat, or a webinar.
- Which of your ideas has worked best following this teaching approach?
I remember taking my kids out to a cornfield a few years ago, and that was one of the best and most memorable classes ever – outside of the classroom walls, these kids learned so much, from how a corn plant grows, to big numbers, as we were measuring all the stalks with measuring tape.
- What should a teacher’s attitude be if s/he wants to use this approach?
I know a lot of us are hesitant to do it, either because we may think it is not ‘proper’ learning, or because we might come up against the reaction of the parents, caregivers, or even the students themselves. We need to be brave first of all and accept the idea that learning can be done anywhere, and then also explain to all the parties involved what our objectives are and why we are going to adopt this approach. Most times, we get them all aboard; there may be difficulties as in many things, but if we do not believe in it, then nobody will!