Teacher of the month - Sandra Bešker

Sandra Bešker is never still. Permanently on the lookout for “something new and interesting to help me do my job better” the language and literature teacher from Split, has become something of an expert in cross-curricular classroom activities. From the environment to computer games, Sandra’s approach is to dip into a variety of disciplines, to keep her pupils engaged and motivated.

It’s not surprising then, that Sandra was attracted to the inGenious programme, with its remit to enhance the learning process across a range of key subjects.

Sandra’s initial point of contact was with the online inGenious Community of Practice (CoP), which provided her with expert-led training and discussion forums – tools she needed to effectively boost her teaching of STEM subjects.
“I found out more interesting stuff from other teachers participating and also shared ideas with colleagues not involved in project”, she explains.

Inspired by CoP, Sandra successfully applied “a dozen new ideas in the classroom.” Although the experience also underscored the fact that one size doesn’t fit all. She quickly learnt that differentiated approaches were needed to engage all of her pupils: “Some students loved the online programmes we tried. But others expected something completely different.”

Adapting activities to groups and interests is something that comes naturally to Sandra, as an experienced teacher, and the net result was that all her pupils felt motivated and stimulated by “trying something new.”

Another key benefit of the inGenious programme was an introduction to teaching tools such as Superbenz, Sensor Adventure, Deforestaction and Scratch, which Sandra feels can be applied across a diverse array of subjects.

“Quite apart from the specific skills taught by these programmes, inGenious introduced me to different tools I can use in the classroom, no matter what I’m teaching – STEM subjects or something completely different, like literature and language.”

She also felt that involving key commercial organisations in the programme was essential to its success.

The idea of industry-teacher collaboration is great”, she says. “It’s so exciting that some of the world’s biggest companies are developing practices for schools and getting more involved in the educational process. It’s also important for students to realise the role of industry in society and to familiarise themselves with potential careers, because many still think that industry jobs are not attractive. They also need to understand the importance of building a responsible and environmentally friendly industry.

Sandra’s advice to her fellow educators is quite simply to get involved: “Join inGenious! Sometimes it’s hard work and sometimes it’s fun. Be open-minded and try everything you can use in your classroom.”