Everyone is up and moving about when English Language Fellow Francisco Resto is leading class in Ukraine. Student-centered learning means that students are engaged kinesthetically, auditorily, and visually in the classroom. And the mind is kept equally active. Resto sometimes uses the ‘Sherlock Holmes Method to Teaching ESL,’ incorporating an educational mystery game that boosts student involvement and sharpens higher-level critical thinking skills at the same time.
Frequently, Resto’s workshop schedule brings him from the capital to other regions of Ukraine, and even across the border to neighboring Moldova. On these travels, trains roll in and out of stations at all hours of the day, and trips often involve an overnight in four-person cabins. Resto explains that in the beginning “it was uncomfortable for me to sleep among strangers, but this mode of transportation also lets me have revealing conversations with Ukrainians from many walks of life.” Getting to know locals who are heading in the same direction and returning to their hometowns provides the perfect contextual nuance when preparing to introduce innovative learning approaches to a new group of teachers.
When his fellowship duties do not have him out on the road, Resto, a visiting lecturer and cultural ambassador at Taurida National University, is back home in Kyiv. From teaching a pop culture class with a focus on superheroes to delivering teacher training across the country, he is making an impact increasing regional English teaching capacity.