Isabella Baer, opera singer and music teacher, is part of our education community. I met her when she reached out to us for help with the platform, and I was surprised by her enthusiasm and commitment to her students. I felt the need to interview her. Today I want to talk to you about her pedagogical method -dynamic teaching-, the use of technology in education in the post-pandemic world, among other topics.
Isabella is the Director of music at a 🇬🇧British International School in Mexico City🇲🇽. She has more than 25 years of experience and currently teaches general music, voice, choir, ethnomusicology, and composition.
🤩 The way music came into her life is fascinating. She got into music through her family. Her parents founded the very first chamber music Orchestra in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1975. She grew up surrounded by music and influenced by her father, a violinist🎻, she decided to take the musical path as a life and career project.
"The orchestra would come to my home, and I would hide under the piano and listen to the rehearsals every weekend"
Her rewarding career in education began when she started teaching music and languages in Southern Italy. Since then, Isabella has designed her teaching methodology called dynamic teaching.
✨ I think it is fundamental that we design our own methodologies based on what works for us and for our students. But we can draw inspiration from what other teachers do, especially when they have as much experience as Isabella.
As the name indicates, it's all about dynamism. Dynamic classes will prevent your students from getting bored. And let's be honest, this is going to keep us from getting bored too 🙇. Formal educational processes can be repetitive, and we need to break out of the routine as much as possible.
🧑🎨 Music lessons should be a space for students to let their creativity fly, to express themselves, and play.
The value of it relies upon two reasons. First, it enables engagement among our students. Second, it is a way to make a statement about the importance of music education, which is particularly important nowadays since many schools are cutting budgets and eliminating music programs. We have to stop this from happening. We can't leave kids without music education. Music is equally, if not more important, than any other subject.
Isabella's method, in a nutshell, prioritizes engagement first and foremost. Beyond complying with a program, it's about finding a way to teach the subject that we must teach in the best possible way at the present moment. We cannot stick to a single method.
"When the students start to feel a little anxious and their attention starts to wander, I bring them back into class. We change the activity from rhythm perhaps to melody, including composition and movement"
To do this, we have to be very attentive to our students, feel the room, and adapt to situations as they occur. As you might guess, a fundamental tool for Isabella is mindfulness 🧘.
"Making sure the kids are in the here and now through mindfulness and being present is the most important goal nowadays, especially with so many stimuli at home and through the internet"
One of the things she has learned throughout his career is that play is vital to learning.
"In my opinion, children learn better through play. If we bring a platform like Flat into their education program, it's going to be wonderful to see children explore composition. And this is what we want. We want children to feel confident and explore new ways of self-expression"
Isabella truly believes music education has an impact on society. Music education develops social, emotional, learning and communication skills. Which has a positive influence on the individual dimension but also affects social interactions.
According to her, music education helps us expand our creativity and intelligence.
"Have you ever heard that creativity is intelligence having fun? That is what music does.
Incorporating technology into the learning process
As I always say, we have to find the best tools. The best tool will be the one that works for our students and us. There are so many options to choose from nowadays, which can be a bit overwhelming. So it's always good to ask your colleagues what has worked for them, to get guidance from their experiences.
"I discovered Flat though other educators. They were talking about how wonderful the tool is''
She mentioned that composition got more fun and accessible for her students once she started using our platform. Teaching composition to her younger students was too complex. But now, with Flat, she is teaching composition to students from grades 1 through 9.
🎶 It is wonderful that the kids start to compose from such an early age. Not only do they learn the theory, but they begin to develop communication and self-expression skills. Through the creation of a song, no matter how simple, children feel validated and empowered.
"My experience with Flat has been amazing. Before, my students have never composed. This is the first time they have ever being able to create their compositions. And they are so enthusiastic about it"
Education and technology in the post-covid world
👩💻 Since the pandemic, education has faced so many changes and challenges. Technology became a fundamental part of it. Those who were resistant or afraid to use technology to teach had no choice but to adapt. Herein lies the importance of creating intuitive technology tools. To make the transition friendly for those who are unfamiliar with technology. One of our objectives as a company is to provide a tool that democratizes technology, making it inclusive and accessible.
One of the questions that arise at this point is, will we go back to the way we did things before? What is going to happen to education once the pandemic is over? 🤔
Even if the pandemic is not over, many schools are returning to a face-to-face or blended format. Technological tools that were embraced by the educators when the pandemic began will continue to be part of the teaching process.
Should we continue to use technology in education? I think so, as long as we know how to use it correctly.
Isabella thinks that coining these technological tools brings new possibilities to education. Also, it is a perfect way to get kids involved in learning. Beyond that, we ought to introduce students to technology, which is vital since we live in a technological world.
Let's be honest, as teachers, we are not only teaching our subject, but we are preparing students to face the world, and we must provide them with all the tools we can❗
Isabella, thank you for your willingness, for being part of our community, and for inspiring me!