Five UNIR teachers nominated for the best teacher awards in Spain

23 / 09 / 2021

The students vote for the teachers in these awards, given by EDUCA in collaboration with the Abanca Foundation, which recognize aspects such as innovative activities or continuous training actions.

Five professors from the International University of La Rioja have been nominated for the Best Professor in Spain awards granted by the EDUCA platform in collaboration with the Abanca Social Work Foundation: Ingrid Mosquera, Álvaro Pérez, Patricia Solís, María Dolores Ouro, and Manuel Palomares.

For five years, these awards have recognized teachers for their good practices. The nomination is based on the proposal of the students themselves. In addition, the jury takes into account innovative activities in the classroom or participation in continuous training actions, among other criteria.

On October 30th, the selection of 10 finalists will be published for each of the categories that, from preschool to higher education, compete in the awards. The winners will be announced on November 15th.

“This recognition represents the gratitude of my students. It means the reward for each of the learning moments that we share”, affirms Professor Solís, a comment shared by the other UNIR teachers.

In their virtual classrooms, students learn, integrate, cooperate, and overcome challenges. This is how they do it:

Ingrid Mosquera: “humor is a fundamental part in my classes”

Ingrid Mosquera

“A teacher must have the ability to adapt”, defends the educator, and for this, “it is necessary to have constant training and updating. I believe that this is what is helping me the most to enrich my classes and to be a better teacher.”

She teaches in the master’s degree in Teacher Training for Compulsory Secondary Education and Baccalaureate, Professional Training, and Language Teaching at UNIR. “We work a lot with digital tools. When training future teachers, the development of their digital competence is a pressing need and a goal to be achieved”.

Mosquera highlights the importance of connecting future teachers “with active teachers, through my outreach activity on social networks, so that they know the potential of informal learning and that their learning continues beyond the subject itself.”

She bases her relationship with her students on respect: “They are able to see when a teacher makes an effort and gets involved. We talk about commitment, empathy, and involvement. Also about being oneself, about being natural. Humor is a fundamental part of my classes.”

Álvaro Pérez: “a good teacher should make the student participate”

Álvaro Pérez

Empathy and respect are two characteristics of a good teacher, according to this professor: “Be empathetic, know and respect the personal situations of the students and turn them into advantages to face the education process. In addition, the student must be involved, given the leading role, interact, and feel part of a group; make them think and reflect and strengthen their critical attitude.

Professor in the Bachelor in Pedagogy and the Master in Educational Technology and Digital Competencies, he uses many ICT resources in his classes (he is the director of the Educational Technology department of UNIR). “I also bet on active methodologies, reaching, for example, to completely gamify one of the master’s subjects that I teach.”

“I connect to the classes 10-15 minutes before to make a virtual corridor, where we discuss aspects that have nothing to do with the subject and it helps us get to know each other better in other areas. I also put into practice a ‘Virtual Cafeteria’ forum, in which everyone can share and debate. They are good alternatives for students to feel integrated in a teaching modality where we don’t know each other physically”, he explains.

Patricia Solís: “there cannot be learning without emotion”

Patricia Solis

“Empathy is necessary to create a bond with students and to be clear that learning occurs in a two-way relationship, we are generators of learning opportunities, not simple transmitters of knowledge,” says this professor of the Master in Special Education at UNIR. “Also, constant updating and being consistent while maintaining the necessary rigor and encouraging students to reach a higher level of self-demand.”

She uses new technologies as a “tool that facilitates personalized learning”. Likewise, she indicates: “There can be no learning without emotion, which is why I like to incorporate some gamification strategies in the classroom. For example, to contribute to the assimilation of the contents, I propose educational escape rooms and use infographics that allow a simple explanation of a didactic element”.

Ella Solís points out that in her classes she favors “student attitudes towards attention to diversity and inclusion and the group of people with different abilities. I try to involve the students in different dissemination and awareness projects”.

What should a good relationship with the student be based on? “On mutual respect. I try to become close to the students because that is the only way I can learn about their difficulties regarding their studies and adapt my methodology to the circumstances”.

María Dolores Ouro: “the key is teacher-student teamwork”

María Dolores Ouro

“The teacher is neither good nor bad (except in exceptional cases), they simply connect or not with their students, is interested in them, encourages them to be better citizens, and makes knowledge flow and is a source of inspiration. But they must also have an interest in teaching, observation, adaptation, creativity, leadership, patience and empathy, continuous training, assertiveness, ”says this professor of the Pedagogy and Translation and Interpretation degrees at UNIR.

In the classroom she uses ICT tools: “The essential thing is gamification, teacher-student teamwork, participation, the surprise factor and especially the resolution of doubts or feedback, offering alternatives and multiple tools for their professional present/future.”

This teacher refers to “love, respect, and humor” as the basis for building a good relationship with the student, which entails becoming aware of “their personal and family circumstances, feeling real interest, treating them as equals, arousing curiosity, facilitating autonomous and personalized learning. Enjoy the road.”

Manuel Palomares: “commitment, rigor, and trust”

Manuel Palomares

“I try to make the teaching and grading enjoyable and useful and leave a contribution beyond what is in the manual, which can be continued at home, but in class they want a different element, an experience”, affirms this teacher of the Master in Human Rights of UNIR.

For this he encourages “interaction by making corrections in class where the students are the ones who participate, asking questions very often, activating microphones by surprise so that they read an extract, give an answer, and feel that they are in a desk in the front row.”

What sustains a good relationship with students? “Commitment, rigor and trust,” he replies. “Obviously, trust is created with the first classes where you realize that the teacher is an ally who can support you, but the channel is always rigor, knowing that it is still a professional and academic relationship where the objective is only one, to acquire knowledge. And that’s where the compromise comes in.”