Farmington teacher receives national honor

By Becky GINOS FARMINGTON—A Spanish immersion teacher at Canyon Creek Elementary was named the Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Expert of the Month throughout the U.S. for January. “I teach Spanish and I use a project-based learning to develop the language of my students,” said Alberto Herraez. “They work in groups to carry out a project such as a podcast, a puppet play or a movie where they interact among them in real life situations. This is called a meaningful context.” Project-based learning (PBL) is defined as “a student-centered pedagogy that involves a dynamic classroom approach in which it is believed that students acquire a deeper knowledge through active exploration of real-world challenges and problems,” Herraez said. “PBL contrasts with paper-based, rote memorization, or teacher-led instruction that presents established facts or portrays a smooth path to knowledge by posing questions, problems or scenarios.” Microsoft selects 12 teachers (one a month) per year from all over the country, according to the district. Herraez is from Spain and came to Utah with his twin brother on a scholarship that gave them the opportunity to teach here. Currently he lives in Farmington and teaches social studies and science to fifth and sixth graders at Canyon Creek. “I think that to teach a language we do not need to memorize a list of words or verbs anymore,” he said. “We need to use the language in real-world situations.”

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