One of my favorite teaching moments is from 2011 in Namibia, Africa. I taught English to secondary learners who were used to traditional rote methods (vocabulary regurgitation, copying down sentence’s, etc.) of learning the language. Instead of using these methods, I redesigned a unit that centered their learning around designing a new national park for the wildlife in their area. They were required to use english vocabulary and other ESL staples in an advertisement to attract tourists, the signposts throughout the park, etc.
Throughout the project they were overjoyed at the idea that they were able to work in groups, draw their parks, and contemplate creative and attractive English sentences. As I watched them, I realized how important it was to make learning authentic to students. This deeply shaped my pedagogy and educational experience.