“I love to help people learn how to learn. I get excited when I see students using learning strategies we practiced together. I know the students feel proud of their accomplishments because they understand how to continue to develop their skills on their own. Rather than just teaching them language, I want to give them the tools to help them learn long after they have completed their classes with me. “
Cintia Costa understands how important it is for language students to develop strategies for learning. She has been teaching English and Portuguese as foreign languages and also prospective language teachers since 1993 in a variety of settings including Montessori, the Federal University in her home city of Belem in the Brazilian Amazon, at Duke University in North Carolina, in Winnipeg at the U of W CTESL program, and since 2014 at MITT. She is currently enjoying working with literacy students at the lowest levels. Her 2002 Master’s research focus was about how to develop autonomous learning behaviours in foreign language learners using digital technology. She also spearheaded a special project with her undergrad language teachers-in-training to provide “language counselling” for low-income learners in a k-12 school. The teacher/counselors worked one-on-one with children to determine their needs and interests and developed specific learning strategies with them for optimum outcomes.
Cintia has never stopped developing her own skills in the classroom. She enthusiastically encourages and models using technology with her own students. She is always networking and connecting with other teachers from far and wide and sharing new ideas. She has been blogging about her classroom experiences since 2008, and is a regular contributor to Twitter and Facebook. She is excited about the idea of an “unconference” where teachers are free to connect and share ideas. Her advice to language teachers is to belong to groups, participate in social media, search for ideas and information through institutions and online, participate in webinars, do collaborative projects, go to conferences, and be open to new ideas at all times.
In 2013 Cintia studied more about Education in general, not just teaching language, and began to see the Earth Charter (Earthcharter.org) as a basis for everything she believes about learning. She wants to incorporate the tenants of world citizenship: solidarity, and social and environmental responsibility into all she teaches. “I want to encourage people to become citizens of the world and love is the key.” There is no questions that Cintia is a master teacher. Her students love her creative lessons, her genuine character and her enthusiasm for life-long learning and she loves to share the gift of language with them.