QUESTIONS FOR SENIOR TEACHER TOMÁŠ PEŘINKA
What do you find interesting about teaching?
The way people express themselves in languages shows vividly the way they tend to think about things, often also reflecting their attitude in life. Therefore, teaching languages entails working with the human mind from quite a psychological perspective and, in terms of a methodological approach, in the philosophical sense as well. Language education also essentially focuses on a teacher’s ability to listen rather than their presentation skills. Even more interesting are the two aspects of language teaching we must face at the same time. The first aspect involves approaching the language as the object of our study and trying to achieve certain goals and a certain level in communication. The second lies in the necessity of using the language as the very instrument during communication. Harmonizing both of these simultaneously is a very specific challenge.
What special thing are you trying in your classes now?
I have recently been trying some improvisational techniques. One of them can be considered a “free flow of ideas”. First, students are given some random cards with various pictures on them (people, animals, or things) and, based on their imagination, they match them up with given verbs they find suitable. After that, the students brainstorm and try to put their ideas together into sentences. At that point, I merely provide feedback and write the ideas on the board. When everything goes well, we end up forming a nice final story. This kind of activity isn’t usually meant to be a part of the structural lesson plan, but it enhances students’ direct thinking in the language they study, and it definitely seems to provide a great warm-up or eliciting instrument to make students feel more involved in and excited about the lesson.
What is your favourite word and why?
The word “being” seems really fascinating to me. It is nearly impossible to find another word expressing a higher level of abstraction. This word, as a concept, enables us to grasp literally everything that exists — is in reality in the broadest sense — and yet, in English, this word also serves very important concrete grammatical purposes.
What is your favourite place in Prague?
Coming from Prague, this is obviously a tricky question to answer. However, I would probably choose the area of Vyšehrad. This historic fort offers a remarkable and enchanting combination of natural elements, such as a small vineyard, and a historical site with a dominant church on the top, a famous old cemetery, statues all around, and many wonderful views of Prague. There are many mystical legends connected to this place as well. When I have a walk there, it always gives me a different perspective on Prague and allows me to get lost in my thoughts.