Magdalena Dygała

Slowacki High School, Radom, Poland

Magdalena Dygała

Magdalena has loved teaching ever since she was a young girl. The biggest driving force for her was a hunger to make a difference and shape students’ future lives. Magdalena strongly believes that only teachers who truly love their profession can make students passionate about learning.

As well as her passion for teaching, it was also her desire to share her love for the English language that led her to become an EFL teacher, and her first job in Słowacki High School allowed her to discover her true passion for teaching English to teenagers.

Slightly more than half of students from Magdalena’s school come from low-income families: many do not have Internet access at home. Moreover, over 40% of students come from small villages and start education with a very low level of English. Magdalena does her best to enrich the daily lives of her students as well as their educational and career aspirations. Today the job market requires different skills than in previous decades, and applicants are often evaluated on their ability to communicate and connect with different types of people. Magdalena’s goal is to prepare students not only for their final exams but also for their future world.

Understanding her students’ needs, Magdalena started running extracurricular activities and international projects for her students to prepare them for leaving school. They collaborated with other students from around the world with the aim of fostering cross-cultural understanding and helping others. These activities have included Global Earth Day Project (where pupils cooperated with students from Brazil, Korea, Taiwan and Alaska), Safer Internet Day (where pupils prepared a video project on the topic of cyberbullying), and Mystery Skype (where pupils ask yes/no questions in order to guess where the other students come from). Their biggest achievement was being one of the winning teams in the international Headway Scholarship 2014 competition, which asked them to record a short video on how a coursebook can change teachers’ and students' lives.

Recently, Magdalena has started PhD research on the topic ͞Music and the Mind: A study of the effects of using popular songs to enhance vocabulary, grammar learning and acquisition͟. According to 2018 figures, over 65% of 12th graders who attended her extra-curricular classes scored higher than previous years in exams, and between 2010 and 2018 almost 80% of Magdalena’s students continued education at university level. She was also nominated to enter the finals of the Best Teacher of English 2016 competition organised by the British Alumni Society.

If awarded the Global Teacher Prize, Magdalena would set up a foundation to improve the living standard of students from her town and nearby rural areas who come from broken homes or low-income families. She would also use funds to help them prepare for university entry examinations and cover the cost of living during the first two years of their studies.