Thursday, 31 July 2014

Summer English Course (short duration) for 10-12 year olds - The 30th and 31st of July 2014


A new young man (Tomas) joined the group on the 30th and soon adapted to the rhythm of the morning vocabulary extension exercises, not to mention the fact that he willingly accepted being assigned a whole reading paragraph for the final day's presentation,which he took up as a challenge.

They were introduced a listening comprehension task which they enjoyed immensely, though according to the overall opinion what they have liked most so far has been the English subtitled film they have been watching on a daily basis.

Because some children have a fairly low tone of voice I decided to have them act among the public, so they were assigned specific places during today's auditorium rehearsal. I must confess I was particularly impressed with their reading progress, especially in regards to the rhythm and accent of the Language. I just hope they don't get too anxious tomorrow and manage to read as well as they did today. 

(To be continued)

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Summer English Course (short duration) for 10-12 year olds - The 29th of July 2014


The word development in English, as well as the reading and comprehension continued throughout the first part of the morning and though by the end of it they all looked exhausted and ready for a break, I must confess none of them seemed particularly demotivated.

I must nevertheless say that this younger generation doesn't seem to be able to concentrate for long periods of time as I recall "my" generation used to, so as a teacher one has to continually adapt and re-adapt the ongoing methodology as in accordance to their facial expressions, which means to say, whenever they are no longer "listening" and either have a more pro-active approach or come up with something that will definitely grab their attention and that I had to do quite a few times.

After the very short break they got back to what they had been doing the previous day artistically speaking and those who had already finished what they had been assigned to do were given a world map puzzle, which I intended to later use to help them locate the continents and countries mentioned in the texts.

The half an hour they are engaged on Art or any other side assignment related to the theme just highlights the fact that very little can be accomplished without perseverance and meticulous work, as many of them are already beginning to be aware of.

We resumed our lesson by having them read out loud the selected texts for the final presentation followed by another episode of the film, in which they got "acquainted" with a young Indian boy, who despite being physically impaired makes his way to the local school whilst being pushed and pulled by his two younger siblings  whilst sitting on a a handmade sort of wheelchair (a fairly complicated riding process that takes more than an hour every day on a single way) so as to attend school and have access to a higher education. 

(To be continued)

Monday, 28 July 2014

Summer English Course (short duration) for 10-12 year olds - The 28th of July 2014

Clara, Patricia, Beatriz, Jessica, Filipa, InĂªs, Carolina, Duarte, Oliver and Tiago (from left to right)

I felt that his year's theme for the 10 to 12 years old should be "travelling around the world", once it would allow them not only to learn words related to a wide variety of nationalities, religions and even the fauna of those particular countries, but also get acquainted with the various traditional costumes, as well as to learn to locate the selected countries in a world map and identify their flags. 

As we "made our way" towards the different continents we "travelled" through  India,  Rajasthan and Sri Lanka, before heading to Guatemala and a brief stop in the African continent. 
I had them see some photos I had taken in my previous trips before each of them was given an artistic assignment - some of the girls had to colour and assemble paper  puppet dolls from India, whilst the others would use scratching techniques to build fairly intricate "artistic works" associated with the forest. The boys, on the other hand would have to assemble 3D animals, some of which had around one hundred pieces.

Clara with her finished paper puppet doll from India.

Most of the children had already been to my courses the year before so I knew what to focus on if I wanted to take the utmost advantage of their skills.

Prior to having them watch an extract of a very interesting film (with subtitles in English) on the difficulties some children have to face to reach and eventually attend school in their countries, which in this case were Kenya, Morocco and Patagonia I handed each of them an abridged story of a different child each, which we worked on in terms of vocabulary, grammatical structure and content.

I don't think they remembered what it used to be like being in class with me, as most of them left in a state of utter tiredness ... or maybe it was just because it was Monday ... and they had "lost" touch with the working rhythm ... but all in all it was a fairly active morning ...

(To be continued)

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Summer English Course (short duration) for 4-6 year old children - Final day presentation - The 25th of July 2014


I could easily feel the children's anxiety during the last morning, particularly as the final presentation was getting closer. They nevertheless rehearsed their entrance in the auditorium and the song they would later be singing for the audience as if they weren't at all nervous.

Soon after having realised that the strawberries and penguins made out of elastic bands they were handed out had been made by the Training Centre morning porter, Filomena, who had let them in and out throughout the week they didn't resist thanking her in a genuine display of hugs and kisses which had her particularly moved. 

I had to ask a colleague to come by and try to take some photos during the ceremony, as Ana and I would be engaged in ensuring that everything went according to plan. By eleven thirty the first parents arrived and were welcomed by the children handing them out some invitations we had especially made for the occasion.

Once every single parent and grand parent had arrived the children walked into the auditorium introducing themselves in English, so as to let the audience know who and how old they, as choir members, were.

Nesterova's song, which I had selected for the presentation wasn't too easy but everyone agreed they sang beautifully.

Soon after the substitute Director handed out the attendance certificates to the children involved in this project, they sat with their relatives whilst I had a photo selected show display of the most important moments of the week, which pleased everyone, especially the children.

I must say I was particularly happy to see some of my Abinitio Air Traffic Controllers among the audience sharing this moment of joy with both children and parents.

The children then led their parents and grandparents to the upper floor room where they spent  a great part of the week studying, so that they might see what they had achieved in terms of the English Language development and done artistically.

All is well that ends well, as the saying goes ... and if I may be honest the greatest feeling of it all was to have directly contributed towards people's happiness, apart from the recognition and praise therewith associated.