Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Joint teacher training event in Almendralejo, Day 2

If Monday was a busy day, what could I write about Tuesday, our second day in Almendralejo in Extremadura in Spain?

We started with Jacob's presentation about his work as a language assistant. Jacob is from Massachusetts, US. He graduated as  biologist from the university and applied for a scholarship to Spain. He has 12 hours teaching a week at the school and in exchange he can improve his Spanish. One can't imagine how much he can do in 12 hours, however, it is true that he has alternative weeks. He co-teaches biligual classes, has sessions with students who are going to apply for a university, prepares vocational students for job interviews and business presentations, teaches presentation and surviving skills in foreign countries for students applying for Erasmus programmes. He also takes part in sport events or afternoon activities and whenever he contacts a student he always speaks English to provide a natural environment for using English. He says - and we believe - that that's the most he can help students with: to create a meaningful context for speaking in English.

We went on with lesson observations in the morning. Industrial Computing, Maths, French, English and Economics were offered. At the end of the Economics class, delivered by Paco, students (17-18) asked some questions from us. They were very interested if using IT gadgets were allowed in our schools and we assured them that schools are the same everwhere. All the other classes were interesting and the teachers taught in English for our sake  - except for the French class, of course.

Between two observations we prepared the next meeting in Slovenia. We reported our progress and the tasks students have covered and discussed how to arrange the visit.

The last lesson to observe today was a series of presentation of upper secondary 2nd graders (13-14) of their language camp in October. We saw very nice presentations of excited and enthusiastic students. They were good. They asked us about the weather in our countries, what languages we speak, if we speak Spanish, etc. Considering how shy my students would be in such a situation I was impressed by how open and relaxed they were! They take part in the bilingual programme and it seems to work!

After lunch and a very short siesta we left for Merida, to see what Romans built there two thousand years ago. This is the largest and most complete Roman ruin in Europe and a national museum in Spain. It was spectacular and very interesting. We had an excellent guide so we saw a lot, we learnt a lot and enjoyed our time.

It is really impressive how many colleagues of his Javier could involve in the programmes of the week. Everybody is very kind and helpful and we can exchange our experiences - good or bad.