As my time at Global Find comes to an end, I have started to reflect on the goals I made at the beginning and my progress throughout the 6 weeks.
- Deeper knowledge of the Italian language
- Gain experience in taking adults classes
- Further improve upon my classroom organisation and behavioural management skills.
In preparation for coming to Italy, I had taken an Italian Stage 1 Module at university. I had a basis understanding of the language in terms of grammar and structure as well as a small vocabulary of words. However, I was well aware that the extent of my knowledge was not going to prepare me for living in a lesser known Italian city where most of the locals would not speak or understand English. Our host, Daniela, provided an Italian tutor for Lisa, Jemma and myself and since the beginning Emilia has taught us for 2 hours twice a week (Monday and Friday). I feel my understanding of Italian has vastly improved and I am more confident when interacting with shopkeepers, restaurant staff and other locals we have come into contact with. Daniela and Ida encourage us to use our knowledge during conversations with them and throughout our cooking lessons. I feel I am less confident in speaking still – which is something I would like to continue to work on – but I make an effort to converse as often as I can. Throughout my time here, I have also been using the app ‘Duolingo’. I have had great success with this in the past and felt this would help me to broaden my vocabulary in addition to my lessons. I will continue to use ‘Duolingo’ when I return home to maintain my understanding and continue to learn the language.
In addition to teaching classes with children and young people, I have been taking a 1-2-1 lesson with a woman in her twenties. Initially, I was quite anxious to teach individual lessons, especially with an adult. However, I was surprised by how enjoyable it could be. The woman is a pleasure to teach and will often comment on our successful (or otherwise) each lesson was. She isn’t afraid to ask questions which helps to break up the lesson and gives her an opportunity to improve upon her speaking in addition to the writing and listening activities in the worksheets. I find it a lot easier to change and adapt the lesson to suit her needs as opposed to teaching a class of 10 or more people. In addition to taking adults lessons, I have also had the task of teaching teenagers. I have never been interested in becoming a high school teacher so when I first looked at my timetable and found out that the majority of my classes were older, I felt a bit apprehensive. During the first few classes, I felt a bit out of my comfort zone especially due to the language barrier however, I did eventually ease into it and have actually come to prefer these classes. They are further along in there learning and can therefore converse more easily with me. They are more interested in asking questions about Scotland and my life back home than the younger groups and I am able to ask them about Italy and their life here.
Similar to last year’s placement, I aimed to improve upon my classroom organisation and behaviour management.
I have been extremely lucky in this placement as I have not been required to plan my lessons. Global Find follow the Cambridge English Curriculum therefore already have the resources required to teach the classes at multiple different levels. Daniela arranges the resources a day or two in advance and I will either choose to look over the workbooks at home the night before or in school before class. I always ensure that I look over the work thoroughly so I know what is expected of the pupils. Also, I try to find areas which I can focus on to ensure that I am deepening their understanding of the relevant topic.
As most of my classes are younger children or teenagers, I haven’t had much of an issue with behaviour management. By this age most to the young people are here either because they choose to be or they understand the importance of it. Public schools in Italy examine their pupils on their development of English so those that attend additional English language school appreciate the advantage they have. I have had one or two issues in the younger classes I have on a Tuesday and a Saturday. This is mainly due to the language barrier. As the weeks have gone on, and my knowledge of Italian has improved, I have noticed the issues improving as I can now understand what the issue is and help (most of the time). I think before the children were becoming frustrated by not being about to communicate this me – especially the very young children aged between 4-6.
Overall, I have very much enjoyed my experience and my time at Global Find. It had been very interesting living in another culture and learning about the differences between Scotland and Italy. I would definitely consider doing an experiences like this again and I feel that the knowledge I have gained will definitely have an effect on my future as a teacher.