For the purpose of my Learning from Life placement, I will be using my blog and my twitter account to record my experiences throughout my time here in Scafati (Italy).
For my placement I am working in an English language centre based primarily in Scafati, named Globalfind. Globalfind is a business run for English learners of all ages ranging from very young at the age of 4 years old all the way through to adults. The lessons are extremely varied and can be larger group lessons, one to one lessons (usually with adults) and business English lessons for adults.
The point of contact for arranging this placement was through Daniela. The school is run by Daniela and Ida and in under two years, they have managed to provide lessons to over 100 students! They are now beginning to expand their horizons and providing lessons in Pompeii and in another building in Scafati as well! The lessons provided for children follow the “Cambridge English” curriculum, to see how the levels and classes are divided please open this link.. . LIVELLI CAMBRIDGE
15th March – Friday! TRAVEL TO SCAFATI!
I am lucky enough to experience this placement with two close friends in my class, Lisa and Sydney. We flew to Naples in the morning and by 5pm we were each teaching our first lessons!! A perfect example of begin “thrown into the deep end”!! Daniela was extremely helpful and picked us up from the airport with her brother.
My first lesson on Friday night was with 13 year olds, they were learning about Tourism. It was a great opportunity to allow conversation to introduce myself as a new teacher from Scotland and allow them to ask questions about tourism in Scotland and for us to compare. It was a new experience for me teaching a lesson to EAL learners. The children were shy and spoke to each other in Italian to try to understand the questions I asked but they were very well behaved and concentrated throughout the lesson.I think it was a positive first lesson as it allowed me to get to know the children through the conversations we could have based on the topic.
Saturday 16th March
My second lesson was with early teens and our topic was “Sport”. I am not sure whether the students were struggling to get used to my accent of if they were finding it difficult to understand the lesson overall. It was quite tricky to get the children involved in discussions in English and they spent a lot of time talking to each other in Italian.
This is something I know I will need to try and encourage students to avoid if possible, to encourage their English development.
Monday 18th March
This class was very young, and they were very excitable! Many of the children were speaking to me in Italian (not knowing that I cannot speak in fluent Italian) and trying to tell me stories and ask questions. This meant it was a difficult lesson to give.
Fortunately, the topic was “I can” activities, therefore I was able to make the lesson practical to help them to get involved and try to learn the vocab and phrases.
In future with the class, I will need to try and ensure the activities include plenty opportunities for the children to learn practically to help them to understand actions.
This class was slightly older 8-9-year old children. The topic was “Favourite foods”. This was another good opportunity to ease into the way of teaching English as a foreign language as it is something that can be related to well.
Fortunately, in the classroom there was a large poster about foods which helped the children to distinguish between different types of foods. To revise some of the foods we had discussed and what the children have been learning previously, we played an alphabet game together which was to think of an Animal, Food and a name (typically English) for letters of the alphabet. The children got really excited and competitive while playing.
Tuesday 19th March
Every Tuesday we will have a staff meeting with the school to ensure that everything is going well for us and if we have any concerns, we want to bring up we can also do it then. We got revised timetables as there needed to be changes made due to swapping of private lessons.
Puppies (with Lisa)
The children in the class are young (5 years old). The students all go to nursery together, so they already knew each other. Two of the children were siblings as well.
The topic was “Clothing” and, even though it was a straight forward topic at first thought, the behaviour of the children made it extremely difficult to try and teach. Me and Lisa were teaching the boys together and both found that behaviour of the boys made it difficult to try and teach anything in the same way we would in a Scottish setting. For example; in Scottish settings there is a set of behaviour management strategies or rules that staff, and children can use/relate to, whereas in the school there isn’t such a thing.
Children of this age are in nursery during the day and then come to the class at the school after wards and so it must be considered that the children may be tired and restless by the time they even arrive at the school at nighttime.
The teens in this class have a reasonable level of English although they are very chatty (in Italian) and so it was difficult to gain and keep their attention on the task they had to complete.
The topic was “Advertising” and in particular small ads. The children had a really good understanding, we discussed the use of abbreviations and how they can help in the writing of small ads. VGC = Very Good Condition.
Wednesday 20th March
My first one to one lesson was a business level of English. We were discussing advertising and the use and importance of it for business’ and consumers. We talked about good and bad advertising campaigns; we had a business textbook with examples of photos to discuss. We looked at a study of Nike and their tactics in advertising.
My students’ level of English was good and mostly the only problems were with ensuring pronunciation was accurate. I think it was a successful lesson as were able to discuss how different countries use advertising differently and how in the UK there are rules and regulations for advertising for example in the promotion of alcohol or use of children in adverts.
The girls tonight were looking at “Games” and playing games, which was leading on from the previous lesson I taught them. The behaviour was slightly better but it was still very difficult as they do not understand that I cannot speak Italian.
It is also very difficult to give instructions because the children consistently shout at you for attention that you do not get a chance to explain the task.
Starters (A1) – with Gilda.
Tonight, I was observing a teacher take her class. I have had the class on my own, so it was interesting to see how the class are taught with her.
Gilda is bilingual and is English mother tongue, so it was amazing to see her working and observe her being able to use her skills to enhance the children’s understanding and learning. She uses English as much as possible and uses Italian only when to confirm the understanding of a new word… by asking what it means in Italian and confirming or helping their knowledge in this way.
The children were looking at “Toys” and they were working from a workbook and then afterwards playing a game with flashcards to improve their memory and pronunciation of the new words they were learning.
Thursday 21st March
Puppies with Sydney
The class I had with Lisa, I now had with Sydney. The children were quieter tonight. The topic was the UK flag, the map of the UK and typical clothing (stereotypes). As the children are so young, they are talking to you in Italian and find it difficult to try and sit down for the time to play games and learn new concepts and words in English.
Pet 3 (B1)
A new class for me tonight. The teens are about 13-14 years old and are working towards exams in June. They were looking at how to fill in forms correctly.
Two of the students had already been on an educational trip with the school to Scotland and in general the whole class had a good understand and working knowledge of the English language. They did not really have any issues with filling in forms and were able to do the work well.
Because the children were able to understand and complete their work so well, we played a game with a song they really like (an English) called No Roots (Alice Merton) where the children had to listen to the song and place the lines of the song in order, fill in the blanks, and place the words in the correct order. The children said they really enjoyed it and found it fun – although when I asked if they found it challenging, they said not really because they knew the song. If I repeat this game, then I will need to find a song they don’t know so well…
Friday 22nd March
Tonight, I had two classes in a school in Pompeii that Globafind run. My first was Puppies, these children are nursery aged (4 years old) and so they are very young. The children here in Italy are usually in Nursery all-day and so by 4pm they were very restless, and I found that it was difficult to work on behaviour management as they were so young to understand what I was trying to ask them to do, or not to do.
The topic was “Fruit” and I had a lot of physical toys for the children to touch and play with while we were learning the names of the fruits. Some of the children grasped the games easily and were able to remember the names of the fruits and play along, but some of the children did not even want to be involved in the games.
It was a really tiring lesson, but it was worth it for the children who were really happy when they were playing the games in English.
This class in Pompeii was a bigger class of nine year olds. The topic was “Kim’s Birthday party”.
I took a lot of birthday party props to the school to help with the understanding and engagement for the lesson. The children were very attentive but the level of English for these children compared to the other class of the same age was much lower. It was an adjustment trying to ensure that I worked with them at an appropriate pace and level.
Saturday 23rd March
My Saturday morning class, we were looking at “Hobbies”. This was a good topic for children to get to play games such as Charades to show what hobbies they liked to do in their free time. Two hours is a long class time here for speaking only in English for the children and the children were getting tired and a bit bored of the topic so I decided to speak to them about the differences in sports we have in the UK and in USA compared to Italy such as; rugby. Which is not a hugely popular sport in Italy but is in the UK. The children enjoyed seeing comparisons written on the whiteboard. We then took this further to discuss the ages for learning to drive, drinking laws or smoking laws, tattoos and piercings. The children really enjoyed seeing the differences between the 3 different places and found it hilarious that the age for most things to do in the USA is 21.
On reflection of week one on placement, I feel that I am beginning to effectively develop and manage the different relationships I have within this placement. I am doing this through being open and approachable to all the people I am meeting. I am valuing our differences in language and culture and beginning to learning more about different aspects of the Italian culture, such as how different meal times are between Scotland and Italy. This first week on placement I am also developing my sensitvity to the needs of the learners in my class through ensuring their understanding of instructions, tasks and conversations.
After discussing my experiences with the lessons I am giving at the school, I am also going to use this blog to discuss the cultural experiences I am having here on placement as well!
CULTURAL EXPERIENCES! – Week 1
Our first Italian lesson!
We had a lesson with Emelia, who was so helpful and friendly . She tried to spend time to get to know us and what we already were able to understand – which to be honest is not a lot!! We began looking at the basics such as ‘My name is…’ ‘I am from…’
It felt comfortable because we had taken Italian stage 1 at university before we came out here, we understand this already. Therefore, it was nice to be able to understand our first lesson.
I am looking forward to seeing how I can progress my knowledge of the Italian language and my ability to use it and speak it!
Saturday 16th March – Castellamare & Italian Hospitality!
On Saturday night Daniela and her cousin Jana drove us to a nearby town called Castellamare which is a beautiful seaside town. It was a busy town with many people walking along the promenade, it felt like you were on holiday out for a stroll before having some food. Families were out playing in the parks along the seafront late at night. It was dark when we were walking back and there were very young children and their families still playing. It was definitely not something you would see in the Uk!! We walked along the long promenade at the beach front to the end where there is a fountain of fresh water that comes directly from the mountains behind it! I tried the water and did not like it! It was like sparking water! Natural sparkling water. It is called ‘l’acqua dei navigatori’. On our walk back along tried a fresh “Graffe” which is similar to a doughnut and I did like that!
After walking around Castellamare, we were dropped off in Pompeii to walk home. The town was bustling with people, in particular young people around 13-17 years old, everyone was just meeting up with friends and hanging out in the main square. As we walked home from Pompeii, Daniela invited us for dinner at her house, when we arrived at her home we were invited to eat a huge spread of food that her mother had prepared. The whole family ate together and we talked about their experiences of living in Scotland and other places in the world before settling again in Scafati. The family were extremely welcoming to us and we were fed as though we were at our granny’s house – not allowed to leave until you cannot even move because you are so full! Daniela’s family knew that our Italian was… not good.. and they spoke in English even when we weren’t talking to them, it was so kind and considerate. …All in all the whole night was an incredible experience of the Italian family lifestyle.
Sunday 17th March – Napoli
Our first opportunity to get out and visit somewhere. We took the train from Scafati into Naples and explored the streets of the city. Even though it’s not peak season for tourism the city was still very busy. Thankfully it was a sunny and warm day so walking around and seeing the city was lovely change from the classroom.
We walked around the historical centre and saw the different styles of buildings. We headed down a narrow street that was full of “Christmas” shops. The traditional ornaments for Christmas time here are not our typical ones at home of Christmas trees and Santa or reindeer’s and presents but are of professions such as builders and cooks and there are lots of traditional nativity scenes as well.
We also walked to Castel Nuovo which was built in the middle ages and has been used as a royal residence. It was used to welcome in famous artists and doctors over the years and also stood ready as a fortress if required.
Below is a video by Sydney from her GoPro of some of our day…
Wednesday 20th March – Italian – Cooking Lesson
As part of the Italian lessons we are receiving, we are also getting Italian CULTURE lessons!! This is such an exciting part of this placement as Italian culture is so interesting to me.
Ida taught in complete Italian for the whole lesson – which was a real difficulty!! She made us our own folder with the recipes for the food we were making – in only Italian! (luckily there was photographs) She showed us how to made Ragu alla Bolognese, which is what the British Spag Bol is based on… it was a lot better though. In Italy is is made with both pork mince and beef mince and they cook it with white wine!
She also taught us how to make our own pasta from scratch!! I did not realise how simple it is either. We had a pasta machine which made it easier to roll the pasta out thinner and we could cut it, but you can also make it without the machine using a rolling pin and scissors or a knife.!
Thursday 21st March – Torre Del Greco
This morning we decided to take the train along the coast towards Naples and get off somewhere to explore! We got off at a town called Torre Del Greco. It was a small harbour town with a working maritime and fishing Port. The sun was beating down which made it even better for walking around the harbour and down the Pier to look back at the town and Vesuvius in the background.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwZguuRgeL0 3.17 – 3.33 is the statue of Christ the redeemer at the harbour.
Below is a video by Sydney from her GoPro showing some photos from our trip –
Saturday 23rd March – Salerno
We decided to take a trip to Salerno for the night to see another part of the South of Italy. We took a train into Salerno and arrived at our B&B for the night to brilliant hospitality from the owner (who made sure we enjoyed some of his wife’s homemade limoncello) before we headed down to the waterfront. We spent time relaxing at the beach and met other English language teachers who ALSO are working and staying in Scafati! We couldn’t believe it because Scafati is not a very popular or well-known place! We spent the night getting to know the other people and played Rugby on the beach together before heading for tea late at night. It was a brilliant weekend exploring a new town and meeting new people (although Sydney got a black eye from headbutting someone during the rugby games).