Monday 25th March
The topic of the lesson is rooms of the house. We bagan the topic by looking in particular at the bedroom and what objects we can find in the bedroom. I started the lesson by introducing new vocabulary of common items found in the bedroom by using the whiteboard to draw pictures and the words, and also using some flashcards that were already prepared. In the class there is a wide gap in ability, half of the class are able to grasp concepts extremely quickly and repeat words with good pronounciation, while the other half of the class struggle with concentration and listening to instructions. It makes it very difficult to find a balance to ensure all children get the support they need. I find that half the children find the work easy and manage to understand everything and answer all the question with ease and so would benefit from more difficult work, but the other half each would benefit from one to one support to complete tasks.
Our lesson tonight was based on a short story we read together. The story was called “Monsters in the Park” and the aim of the lesson was to work on the use of prepositions and when and how to use them. For example- Beside, in front of, on, under, in. To support the childrens understanding of the meanings of each of these, after the story and tasks we played a game. I told the children a sentence using a preposition and they had to show me what I was saying. For example- Charlie is beside the whiteboard.. The chidlren found the game really fun and I felt it really helped to consolidate their learning. I will repeat the game at the beginning of the next lesson to revise the learning of this lesson.
Another thing we disccused during the lesson was names. We talked about how their names are very similar to ones in English for example- Francesco is very similar to Francis. The children found this amusing and so in the future lessons we are going to use the english variations of their names.
Tuesday 26th March
Tonight we were working on how to complete forms correctly. These teenagers are working towards their Cambridge English exam in June and part of the exam involves completing forms correctly. We worked through different examples of forms, for example- railcard, bank account applications, landing cards, visa applications. We discussed important factors in completing application forms such as writing in block capital letters. I found it really interesting while discussing the completion of forms that none of the teenagers have their own bank accounts because typically in Scotland, teenagers have their own accounts or saving accounts.
After we completed this we moved onto our next topic which was Our Society. This part of the lesson looked at British society and culture. The worksheet included a reccent survey in the UK looking at immigration. We discussed the results of the survey, which include the question- Do you think the UK welcomes immigrants? The survey was a poll and showed YES, NO, DON’T KNOW answers in percentages. This survery provided a lot of good questions and interesting responses from the teenagers in the class. A lot of them felt that the UK was not welcoming and that it was seen as a racist country. Leading on from this I asked them what they thought about the UK leaving the EU. (Brexit) and the class got very involved in both sides of the argument for staying or leaving the EU. The class was extremely enthusiastic about this and so I asked each individual whether they think the UK should stay or leave and the class was split 50/50! I was really surpised. From this, I split up the class into the two groups and asked them to prepare a list of reasons for why they believe the UK should stay or leave. What I am enjoying so much about this placement is getting to see what other people think about my country, and having the opportunity to talk to other people about their ideas and thoughts.
Wednesday 27th March.
Today we looked at Culture. This is a topic I am very enthusiastic about and always find interesting to research and talk about. My student is from Senegal and so this lesson allowed us to look at three completely different cultures: UK, Italy and in Senegal. Eric’s lessons always have a business approach to them so we were looking at how business can have an impact on cultures. One of the questions we considered was “Why is cultural awareness important for businesspeople?”. Eric has a good level of English and it allows him to express views that he really feels which made our talk throughout the lesson really interesting and valuable. I remember learning French and now while I am learning Italian, I feel that I have a bank of phrases I can use to describe how I feel or what I think about something, and so having a in depth conversation with someone with EFL is really impressive to me.
Today we revisited our learning about the Bedroom. At the same time as my class, Lisa also has a class of the same level. In my class is only girls and in Lisa’s class there is only boys. The behaviour of the children in both our classes can be extremely challenging for different reasons. In my class, half of the girls struggle to understand what is going on whereas the other half understand straight away. The difficulty is not that the children do not understand but that those that are struggling in my class do not listen at all to instructions. So for example- when I begin the lesson by showing drawings or flashcards and introduce new vocab to the class, some of the girls do not participate or do not listen to what is happening therefore when I move on after playing vocab games to explaining the tasks that they can complete they have no idea what is going. At this point these children begin shouting “teacher, teacher, teacher!” without a break to even ask… yes? then they shout in Italian what do we do? When the children who have been concentrating are working individually on their tasks these children are consistently coming up to me and asking for the answers on their work and asking “does this go here?” (in italian). It is extremely hard work and difficult because then the children who are engaged in the lesson are finished and sometimes are waiting to show me their work and need something else to do.
The behaviour in Lisa’s class with her boys is different. I do not know all the information but I believe the boys do not work well together in the class and can often be violent to one another.
To try and attempt to solve both of these issues, we discussed with Daniela a possible mixup of the classes to try and improve both situations. She told us that originally it was just one class of boys and girls together but it did not work well. She gave us the go ahead to try the classes mixed up again to see if it would have a positive impact on the childrens learning.
We decided to mix up the weaker girls with some of the more able boys and the stronger girls with the less able boys. For Lisa’s class this worked very well as the girls were able to provide a really positive example to the boys for both behaviour and engagement. For my class, the more able boys saw how much attention the less able girls needed and saw it as an opportunity to push boundaries. Which again made it very difficult to ensure all children were engaged throughout the lesson.
Overall, we decided that the combination would not be a good idea to do again even though it worked well for one of the classes because it meant that one class had both behaviour management struggles and children who require additional support throughout the lesson.
This was a new class for me. These children are 9-10 years old. The lesson was based on a story of Meg who kept losing her belongings. The story helped children to learn about how to read words in italics, bold, underlined and exclamations. The class was very engaged and motivated to learn and understand and were very eager to ask questions related to the topic. One of the children was very weak in their reading skills and I think because the rest of the group were strong readers they struggled to keep up and there were in and out of the classroom trying to avoid doing reading or answering questions.
Thursday 28th March
Pet 3 –
Booking hotel accomodation and confirming your stay. Tonight the teens were working in groups to structure and write an email to a hotel to ask for availability of a room of their choosing. After this they swapped with another group to read and correct any mistakes. On swappign they also then had to wrok together to write a reply to the email from the hotel to notify them of availability. The teenagers worked really well together and were on task throughout the lesson. The only real difficulties they had was with pronounciation of Availability and Travelers. We spent time discussing this as a class to help with the pronounciation. After this we worked on writing a letter to confirm the hotel stay. We explored what we needed to write an effective letter and how letters need to be structured. For example- position of the address of sender, how to end the letter.
To end the class, I prepared a listening activity for the group to the song Shape of You by Ed Sheeran. I played the intro and asked if they recognised the song. They all cheered saying yes of course it is very popular here. So I told them I was going to test their listening skills with a fill in the blank game. I wrote out the lyrics to the song leaving blank various words so they had to listen very carefully to decide what was being sung. They found it a lot more difficult than they expected they told me because they forgot how quickly he sings. They did really well and when they came across blank spaces they didn’t know we had fun as a group re-listening and trying to decide what was said. I asked if they found it easier or harder than the last song.. and they said harder but that it was good. So I will need to find some more popular songs for them to fill in the blanks to at the end of their lessons.
Friday 29th March
Todays lesson was about visiting the post office and the bank. This listening was heavily based on listening activities, in which the children needed to listen to decide what the customer was asking for and whether they were in a post office or a bank. We also talked about the different things you can do in a post office in the UK or in Italy.
Saturday 30th March
This mornings topic was “At the hospital” and “What is the matter?”. We spent a lot of time discussing new vocabulary related to hospitals and DR’s and played matching up games afterwards with flashcards of photos and words. After completing the workbook tasks we played role play games taking turns in being the patient or DR or Pharmacist to ask for help with an illness or problem. For example- Can you help me, I have a sore throat? Yes, take this medicine twice a day…
The children enjoyed using the flashcards to create role play scenarios but I find that after an hour or so they tend to get distracted and try to go off topic either talking in Italian, trying to use their phones or trying to ask me questions off topic to avoid doing work. At times, I let them ask questions as long as it is in English but I have to think on my feet something they might enjoy to try and get them to re-engage in the topic.
Week 2 – To reflect upon my week, I feel that I have made good working relationships with the students I have seen again this week and that I am starting to see their different personalities and beginning to see their strengths and weaknesses.
This week I am really enjoying the lessons that involved comparing differences in Italy, UK and USA. I find that it sparks a good response in both the students and myself. I feel that as a natural interest I have it is easy for me to develop respect for the students in my class because they are able to give me a point of view and back it up with reasons. I feel that it is important to be able to do this in any working environment.
Tuesday 26th March – Italian Cooking Lesson
Our second italian cooking lesson today we made Pizza Di Scarola! It is a typical dish of this area and is not actually a pizza…
Ida teaches us entirely in Italian and today was hard work! She prints off the recipe for us to keep and take home to Scotland, but its in Italian and when we try to read along the instructions in the kitchen we take a while! Sydney told us that capers were a type of seafood (which I don’t eat) so Ida tried to tell us in Italian that it is not a seafood…. of which none of us understood and resulted in me adamently saying “I …. DO… NOT…. EAT…. SEAFOOD..” Ida found it hilarious us getting so confused… (I guess it’s funny now…)
Pizza di Scarola is basically a baked pie almost that is filled with fried lettuce, olives, capers and chillies.
Saturday 30th March – Salerno
We decided to go back to Salerno this weekend with Sydney’s friend to visit the city too! We decided to stay at the same B&B as last weekend as it was perfect for what we needed.
We spent our day off relaxing on the beach in the sunshine and trying to speak (in Italian) to locals who tried to ask us questions about where we were from and why we were in Salerno. It is still awkward when people ask us questions and we have no idea what they are trying to say, we all look at each other so confused. I think we are getting better though because we are picking up from words from the children at the school as well as in our lessons.
We decided to have an Aperitivo before tea. The Italians do not eat here until much later than back home. So, it’s certainly still an adjustment. When we went for pizza a table of women asked us if we were English and we started chatting to them (in a mixture of broken Italian and English) about what we are doing here in Italy. One of the women asked us to come and teach at her school in Salerno.
The next day we relaxed at the beach and went for a walk around the local market stalls along the harbour. There was lots of handmade lemoncello and chocolate and fudge and it all smelt so beautiful! At the end of all the market stalls there is a giant ferris wheel and little fairground area. In the area was a traditional puppet booth and there was a puppet show on! It was so lovely to see because I don’t think I have ever seen a live puppet show!
Sunday 31st March – Chinese food…. in Italy…
Daniela, Jana (her cousin) and her friend (and her daughter) took us to a Chinese restaurant outside of Scafati (a 35-minute drive) which is the closest place to get Chinese food to eat.
Last week we told Daniela that our favourite takeaway was Chinese food. So, she planned a trip for us to get Italian-Chinese food! It was so good to try the food as it was not what we were expecting at all. It is nothing like the chinese either of us have tried at home in Scotland. In the town we went for the food, there is a huge Chinese community and none of the staff spoke italian or english… only Chinese. The town is known for having such a large community of Chinese people and the people in the town do not send their children to Italian speaking primary schools but have their own schools in Chinese.