Author Archives: Jemma Thomas

Week 5 – Learning From Life

How is it possible that each week seems to be going faster and faster? I feel as though it must only be week two, but I have only one more week of teaching to go until I have to leave!

This week is Easter week here in Italy, so the schools are finishing for Easter holidays. To celebrate, the school is arranging English baking classes and craft sessions. This weeks diary will be more brief because most of the lessons are very similar in structure due to this.

Monday 15th April 

Eagles – Easter bunny crafts – the children were focussed on learning their Easter vocab and trying to create their easter bunny crafts.

Starters – Easter baking with the starters tonight. Before beginning, we discussed kitchen vocabulary such as: recipe, spoon, bowl, cooker. When we moved into the kitchen, the children were extremely excited to read out the recipe and collect the ingrediants. The cooking session went successfully and I feel that even though the children were really excited and speaking in Italian to one another to discuss what to do, my behaviour management of the lesson was good. 

 

Tuesday 16th April

First –  

Review of units 1-6. Tonight we worked on a review lesson of what the children have been covering over the past six weeks. I really enjoyed the lesson because I had taught them through majority of the lessons we were reviewing. It was good to see that they could remember key points on each of the units and how to use the information that had learned throughout the past weeks.

 

Wednesday 17th April

Eric – (Business)

This morning with Eric we were working on arranging business travel. We discussed the many reasons why business’ need to arrange travel. I feel that my one to one lessons with Eric are really developing my skills in thinking analytically about how I try to explain lessons.

Eagles – 

Tonight we were making Easter Rice Krispie Nests. We joined classes with the boys for the cooking and I felt that even though the behaviour of the children was excitable, having Lisa as well in the kitchen, helped us both to manage the health and safety and the teaching of the lesson well. 

Movers – 

Tonight, we made our easter crafts together and worked on our easter vocabulary and activities. The ability of the children in this class is very high and so they grasped a good understanding immediately. The children were interested in Easter in Scotland and asked numerous questions about what the traditions in Scotland are for easter. I do not usually teach theis class, although i have covered for their teacher in the past a few times. Everytime I have the pleasure of teaching these girls I remember why I want to be a teacher. Their attentiveness and enthusiasm to learning in general is inspriring to me and it really encourages me to push myself to be even more happy and enthusiastic to teach! 

 

Thursday 18th April

Pet 3 – 

Tonight with the class we were looking at Text Language. We explored the different ways and phrases used in text talk, including abbreviations. One of the activities that we did as a class was an IM (instant messaging) round robin with paper. I gave out pieces of paper for the children to write their own IM group conversations using what we had been looking at throughout the lesson. This was a good opportunity for me to assess which children were able to understand the lesson and those we were struggling to understand. I found that most the children had a really good grasp of the topic although one of the students struggled throughout the lesson. This activity gave me the opportunity to work with them one to one as the other children engaged with the activity.

At the end of the lesson I prepared another fill in the blanks to a song. We have done this before in this class and the children enjoyed the activity again which was nice to see. The children worked together to work out the missing words from listening to the song.

There was no listening activities during tonights lesson so it was good for them to get some practice in a different way by listening to a popular song.

 

 

Saturday 20th April 

Movers – 

Which one is different? – looking at comparing items and dicussing differences.

Guess who lives here?

Seeing differences – recognising differences

Todays lesson was based around different topics relating to finding comparisions and differences. These topics allowed the children to explore and discuss differences in objects and the world around them. The children were able to relate well to todays lesson.

I find that over the past few weeks this class has been challenging to work with because of the  lack of enthusiasm. Over the past five weeks I have been planning ways into each lesson related to each topic to draw on their excitment, for example: I have searched prior to lessons for youtube videos that are related to the lesson that will get them more interested and engaged in the topic. 

 

 

REFLECTION

I feel that I am learning from this experience deeply in ways I would never get to experience at home in Scotland. This opportunity to teach in Italy has opened my eyes to the experiences of ESL/EFL students in many ways. I can see first hand as well how exhausting it is to learn in an emmersive environment. When students enter the school everything is in English as much as possible, even down to asking to borrow a chair from another classroom or asking to go to the toilet. From the Italian lessons I have been so fortunate to have recieved here I know how hard your brain has to work all the time just to keep up!

When I (eventually) graduate and have my own class, I will never forget the experience I am having here if I ever have an ESL pupil, it is making me more aware of the way I speak and how fast I speak as well. It is also making me aware of the importance of using guestures to support understanding.

 

 

Culture!

Tuesday 16th April

Italian Cooking Lesson with Ida

Today we made Pastiera di Grano. A typical easter cake made around this area of Italy. I feel that I am really starting to understand the language that Ida uses during our cooking lessons now and that I am able to answer questions more confidently without confirming in English if what I think she asked or said is right. 

 

Week 4 – Learning From Life

Monday 8th April 

Eagles (pre-a1) –

Rooms of the house – the Kitchen.

Bingo, crossword activity, learning the vocab for the kitchen items on the whiteboard and from flashcards. matching games and labelling.

The behaviour at the start of the lesson was very good and the children were all engaged in learning the vocab and repeating the words. Although throughout the lesson they began to get tired and struggled to complete the tasks.

Starters (a1) – 

The starters tonight were learning animals through a story. The story was called, Who am I? As a starter activity I got the children to work together to name as many aniamls in english as they could on the whiteboard. This got the children really engaged and ready to read the story and complete the activities. We read the story together and looked at the comparisons of the animals in the story using words such as; bigger than, smaller than, a longer, a shorter, this animal has a …, this animal does not have….

The children were able to follow the tasks well throughout and at the end of the lesson they enjoyed playing an alphabet game together trying to name an animal in English for each letter of the alphabet.

Tuesday 9th April 

First (b2) –

Writing Reviews.

Learning about effective conjunctions for writing recommendations. We spoke about how some adverbs cannot be used alongside other words because they just would not make sense. For example: A wide resounding success. Utterly carefully edited. Completely quite good. I feel that working with these teenagers is helping my confidence build in teaching grammar lessons. I feel nervous teaching grammar because I find that it is difficult to explain, and sometimes feel I need to think about how I use my grammar as well, this class is pushing me out of my comfort zone to teach grammar to older students.

 

Wednesday 10th April 

Eric (Business)

Complete work on employment – reading the article and discussing high calibre staff. Moving on to Trade topic. How does globalisation effect trade and local cultures and businesses?

Eagles

Kitchen work

Tonight, we are recapping our work on the kitchen items. We are playing a spot the difference game, a game with instructions on what colour to colour in kitchen objects.

Thursday 11th April

Pet3 (B1)

Tonight the students are learning how to read and give instructions.

Writing instructions for how to use different machines they own for example- the washing machine, DVD player or TV box.

Only Alfredo tonight, so it was a one to one class, which allowed me to spend time getting to know him better and I found out that at the end of the year in June when he finishes Middle School before moving to High School he needs to do a presentation in English that covers all the subjects he has been studying. His topic is The Universe!  Alfredo worked really hard tonight and managed to write two pieces of work giving instructions to a friend. On how to use the washing machine and how they can use his computer.  His work was very good and only required a few changes in grammar which we discussed the importance of.

Friday 12th April

Ket A2

Today the class are working on the topic of ‘At the Airport’ (Your passport, please), the topic covers discussion and understanding on providing and asking for information, checking-in, going through immigration and the information desk. After this, they moved onto the topic of ‘At the Hotel’ which is their first unit in their writing section of the course. In this unit the class were learning ahow to fill in check in forms and write important information down that a hotel may require.

Saturday 13th April

Movers 

To start the lesson, we recapped the vocabulary we looked at last week to see what they could remember and if they were able to pronouce words correctly as well.

Todays lessons begins with the workbook in A trip to the city, which looks at comparing cities and villages and how they differ. For grammar and spelling we looked at when to use G or J.

Next we looked at The world around us.. Which links well to looking at the Where chapter we have previously looked at.  I find that this class struggle to stay on task for the duration of the lesson and so prior to the class I looked online for active activities to hold their interest and attention. Here are some of the activities I planned for the children;

Where am I game.. I created cards with places e.g. supermarket, hotel etc.  and the other person can ask questions in english to try and guess where the person is.

To engage the students today around the topic of the lesson, I asked them to create a fact file for a city they wanted to visit using as much information as they could find from the internet. For example: population, climate, language, things to do, how to get there, what to see etc.

Awards Ceremony

Tonight we had a certificate ceremony for the students who had sat exams in December. The students and their families were invited to the school to watch a Cambridge English video and receive their certificates and stay for cakes and drinks to celebrate afterwards. It was lovely to give certificates out to students that I have been working with the past month and seeing how proud their families were of their achievements.

 

REFLECTION 

Each week I feel that I am developing different skills that are important to me professionally and personally. I am developing my thinking skills in the Italian lessons I am having, which I think are starting to have an impact on my ability to speak and understand others speaking the language better.

I am becoming more assertive in my behaviour management with the classes as well because of the confidence I have developed in working with the same classes weekly now. This will be useful to me for my next placements in 3rd year at university as hopefully this will help me to feel more comfortable implementing thiese skills early on in the placement experiences.

CULTURE!!!

Monday 8th April

Cooking with Ida

Today we were learning how to make Gnocchi!!! Gnocchi is my favourite Italian food so this was the most exciting lesson yet for me! Gnocchi pomodoro e basilico. This has been my favourite cooking lesson yet although I really struggled with curling the pasta across the fork into the gnocchi shape!  

Sunday 14th April

Sorrento Overnight Visit

We took the circumvesuviana from Pompei ruins to Sorrento to explore another area of the south of Italy coast.  The town was smaller than we expected with less to do as well.  Luckily the weather was nice so we enjoyed walking around and seeing the art on the streets and the cobblestone paths.  The views of the coast are incredible, I have attached photos in the gallery above.

 

Week 3 – Learning from Life

 

Monday 1st April 

Eagles-

Continuing work on the house. We are moving on to the Living Room. Introducing the vocabulary of common living room items.  Tonight, me and lisa prepared the lesson for our classes, we printed off vocabulary sheets for the lesson on the Living Room to ensure that children could see the words written after we spoke them as well. The classes went back to the normal groupings and the behaviour of the children overall was a little bit better.

Starters – 

Tonight I was using the story of Kim’s Birthday – which I have previously done with the class in Pompei. The children seemed tired and bored at the beginning of the lesson so I decided to and get them more awake and excited to learn by introducing party games and objects from in the UK. So for example- I asked the children if they knew what a balloon was and then showed them I had balloons for us to blow up and tie for our class party for Kim. The children immediately showed full attention. After they blew up their balloon I asked if they knew what to say in English to someone if it was their birthday. After we talked about that we wrote on our balloons ‘Happy Birthday Kim!’ and threw them around the classroom. The children were in a better mindset now to read the story and complete the tasks which they did very well. Afterwards I explained how to play: musical chairs, musical statues and other party games in English. They really enjoyed getting to move around and play in the classroom and use the words they had been learning to play the games. With this class, I think I am making the most progress in developing a good professional relationship with the children. I feel that we are all opening up to one another and the children are getting a lot more comfortable around me in the classroom so that they are not embarressed to make mistakes.

Tuesday 2nd April 

First B2 –

Tonights lesson was on travel and writing home or documenting your travel experiences by letters, emails or blogs.  We discussed the use of differnet language in writing depending on who we are writing to. For example- colloquial language to your friends such as “Hey you guys”. The teenagers work in pairs to write a piece of travel writing to either a friend or family member. We also discussed Gap Years, which came up in some of the travel writing. They had not heard of the term or the concept of a gap year. After I explained i then asked the class if any of them would like to do a gap year at some point and only one of the students raised their hands. I was a little surpised because I think it is an extremely commmon thing in Scotland to either take or want to take a gap year, to work or travel or try something different. They were surprised when they asked if I had taken a gap year and when I told them that I did not want to go to University because I wanted to work so I didn’t go to university until everyone my age from school had graduated the year or so before. 

Wednesday 3rd April

Eric (Business) –

Today we were looking at Employment and the important aspects that employers look for in a potential employee. We discussed what was important and not as important when hiring for a business.

Eagles  – 

Tonight we worked on the Living room again and revised vocabulary of items found in the living room. Tonights class I only had three children which I found a lot easier to cope with in terms of providing the best support I could for the children who were struggling. Two of Lisa’s boys asked to come through to my classroom to get away from the noise of the others in their classroom. In Italy it doesn’t seem as though schools have the same behaviour management procedures in place that are so important in schools in Scotland, because of this, it is really hard to know what you should and should not do to try help children to behave in a way that will benefit their learning.

Thursday 4th April

Pet 3 – B1 –

Comparing life in the UK and USA.

Different case studies looking at the differences in home life and school life in the uk and usa and then we compared to life in italy and the different things we think of each of the countries and why we think that… I really enjoy working with the class because I feel that it is improving my self-confidence in working with teenage students. This is something that in the first few lessons I was apprehensive about and I now feel I am getting more confident and comfortable in lessons.

Friday 5th April

Ket A2 

I’m not feeling very well

Today we were learning new vocab about illnesses and problems, about hospitals and staff. I feel that I organised the lesson well and ensured there were plenty of engaging and fun activities for the children to work on between the essential work they need to compelte in their handbooks. One of the games we played used flash cards of the vocabulary that they were learning. I am glad I prepared myself for plenty of active games with this class because they were a lot more engaged than they usually are. I feel that this made the lesson more memorable and enjoyable for all. 

Saturday 6th April 

Movers A1

Where? There and then

We were learning about using the correct terms for giving directions. This movers class has a lower ability than my other Movers class and I feel that it has taken time to accept the difference between the classes and change the way I approach lessons with this class. The children have a lower level of understanding and so I now ensure that the children have more time to discuss the topics before trying to respond to questions and have discussions.

 

 

Culture!

 

Wednesday 3rd April

Cooking Lesson with Ida-

Today we cooked another traditional dish from this area, Salsiccia e friarielli! (Basically sausages and broccolli) It was a nice and easy dish to make and so for the rest of the time Ida gave us a lesson in Italian focussing on being in a restaurant or cafe. The lesson she gave was really useful for the types of things I usually try to say in the restuarants or cafes and now I feel more confident in speaking after having more practice.

 

Thursday 4th April

Anniversary Party-

We were invited to join Daniela’s parents 45th Wedding Anniversary Party. The party was at their family home and was a brilliant night involving singing and dancing and congratulating the couple! The food that Danielas mum prepared for her party was beautiful and there was so much that she had spent days prepraring before the night. 

Saturday 6th April

Vietri Sul Mare – 

We decided to go explore the first place along the Amalfi coast after lessons, called Vietri Sul Mare.

It was a beautiful seaside town overlooking the sea. We walked around and looked in the homemade ceramic art shops. It was a wonderful afternoon out in the sunshine relaxing, although when we went to get a train home, we were stranded at the train station because the trains had gone on strike and we didn’t know about it in advance.

Thankfully, we have such a caring boss here in Italy, and she drove all the way to Vietri to pick us up.. On a Saturday night.

Sunday 7th April

Pompei Ruins- 

We finally got round to visiting the biggest tourist attraction near us.. The Pompei ruins!!

The site was a lot bigger than I expected, and even though I knew it was a town that was wiped out by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius somehow, I didn’t quite understand the amount of people that were affected by the events in 79 AD

The ruins… for their age and for withstanding volcanic eruption are in incredible condition and you feel as though you have stepped back in time as you walk the cobbled streets. The whole experience was so enjoyable until halfway around the site when inside of the well-preserved homes was glass case containing a preserved body of a victim of the eruption. Of course, I knew many many people were killed in a horrific way in this site but until seeing that first body solidified in time, I didn’t really take in the enormity of the effect Vesuvius had on the beautiful town. After this, I also saw a dog, small child and man holding his baby further around the site. It felt emotional walking around and considering what everyone must have thought on the day that this happened.

Kebabs!

As soon as arriving here in Italy, I have felt extremely welcomed by Daniela (our boss) and her whole family! Last week we talked about what foods we liked eating at home and one of the things mentioned by someone was Kebabs.. We spoke about the differences and how in Scotland they are usually very greasy and not very appealing to most people. Daniela suggested getting a kebab takeaway from an Arabic shop she knew of. So after our Pompei experience we all went to get a kebab for each of us and her family.

We ate together at Daniela’s parents house and afterwards her mum tried to keep feeding us with food she had made throughout the day, fruit and Italian style artichokes.

Week 2 – Learning From Life

Monday 25th March

Eagles

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.

Starters (A1)

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

First –

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.

ERIC (Business)

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.

Eagles

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.

Movers – 

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

Ket – 

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

Movers –

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.

 

REFLECTION

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.

 

Culture!! 

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.

Benvenuto in Italia!! Week 1 – Learning From Life

Hello!!

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

 

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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 

Movers (A1)

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

Eagles (PRE-A1)

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.

Starters (A1) 

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 

Meeting 

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.

First (B2)

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 

Eric (BUSINESS)

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.

Eagles

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  

Puppies (POMPEII)

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.

Starters (POMPEII)

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 

Movers (A1)

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.  

 

REFLECTION

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.

 

 

 

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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!

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CULTURAL EXPERIENCES! – Week 1 

Italian Lessons

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).  

 

 

 

Arrivederci… ⭐

 

 

 

 

Resource Allocation task – Values: Self, Society and the Professions

To consolidate our learning from a lecture in values on racism, was a task on resource allocation. We were each in groups and given the task of creating something for new students at the university that they would find helpful. Each group was given a large envelope with materials inside to help make this product. Each group had different materials, the first two groups had the most materials and the last groups had very little materials and resources.

We were all given the same amount of time to come up with ideas of what we wanted to make with our resources. Quickly the bottom groups saw they had less materials and felt annoyed at this. The top group didn’t notice there was any differences. When we were asked to present our ideas before we made the product the top group explained how they would use most of the resources they were given and each lowest group explained how they would best use the materials they were given.

Everyone was left to make the product as they explained. I was in a bottom group and the general feeling was that we were annoyed that we had less to work with but knew that our ideas were still great with the resources we were given to use. The product we were making would be just as useful to the new students as the ones made in the other groups.

Obviously, because the workshop was on the values and we had been learning about how people were treated differently and how society pins people into different rankings. We knew this was an exercise to see how people would feel or react. When presenting the products the first groups got the most attention and praise and feedback from Derek and the last didn’t get any at all and he spent time on his phone acting disinterested. I presented our idea knowing this, but knew that showing that I was aware or affected would only prove a point – similar to how less fortunate citizens of society feel when they are always given the lower hand. I also know that it can be boring listening to group after group presenting so presenting last can mean you don’t have the interest of the class at all.

To me it’s important to not let these things affect how you act. I believe society has never had a meritocracy – regardless of how people in the higher classes may think. I know that people that do not have the resources that others do, have to work harder to be noticed or prove that their point is as good or better, than those who are ahead of them due to their power or status – or parents power/status.

When the class evaluated how the groups felt, the top group said they had no idea that was happening throughout the task. The bottom groups were well aware. It shows very clearly that the people in the higher class or with more power/status are often oblivious that the struggles that the people below them face. The task was an interesting way to see how society functions.

I have included a picture I have found that, to me, describes meritocracy in our society.

 

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