Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Field Trips, Social Opportunities, Etc.

by AJ

The field trip to the retirement home went well. The students decided to conduct a dance class with the seniors. One of my students is a professional dancer, so she was chosen to teach the class. Other students planned to join in and help.

Unfortunately, my students overestimated the physical abilities of the residents. None of them felt comfortable standing up to do exercise. They sat in their chairs and we couldnt get them out of them.

But my student (the dancer) adapted quickly. She gave a waltz demonstration... taught me in front of the class (a humorous sight). She then shifted and led a chair exercise class with the seniors. Finally, we watched a chair exercise video with them.

After the visit, my class discussed what went well and what didnt... and discussed what they would do differently next time (mainly, do an activity that can be done sitting down).

While things didnt go exactly as planned, the students said it was a meaningful visit.... and the seniors seem to enjoy meeting them.

The next trip Im working on is a trip to a Vet clinic. What Id love to do is first interview the Vet in front of my class. Id use the “Actor’s Studio” format-- a one on one interview between me and the Vet using normal English (ie. full speed, slang, etc.). Id videotape this interview. After the interview, students would have a Q&A with her.

Next day, Id show the video bit by bit, working through it to teach vocab, discuss interesting points, etc. Then we’d read some articles about cats (its a cat only clinic). And finally we’d visit her animal hospital for a tour.

Ive already contacted the clinic a couple of times, and am waiting to hear back from them.

On the social front, Ive been asked to be the school’s “social planner”.... so now Ive been turned loose to develop social activities. Fun. There’s so much potential in this area, hopefully I can run with it. My first task is to create a school soccer club. Im crap at soccer, but we’ve got a few South American students who play, so hopefully they’ll take over!

Finally, our school has instituted three times a week movie showings. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons one of our teachers is showing films, serving popcorn, and then holding an informal discussion. Its a great idea, a great way to encourage social gatherings-- and good listening/speaking practice too.

Finally, I visited one of our rival schools in SF to check out what they are doing. The thing that caught my eye was that they are offering business internships for their business English students. This is a great idea, one we can copy and modify.

Our school doesnt focus on business, but volunteer internships would be possible. Id love to partner with a variety of local non-profits to give students the opportunity to do volunteer work in a field they were interested in. From past social work jobs, I know this sort of program takes time to create... but its one of my long term goals.