So proud

Today three groups of my students from Terminale STI2D came along to one of my training courses to present in English their final year projects to those present. I was truly astounded at how good tehy were and how well they did it. Even R, a student who doesn’t always want to go along with what is being done in class was a star. And quiet, retiring W was full of explanations in clear and comprehensible English. A was totally at ease, drawing us diagrams on the board and explaining at the same time. I was so proud of what they achieved today and I hope they realize how much I respect their attitude.

The aim of inviting them was to give a starting point to our training. All too often, we get bogged down in the theory and forget the kids who should be at the heart of everything. By starting off with the kids, we gave the afternoon a direction that it would have been hard to achieve without them. It also showed what I firmly believe – my students have a better level in English than we give them credit for. Give them a bit of leeway and off they will go – but in the most positive way possible, as they proved today.

The teachers said that they admired their ease, how comfortable they were with the language and how motivated they seemed by their projects. I would agree with that. Hats off to my colleagues who run the projects, who dream them up and who put it all in place. And hats off to the pupils in question. A second group next week – let’s hope they will do as good a job as those today.

hats off

Back to reality …

From this … 2014-02-05 18.04.46

to this …

2014-02-09 16.45.00

with the boiler on the blink, so a chilly house to welcome me back to. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my life in my damp Normandy countryside, but what a pleasure to be sent to a warm, sunny place where people are leading such different lives and to meet lots of new and interesting challenges.

To the trainees on my course this week, welcome to my blog.

To the new people I met from Nouakchott, Mauritania, I hope to see your flag featuring often on the stats page here and I will think of you each time in your “sandpit”, as you call it.

Dakar is a place full of contradictions and lots of stuff I don’t understand even after six visits, but I have brought home with me so many memories and in particular, the memories of those ten-year old kids at the Dial Diop school, reading stories with me in English and their thousands of questions about England. Pure sunshine.

Now back to reality, and back to work. I have to try to remember where I left off just a week ago but it feels like three centuries ago.

I’m walking on sunshine

For the next week, I am going to be enjoying the immense privilege of working on a training mission in Senegal. It is a joy to go out and work with such enthusiastic and sincere people. I learn as much, if not more, than I teach, each time I go. I am updating my Dakar training pages as I go. My mission this time around is to work on Listening skills, using authentic recordings and to this end, I have created on this blog a Listening data base of A1 and A2 level documents.  I also am going to be working on oral skills in general, teaching through pairwork and other interactive activities. My third objective for my three day course is to wokr on CLIL, the teaching of another subject through English. I have seen this area grow in Dakar over my time there and we are now starting to really go places with it.

Working in the sunshine, with the clear blue skies and guaranteed warmth on my bones makes me feel injected with energy and wanting to grab life to the full. Staying in a hotel that overlooks the ocean, with a beach to stroll on and a pool to take a dip after a day at work, who would say no to that ? Certainly not me. These are what I call working conditions !!