Over the course of the year, our CAS group challenged ourselves by embarking on an EAL activity to teach members of the Estates Staff basic English phrases or words. EAL stands for English as a Second Language and plays a huge part here at MCM. The interaction between the members of the Estate Staff, pupils and beaks is essential to maintain the common order of affairs at school. However, through this activity it also allows us, as pupils of the school, to engage in conversation with the Estate staff and for me this was one of the highlights of the activity.
The estates staff had varying levels of English skills. Some already had an acute understanding of the English language, whereas others had difficulty with the alphabet. This made lesson planning difficult, because the content had to be easy enough for the less experienced students but still sufficiently challenging for the experienced staff, and presented in a manner which matched this.
We set about upon teaching the members of staff, through different topics and also different styles of teaching. We tried to be as interactive as possible, engaging even the less experienced members of staff through quizzes, music videos and competitions. Progress and confidence initially were minimal, however as the term progressed and our style of teaching developed, the staff above all became more confident in involving themselves in answering questions and interacting in discussion. A picture can paint a thousand words; the facial expression of the staff on leaving the classroom, told us all that we needed to know.
The activity was extremely enriching and watching the development of the staff’s language was truly rewarding. The activity challenged many of us with difficulties, which we needed to overcome, the most significant being the language barrier, however as a group we were all capable of overcoming such challenge and thus enabling us to communicate more fluently and easily with the staff.
This activity has now been opened to the rest of the College to participate in during Friday afternoon activities.
By Morgan Davies