2014/2015. Posted by Barbara W.
Originally signing up for the Language Assistant Program, I didn’t know what to expect. I majored in Anthropology, and minored in Graphic Design, and now I teach English in Spain!? Where do the two connect? To begin with, living in Bilbao, Spain is an anthropological lesson everyday. There is a strong merging of cultures, where Basque, Spanish, and English all collide into one. Working at San Pedro Apostol, a trilingual school, I hear three different languages everyday walking through the halls. One of the best things about my school, are the endless opportunities to be creative in the classroom. This is where my Graphic Design skills become important. Studying art, I love creativity and expression. I don’t believe it’s possible to only learn a language from a book; it needs to be also experienced.
At San Pedro Apostile, they believe the same thing. Most of my classes are “Drama” classes instead of “English” classes. During these lessons I play drama games, prepare scripts to read, or practice plays to showcase at the end of the year. Below is an example of a program I prepared to teach the kids about directions.
Time: 1.5 hours (including set up)
- An empty space
- Tape, string, or chalk (something to make clear lines with)
- A blindfold
- Optional: printed off directions explaining “turn left, turn right, go forward…”
Set up: 30 – 40 minutes. Mark the boundaries of the maze, and the walls of the maze including turns, dead-ends, and a clear path through.
Directions: Have the students walk into the room, and see if they know what the word “maze” is. Go over the direction vocabulary, using yourself as the example, and see if as a class they can direct you through the maze.
Next, ask the students to pair up. With Student 1 on the sidelines, and Student 2 blindfolded, have Student 1 give directions such as “go forward, turn left, stop, turn right.” The catch is however, if Student 2 touches the sides of the maze, then they’re out!
I did this in a one hour class period, and each pair was able to go twice. When not trying to complete the maze the other kids watched, and found it hilarious as their peers tried to make their way blindfolded.
Suggestions: I let my younger kids hold the paper with the directions since it was their first time learning it, but my older kids had to give directions from memory. I also gave my younger students two chances, while my older ones had one chance each to make it through. I would recommend marking the floor with the names of the students to see how far each group made it, if there is a reward at the end!