viernes, 18 de diciembre de 2015

End of Year Meeting with my Travelling Aunts

I have named my students this year, the Travelling Aunts, since they have all come to me with the purpose of consolidating their English speaking skills for the sole purpose of travelling.  When I decided to hold a meeting with them only some of then had met before.  I did not know what to expect or how to prepare for this meetup.  I took some notes on an article about travelling and found a cozy place where we could have a cup of tea and a piece of cake.

The afternoon of our meeting was a typical December day in Santa Fe, 32 Degrees Celcius and 70 per cent humidity, so we ended up ordering lemonade with lots of mint and ginger.  The cakes were delicious but what I enjoyed best was the conversation that developed swiftly among people who had met for the first time, who shared a common interest: the awareness of the importance of learning English.  Some of my students had been touring different language schools looking for the right kind of class for them.  Others had been through difficult situations abroad where they needed to use English to solve a problem.  All of them shared their stories as language learners and users with enthusiasm and laughter.  By the end of the meeting they were talking as if they were old friends and they urged me to set up another meeting so that they could continue the conversation.

As for me, I forgot about the notes I had taken and I felt that my job had yelded great results this year in terms of engagement and confidence.  It also made me reflect on the value of  human contact and community building when we are learning languages.
A final thought.  As I was uploading the pictures I noticed the tag on the lemonade: "Hecho con Amor" = "Made with Love".  What an important ingredient in the teaching equation!

My Session Recording of FAAPI Conference, Cordoba, September 2015

Attending a conference is not only an investment of time and money.  For people who live far away from the place where the conference takes place, such as my dear friend and colleage Zoraida Risso Patrón, it also involves a 10 hours´drive from home to cover a distance of  over 1,000 km.
This year´s FAAPI host city was Córdoba and the venue was the Languages School of the 400 year old university of Córdoba.  For me this year, and for the first time in several years, the trip was only a short 5 hour trip from home and I decided to arrive a year before so that I could catch up with the cultural life of a city I had always wanted to visit managing my own itinerary.  I was thrilled to visit the renovated Museum of Fine Arts: Palacio FerreyraPaseo del Buen Pastor and the city´s several Jesuit churches.  I even attended a fashion show in a building that used to be a church!
The sessions I attended this year featured the usual tools and techniques for the busy teacher,  but also some  low tech ones such as the Kennis Look´s one on Speaking and Listening from the heart, which is an activity by which students take turns to listen and talk without interrupting each other in circles, council-like, which I found particularly appealing for my conversation classses.
As for my session, it was the first time I presented with a full house, with people sitting on the floor! I really hope the attendees found my session useful. I meant to share what I do to try to cope with the various levels, interests and scenarios I have taught this year and I did so in the hope that maybe there were some things that could save my dear colleages a bit of time in their busy schedules.
I am looking forward to next year Teachers of English of Argentina Conference, which will be held in San Juan city.
Below is the video recording of the session called: Web Content Curation:  An Inspiration Source for Busy Teachers. Hope you like it!