ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA – native speaker
in ZSP Brzeźnica
On September 25-27, 2022, in our school, we had the opportunity to host a native speaker from the USA. A 25-year-old Wisconsin resident, Mike Carini, is a graduate of history. He has also experience in working with children and youngsters, which he showed during two intensive days at the ZSP in Brzeźnica.
On Monday and Tuesday, he visited all classes 4-8, introducing the students to the history and culture of the United States. Thanks to these classes, they not only learned something new about the USA, but also tested their listening and communication skills in English.
These types of initiatives are invaluable n teaching a foreign language - they not only break the school routine, but also positively motivate people to learn languages, showing their value not as a subject at school, but also as a practical skill useful in everyday life.
Ukrainian participants in Gierłoż
From 25th June to 2nd July 30 youngsters from Ukraine participated in a language camp OSA WEEK organised by OSA ET (Ogólnopolskie Stowarzyszenie Anglistów English Teaching).
An 8-grader from Zespół Szkolno – Przedszkolny in Brzeźnica, Sofija Bibik took part in this educational event. Together with the other 30 Ukrainian participants she relaxed in Mazuria Lake District and learnt English (and Polish) at the same time.
Participants from Ukraine were full-fledged campers, and the stay of PLN 1,700 was 100% financed by sponsors: the Polish-American Freedom Foundation and the Nidzica Development Foundation NIDA, and the entire project was coordinated by the National Association of English Teachers OSA ET.
The attractions awaiting for the participants were, among others, workshops in English led by volunteers from Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe, Ukraine and the Philippines. There were two-hour language classes every day in the morning. Ukrainian students, together with Polish participants of the camp, improved their competences in the field of communicating in English. Due to the holiday season, these were not activities that they deal with on a daily basis in school but non-formal education which included sightseeing, sports activities, and, above all, integration in its broadest meaning. Young Staff, i.e. former participants of the camps, currently volunteers who help and support the teachers in the case of communication problems (especially among younger age groups), also organised physical activities in Polish. In the afternoons, the campers visited the surrounding historical places (including the Wolf's Lair or the Open Air Aviation Museum), took part in the show and then in the illusion workshops, were guests at the Komtur's estate in Woźnice, and participated in the Water Sports Day. In the evenings, as part of the integration, all participants had discos, a talent show, spinning cotton candy and tasting liquid chocolate with fruit. Stress Relief and Trauma Therapy workshops were also waiting for everyone in need. On a special invitation, Ms Katia Pankiv came to Gierłoż, who was not only a psychologist of the Ukrainian group, but also a tutor. Her help turned out to be invaluable, especially since the participants were more or less touched by the war and, unfortunately, there were also war orphans. The Polish Association of English Teachers ET thanks the sponsors and participants
for being able to help Ukraine in such difficult war times.
This huge project was supervised by the management staff and educators who are members of the Polish Society of English Students OSA ET: Danuta Kamińska-president, Dorota Sokołowska-manager, tutors and educator: Agnieszka Kowalska, Edyta Kłeczek, Ewa Sznajder, Piotr Sznajder and Michał Gleb. We would like to thank everyone involved in this noble project, and in particular the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, our sponsor, thanks to whose support it could be brought about.
TO BEE OR NOT TO BEE
16-19 August 2022 - the first part of the workshop for English teachers in Oslo financed by Norwegian funds, the Polish operator of which is the NIDA Foundation (English Teaching Program) cooperating with the Norwegian NGO ByBi.
The two-day workshop was attended by 25 English teachers who are also coordinators of school projects financed with the Small Grants of the English Teaching Program. Most of the ladies already have a lot of experience in realising language projects financed by the Program, but this year a new component has been added - bees, hence additional training at ByBi's headquarters in Oslo, in an institution that has been working since 2012 to increase knowledge and awareness of the importance of bees in the functioning of ecosystems inhabited by humans.
The first day of the workshop began with a two-hour presentation of the topic in the center of ByBi - ByKuben. Ane Johnsen, on behalf of the organization Organic Norway (dealing with the project of school gardens) introduced the Polish participants to the topic, providing general information on the importance of bees and their breeding, honey plants, as well as the specific conditions for establishing school gardens. During this presentation, we also learned what the "bee highway" through Oslo is. The rest of the day was devoted to field activities - we saw three places (Geitmyra, Gartenriet and Overland) where schoolchildren can not only learn how food is produced, but also actively participate in its production at every stage of the work. For them, it is both breaking the school routine and learning through action, which is known to be the most effective teaching method. There is also an apiary in Gartenriet, which we had the opportunity to visit (dressed in appropriate safety outfits and instructed on how to behave).
We started the second day of the workshop with a short trip to the community garden in Losᴁter. There we were shown by the garden manager Andrew, and the volunteer Clara told us about her work
with the disabled and the use of therapeutic horticulture activities in it. During the course, the participants not only plant and care for plants, but also harvest, dry and process them into food products. We spent the rest of the time on theoretical classes in the ByKuben center. We tried to summarize what we have seen so far and consider what and how we could implement in our schools.
These two days of workshops, although extremely intense, will certainly result in many interesting pedagogical innovations in our schools.
After all, people learn best through participation and experience, and the emotions and questions that accompany them. Travel educates, and trainings and workshops with the use of field activities, practical exercises involving both the mind and the body remain in the memory for a long time.
Confucius' motto can be applied to teachers and students as well: "Tell me and I will forget, show me and I will remember, let me do and I will understand."
ENGLISH LESSONS IN A STEAM LAB
3 D printer with accessories, edu-robots, video camera, microphones, laptops
and VR goggles are the examples of high-tech equipment that the students of
ZSP in Brzeźnica can use to improve their English language skills.
Our school got almost 96 600,00 PLN from the government programme "The Laboratories of the Future" to buy a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) lab equipment.
Since the lab started and was available for the students, they have been learning English there with the use of the computers, robots and other devices. Each student has an access to a computer what facilitates their individual work with digital tools such as Genial.ly, Blooket, Wordwall, Quizlet, Liveworksheets or Testportal but also Google Tools. Students use some of these tools to create their own theme presentations (Genial.ly, Google Tools), Blooket, Wordwall or Quizlet help to learn vocabulary
in an active way, and the other tools like Liveworksheets, Testportal check the students' knowledge with an immediate feedback on their progress. VR goggles are a special device in English learning - whatever pupils do, they learn English as almost all the educational materials, available in virtual reality, are in English.