Monday, 16 July 2012

"C'etait tres bien!": Teaching at Solent School

by Nathaniel Charles


1. Our Visit to the Solent School

On Friday the 24th of May, Al Harding, Louisa Dassow, Katherine Tobin, Izzy Stark, Dillon Hoddle and I were standing at the school arch waiting for our taxis to the Solent School with a vague feeling of trepidation. Soon, however, the taxis arrived and we had a fifteen-minute taxi ride, during which Mr Crenel talked in astounding depth with the taxi driver about Pompey’s future prospects.

We arrived at the school and had five minutes to do some last-minute revision of our roles and then we began the lesson. Any worries we had were soon sent packing by our pupils’ obvious enthusiasm and willingness to learn. We were teaching the rooms of the house and relatives, using a PowerPoint that Mr Crenel had made. We began by laying down basic vocab but moved onto memory games run by Katherine and Izzy with me acting as their not-so-glamorous assistant. Dillon and Al were in charge of a game that involved teaching directions, after which we went into the school’s wonderful gardens for a five-minute break.

We then went back to our groups and did some group-discussion work on our pupils’ homes; by the end of the session, we had all grown fiercely loyal towards our groups. However soon it was time to head back for PGS in time for period 4.

We all hugely enjoyed the experience and the taxi ride home was filled with enthusiastic chatter about how fantastic it had been and how much we would miss our groups. Izzy summed it up the best, though, with “C’etait tres bien!” 
2. The Solent Schools trip to PGS:

On a Friday afternoon in June, a group of students from The Solent School visited PGS to be taught French and Spanish by Sarah Markus, Isabel Stark, Ella Beard, Mr Gamble, Mr Crenel and me in our language labs.

We split the students into two groups, which would rotate between French (run by Mr Gamble, Izzy and me) and Spanish (run by Mr Crenel, Sarah and Ella). In the French session, we taught the students about French food and the accompanying vocab. Mr Gamble was incredibly enthusiastic about French patisserie and, when this was combined with the students’ talent and willingness to learn, fast progress was made. The second group was quieter but were equally keen to learn and soon ‘brioche’ was being shouted out with abandon.

After an hour in the language labs, all the students were gathered in room 2024, where we served Orangina, brioche, orange juice and pungent French cheese (called ‘English Foot’!), all to the delight of the students, who were ordering in French with aplomb and in authentic French accents.

We all really enjoyed the afternoon and the Solent School students returned to their coach with stomachs full with brioche and minds laden with the French language. All those who participated in the trips would like to thank Mr Crenel for organising the events and for providing these opportunities to learn (for students from both schools).   

Merci Beaucoup et Au Revoir!

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