Escola Santa Teresa de Jesús, in Vilanova, has been in the Programa Auxiliars de Conversa since the beginning. They have hosted Conversation Assistants for five years now! This year, they are hosting Adam, who comes from Ireland.
Both Adam and her tutor have written to us to tell us what their experience with the program is like so far. Thank you, Adam and Roser!
Per cinquè any consecutiu, ha estat un plaer acollir un auxiliar de conversa a la nostra escola. Enguany tenim la sort de comptar amb l’Adam, que des del principi s’ha adaptat molt ràpid a la dinàmica de l’escola i s’ha integrat a la comunitat educativa com un més.
A més a més, ens ha acostat a la cultura irlandesa i ens ha fet partícips de les seves costums i tradicions, creant materials de presentació enfocats als alumnes.
Comparteix temps i espai tant amb alumnes de primària, secundària com de cicles formatius. És una persona polivalent, creativa i de fàcil adaptació.
Una de les activitats que destacaria és la realitzada amb els alumnes de 1er d’ESO. A classe estàvem treballant la interrogació, així que els alumnes es van posar a la pell d’un periodista i van preparar una entrevista per al nostre auxiliar, l’Adam. Molt amablement ell va contestar a totes dels preguntes dels 5 grups, que van enregistrar amb els seus mòbils per posteriorment transcriure’n el contingut. Als alumnes els va agradar molt aquesta activitat, ja que van poder palpar la utilitat real d’un contingut treballat a classe.
L’Adam també participa en activitats més lúdiques de l’escola, com el Carnaval, que ara estem preparant intensament, i altres sortides i excursions.
Estem molt contents de l’experiència viscuda fins ara, i continuem treballant amb il·lusió per tirar endavant aquest projecte comú.
I have only just finished moving house for the second half of my stay here in Vilanova i la Geltru, and I can’t believe how fast the first part has finished. Time really does fly when you’re having fun! I am working in a lovely school that is quite literally dead in the centre of the town (And the town is quite big!). Every week I have the opportunity to teach groups from First Primaria (6 Years old) right through to commerce and Administration students in cicles formatius preparing to enter the workforce. It’s certainly an eye-opener.
There are too many good things about Escola-Col.legi Santa Teresa to recount in a blog piece, but some of the highlights include the enduring popularity which many students afford to me as a Language Assistant, the ever-welcoming attitude of the teaching and administrative staff, as well as the occasional excursions we make to Places like Montserrat and the Nou Camp. On the latter of the three, the best of these has been the opportunity to work with a group of Sixth Primary students that represented the School on the Catalan TV English-Language game show “Fish & Chips”. It was a really great responsibility to be given. Of course we work on lots of other innovative English ideas with classes as well, such as collaborative writing with other Schools, and cultural presentations.
Other teachers treat me as an equal, and I’ve been able to participate in lots of really fun things, such as “Teachers Day”, the annual Christmas teachers dinner and a teachers night at the restaurant for the School Founder’s Saint’s Day. When I’m not helping students with their English, my colleagues are more than happy to help me with my Catalan. The same can be said for my host families, the last of whom also gave me an amazing introduction to their town. I now wave to people on the street like one of the locals!
Vilanova, like many towns in Catalonia, is opportunely placed for travelling to Spain for weekends, and I’ve already been to Madrid twice! People in the School community are never shy to share their tips for travel in and beyond the region! In an all-round manner, whether in Teaching, Language, Culture or travel, the programme has been a fantastic experience to date.
El Programa d’Auxiliars de Conversa és una proposta del Projecte Escola Multilingüe de la Fundació Escola Cristiana de Catalunya pensat perquè les escoles adscrites que així ho sol·licitin puguin disposar d’un o més joves estudiants, seleccionats per Home To Home, per a qui l’anglès o el francès és llengua materna i que, en el marc d’un conveni de cooperació educativa, i com a formació pràctica en el camp de la pedagogia, el magisteri i l’ensenyament-aprenentatge de la llengua anglesa o francesa, duguin a terme tasques d’assistència que donin suport a les activitats previstes en el projecte multilingüe del centre, 25 hores a la setmana, durant pràcticament tot el curs escolar (d’octubre a juny).
Un auxiliar de conversa pot col·laborar en les vostres activitats AICLE essent present a l’aula amb el professor, pot donar un cop de mà en treballs de grup, per parelles, preparació d’exposicions orals; pot augmentar la incidència en la llengua oral a través de petits diàlegs, jocs de taula, petites lectures; pot col·laborar en l’elaboració de materials, pot enregistrar textos, pot participar en les activitats musicals, teatrals, esportives… i pot estimular la competència comunicativa només amb la seva presència activa.
El vostre compromís consisteix en proporcionar a l’Auxiliar de Conversa allotjament i manutenció gratuïts en l’àmbit de famílies acollidores ( fins a un màxim de tres) vinculades amb l’escola, designar un tutor responsable de l’Auxiliar en el vostre centre, i satisfer una quantitat mensual per Auxiliar de Conversa.
Podeu conèixer més a fons tot el que suposa participar al Programa Auxiliars de Conversa a la Guia d’Escoles que volen participar al PAC.
Per sol·licitar un o més auxiliars de conversa, heu d’emplenar el full de sol·licitud, que podeu descarregar aquí. Les assignacions es faran per ordre de recepció de les sol·licituds, donant preferència a les escoles que repeteixen.
Consulteu l’apartat Informació per a escoles per consultar la resta de guies del programa (per a famílies acollidores, tutors…)
Per qualsevol dubte o consulta, també podeu adreçar-vos a email@example.com
Animeu-vos a sol·licitar-ho, i feu-ho abans del 30 de maig de 2014, que és la data límit!
Col·legi Dr. Masmitjà, an Infant and Primary school located in Girona, has been in the Programa Auxiliars de Conversa for five years. This year they are hosting Rebecca, a Conversation Assitant from California. She helps students from 3 to 11 years old improve their English language skills, and is also helping the 6th graders in the Schools Song Contest! Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Rebecca!
From the first day when I met my host family and tutor I knew I was going to have an amazing experience. I felt very at home from the beginning with my host family and have really enjoyed spending time with them experiencing what their life in Girona is like. I have spent some time at soccer and basketball games and at extended family’s homes for delicious meals as well. Whether I am teaching the children English, playing games with them, or talking with my host parents everything is funny and enjoyable. My positive feelings about living in Spain extend to my teaching experience as well. Everyone at the school has been very welcoming. All of the teachers have made an effort to make me feel very comfortable and supported and they were successful from day one. I love that I am able to work with everyone at the school, ranging from ages 3 to 11. All of my classes from P3 to 6th are delightful. I spend the most time with the students in 6th. I have also been lucky enough to be able to participate in activities outside of teaching English in the classroom. These include field trips and working on extra English projects, such as a song competition. I also teach English outside of the school, hang out with friends whenever possible, and am trying not to miss an opportunity to travel while here in Europe. I am busy as can be and am enjoying every minute of it. Experiencing the culture and getting to know people I have met while here has been a wonderful experience so far and I know it is only going to get better.
It is the third year that Escola Pia Moià takes part in FECC’s Conversation Assistants Program. Escola Pia Moià is an Infant and Primary school and this year they have Rachel, from the UK, helping the students improve their English. Rachel works with kids from three to twelve years old, and they really enjoy their time with her.
Thank you for writing to us and sending along some great photos too!
After graduating from Northumbria University I decided I wanted to be a teacher. As you all know PGCE’s are not the easiest to get onto and most universities are looking for committed and skilled experience. As well as this, I was happy to be out of education for the time being and maybe take a ‘gap year’. I wanted to travel and experience different cultures. When I first came across the CAPS program I immediately thought ‘yes this is perfect’ and I was correct. I didn’t just want to move abroad and work in a bar or a restaurant with loads of tourists, I wanted to immerse myself into the a different lifestyle. This program would not only fill my travelling ambition but also helped me gain the experience I needed.
I’ve been situated in a town called Moia, which is north of Barcelona. At first I was worried that I wouldn’t like the small town life style as I was so used to the big north cities of the UK, but I was wrong. Moia maybe a small town but it’s got lots of exciting stuff going on and the people make it so welcoming. I’ve been working at Escola Pia Moia primary school with children aged 3-12. Everyone at the school has greeted me well and made me feel very welcome. Living in a small town it’s hard not to see people you know everywhere and each time I do they always greet me with a smile or an “Hola”. I work along side the English teacher here at the school. We work together planning lessons and activities for the children covering the curriculum. Each class is very different and some may me challenging that others but it’s very rewarding when you see the children growing in their vocabulary of your language. The classes with the younger children are some of my favorites. They are constantly so excited to see you and always so enthusiastic to play the games and activities. It took me a while to learn all the children’s names but now I’m pretty sure I know them all (Although the pronunciation is a little dodgy with some). The time passes very quickly and I’m not just talking about the days, it’s hard to believe I’ve been here for four months already. I’m very much looking for to the next five. It will be a very sad day when I leave I’m sure.
Living with three host families is something I first thought would be a very enjoyable and easy to adapt to. It’s not until you live with the families (for me the first family are people who I cherish closely to me and I know we will remain very good friends) that you realise how easy it is to get comfortable and attached to a family. Leaving the first family for me was very difficult and even now I’m finding it hard to find myself as ease and at home again but of course this is all apart of the experience. When I first moved here I was very sure I was open with myself and to other people, I’m not a shy person but moving into a house with a family can at first be very daunting, but you can only make it a positive experience for everyone if you want to.
Something that has helped make my experience even more positive are the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made. I think it’s good for you to meet new people your age who share the same hobbies and interest. I’ve been lucky enough to have met some people from Moia who I’m sure will be friends after I leave.
All in all it’s been an EXPERIENCE! Which is what it’s all about. I love working at the school with the children but I also love coming home after school and relaxing and reflecting on the day’s events after all your only human and can’t work 24/7. For anyone interested in teaching and being involved in a different lifestyle than your own I think that this program is perfect for you.
Mare Janer was the first school in Andorra to join FECC’s Programa Auxiliars de Conversa. It is their second year hosting a Conversation Assistant. Just like last year, their CA, Chris, has felt very welcomed in Andorra and is helping Mare Janer’s students’ improve their English skills.
Thank you Chris and her tutor, Esther, for writing to us!
My name’s Chris and I am the second conversation assistant at Mare Janer in Santa Coloma, Andorra.
Mare Janer is a semi-subsidised Catholic school nestled comfortably at the bottom of a huge mountain face. That’s not saying much, however; almost everything in Andorra is nestled at the bottom of a huge mountain face.
One thing that strikes me about the school is, for the most part, how well the students are behaved. I cannot find a displayed list anywhere of the school rules, not on the walls or in the classrooms – all the students just seem to know what the rules are and how to behave. When there was one fight between two students, it was talked about throughout the entire school. I’ve come from a very different environment personally, so it’s a humbling experience that makes you think a lot about culture and upbringing.
The school itself has its own genuine forest; not a forest behind or next to the school, but as a part of the school grounds, where the children go to play at lunchtime. This is what I thought was the most wonderful aspect of the school – imagine the adventures you’d have every day growing up in a place like this. The forest is completely at my own disposal, so generally at lunchtime I will find a quiet spot to sit on a rock and do some drawing. Within minutes it’s no longer quiet as I’ll be surrounded by adorable screeching children asking me what I’m doing, and pointing at objects and demanding I say the Spanish word. I find speaking with the children in this way is the best way to learn and practise basic Spanish, and it helps them as they simultaneously practise their English.
One difficulty I’ve encountered is in attempting to refine the kids accents. Because for almost my whole working life I’ve been around mostly non-native English speakers, it actually sounds more natural to me to hear strong accents. And as I think accents are a wonderful, beautiful aspect of identity, it seems almost a shame to flatten it out, but of course it is a great aid to the students to practise from as young as possible.
The most astounding thing is to see the generosity and openness from each of the host families. They are taking a huge risk inviting a stranger into their homes, at a substantial financial expense too, while only asking that the assistant be with them and talk to them at dinner. They are the real people who keep the CAPS program together, and my host families will always hold a special place in my heart.
It is the 2nd year that Escola Pia Vilanova is hosting a Conversation Assistant. Adam decided to leave London enroll in the Conversation Assistant program, to live new experiences after taking a TEFL course. He is enjoying his time in Vilanova, with the school and his host family. Everyone is really happy to have him in the school too! Thank you for writing!
After living and working in London for 6 years as a restaurant manager in a very busy, fast paced environment, I was ready for a more relaxed, slower pace of life, but one with new experiences and challenges. During my time in London I made many good friends from Spain, many of which are from Catalonia and I have always remembered with great fondness my childhood holidays to the Spanish islands. So, a year ago I decided to give up my life in London and head for sunny Spain. I didn’t want to just go and work in a bar for the summer surrounded by English people, but immerse myself into Spanish life and become part of a community. I decided to take a TEFL course and look into teaching English. I came across the CAPS programme shortly after receiving my certificate and thought it looked like a fantastic experience. I wasn’t wrong.
I have been at Escola Pia in Vilanova I la Geltrú for 3 months now and each day has been different, challenging and rewarding. I work with 4 different English teachers and with students from 1st of Primary (age 6) all the way through to 2nd Batxillerat (age 17/18). All the students and staff; teachers, secretaries and kitchen staff alike have been more than welcoming. Not a single one passes on the corridor or on the street (it’s a small town) without saying hello, and the younger students are just as excited to see me three months in as they were during the first week.
Each class is different depending on the age group, but in general I can have as much or as little input as I like. I really enjoy my days in the school and everyday passes very quickly, just like the last three months. I can’t quite believe my time with my first host family is coming to an end.
I decided to stay here in Spain for Christmas and I’m glad I did. My host family was more than happy to have me and show me all the Catalan traditions. I soon move to my next host family and start the next term, which, I’m sure will fly by as quickly as the first.
All in all, so far, it’s been a very positive experience and it’s been a great way to introduce myself into life here. I have already made friends here in the town and have decided that I’m going to stay after the year has finished and find work in Vilanova.
FEDAC Santa Coloma has been in the PAC for four years. This year they’re hosting Roisin, a conversation assistant from Scotland. Both Roisin and her tutor, Verónica, have written to us and sent along some really nice photos! Thanks!
I applied for this program as I wanted adventure! I was not sure what to expect upon arriving and was very nervous meeting my tutor and host family but I quickly settled in and now I feel confident and at home. I work with 4–15 year olds, which is a very large spectrum but offers a wonderful variety of experiences. I teach the youngest classes during P.E., translating words such as “jump” or “ball”. In the rest of the classes I generally take small group of students to another room to practice speaking activities. We play games and do pairwork in two teams, rising in complexity with age or ability. This work is very flexible and I am allowed space to be creative or talk about subjects I feel important.
I also teach several private lessons during the week, again only speaking, where I talk to one or two pupils about various topics such as different accents or the environment and help them with schoolwork they are confused about. I was worried about working in a school as I had a bad experience in my previous teaching work but the staff and my tutor are extremely supportive and I am very impressed at the effort they have taken to make me feel at home.
I feel like I have made some real friends here. I am also staying with a family of four very close to the school and they have made me feel very welcome. We have dinner together every evening which often lasts for a couple of hours as the conversation continues well after the food is finished. The children are charming and funny and I help them with homework when they need me. Knowing minimal Spanish before I came, I was worried about awkward misunderstandings but there has been very little to speak of! I now know a lot more Spanish words (mostly to do with ordering coffee) and hope to continue to absorb the language and culture through “intercambio” and exploring the city. Barcelona is beautiful and I look forward to seeing more of it as a resident. All in all I am extremely glad that I took this chance and I am sure it will stand me in good stead for the future.
After reading this text, as Roisin’s tutor, I feel extremely good; it seems we are all doing a good task. I have to emphasize on the idea that she is really a very good conversation assistant, partner and even a friend. She tries to have a good relationship with all the staff and although her Spanish is already a basic one, she is able to communicate with everybody.
All the teachers feel also really comfortable with her and it is only for a term she is with us!!!!! So, we already have two more terms to go on enjoying the experience, having fun with her and improving our English Language as well.
As regards the children, they are also really happy about this chance of having Roisin among them.
We are Susan and Rosa from Voramar School in Barcelona.
I’m Rosa, Susan’s tutor this year. I’m one of the English teachers at secondary and I also do French classes and I’m in charge of the Language Seminary at my school. Since Susan’s arrival we’ve been working together in different things, and our students have been enjoying the activities she’s prepared so much.
What we like the most about Susan is her character and personality. She’s always very kind to everybody at school and even the teachers who had never spoken English before, feel like speaking to her!
Our first project together was HALLOWEEN. She was working with our students from 5th Primary to 4th ESO above all on the differences and things in common between our cultures on that day. Eventually, she decorated the hall of the school ( we leave you a few photos of it).
Susan decorated the school hall for Halloween
And now, Susan’s thoughts:
I’m Susan and I’ am enjoying my time here in Voramar school. I have felt very welcomed by all the students and teachers, everyone is very nice and they are helping me to learn some Spanish and Catalan. I love the students they are friendly and at times very funny! I like to learn about their culture and compare the differences and similarities’ between both are two countries. I tried my first Castanyes (conkers) and panellets which are eaten around Halloween time here in Barcelona and they are very tasty. I recently have been focusing on our traditions in the UK and USA for Halloween and how we celebrate it and why. I found that here they have a bigger lunch or (Dinar) than the UK which is also very tasty and I also found out that at Christmas or (Nadal) that here they have a log called Tió which they place presents inside of, then on Christmas morning children sing and hit it with a stick until the presents come out. I found this to be the most different of the traditions but also a very fun one.
Pamela is a Conversation Assistant at Escola Pia Balaguer. Her tutor, M. Àngels, has sent us a nice interview that the students of 6th grade, guided by their English teacher, prepared to get to know Pam a little better.
Click on the image or here to watch the interview!
Thank you, M. Àngels, Pam and 6th grade students for sharing this activity with us.
The very first blog submission for the Programa Auxiliars de Conversa 2013-2104 comes from Col·legi Sagrada Família, in Lleida. This year they are hosting Kelly-Anne, a Conversation assistant who comes from Liverpool.
Her tutor, Inma, has sent us a link to the school’s English Blog, where you can read a welcome message to Kelly-Anne and also see some photos of her in action! Click here to visit the blog.
Also, Kelly-Anne herself has written about how she’s feeling about this experience so far, and what she does at Sagrada Família with her students:
Hello my name is Kelly-Anne. I am a conversation assistant in Sagrada Familia School, Lleida. I studied Criminology at Liverpool John Moores University in England. After gaining my degree in Criminology I decided that I wanted to travel and work in another country, to achieve this goal I applied to be a conversation assistant with CAPs and Home to Home and before I knew it I was flying out to Spain.
I teach classes from first of primary to fourth of secondary. For the first week I observed classes, got to know the students, teachers and the school. After the first week I took more responsibility within the classroom.
With both the primary and secondaryr students I participate in activities with them, helping them with speaking, reading and writing. Furthermore, the classes are sometimes divided into groups in which I spend time with each group in another room, doing activities and helping them improve their English.
I enjoy teaching both primary and secondary students, the English teachers at Sagrada Familia; Inma, Ana, David, Blanca, Monica and Magda are fantastic to work with and I enjoy working alongside them.
In my time in Lleida I am living with three host families. The first family I am currently living with welcomed me into their home at the start of October, they were so welcoming and made me feel comfortable and at home, the parents have a good level of English and the communication between us is very good. In the family there is a son who is nine years old and a daughter who is twelve years old and I get on with them very well. I really have enjoyed my time with my first host family and it will be very sad to leave them in December.
So far my experience in Lleida and at Sagrada Familia School has been one of the best experiences of my life so far, the students, host family and teachers are all lovely and it has been a pleasure to meet them and it’s a blessing to be working with them. I am having the most amazing time here in Lleida and I don´t plan to go back to England any time soon!
Thanks a lot, Inma & Kelly-Anne!