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Col·legi Sant Vicenç – Sant Vicenç dels Horts

Luke Brennan, converstional assistant at Col·legi Sant Vicenç, and his tutor Maite, wrote us this great e-mail about Luke’s experience in the school, what he does with the kids and how his presence is helping improve everyone’s English! Col·legi Sant Vicenç is a primary school, so reading this can help other schools get new ideas about what their conversational assistant can do in English lessons with kids from 3 to 11 years old.

Thank you, Luke and Maite!


Luke Brennan, conversacional assistant at Col•legi Sant Vicenç in Sant Vicenç del Horts, is writing about his experience in the school and with his host family and how his spanish is improving day by day.

All the teachers and the students in the school feel very happy with Luke because he’s helping us in the English language classroom. The students are so motivated to speak with him in English. Some of them are making an effort to improve their english.

We all think this is a great experience for all of us!!


My name is Luke; I’m working as a Conversation Assistant in Col.legi Sant Vicenç, in the town of Sant Vicenç dels Horts, just outside Barcelona.

I arrived in Barcelona 8 November 2010, and I was met by the family with which I’d be staying and the tutor from my assigned school, Maite. I was greeted with the traditional kiss on each cheek, and was immediately made feel welcome, before being taken back to the house.

I have basically been adopted into the family as one of their own, and they have been incredibly hospitable and friendly. It is a little strange when you first start living with a new family, especially when you speak no Spanish or Catalan, which was the case with me when I first arrived. The family speak varying levels of English though, and this has aided communication greatly. Meanwhile, I’ve been learning Spanish, and the odd word in Catalan, and it’s getting easier and easier to talk with the family and with various other people that I’ve met. I’m still somewhat shy about using Spanish, and so, mostly resort to English when talking to the teachers in school, but I’m trying to use a little Spanish with them now too. The experience really does improve as time goes by.

As for the actual work in the school, it has been very rewarding. Col.legi Sant Vicenç is a primary school, and I work with children from as young as 3 up to 11. The children were exceedingly enthusiastic when I first arrived, and the enthusiasm has yet to lapse much. The levels of English differ drastically between the different years, but they are all willing to try and are eager to learn, which is good for me. It is definitely easier to work with the older children though, as they understand that bit more and it allows from more varied activities.

The activities that I do and my level of involvement in the class depends on the age of the students. With the youngest students, those in P-3, P-4 and P-5, I mostly just read them an English children’s story, such as Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, etc. In other classes, I assist the teachers with activities and games, and help the students with their exercises and with pronunciation. The children also like ot try help me with my Spanish, which is always welcome.

However, the main work that I do is with the older students, in 5th and 6th class. With these classes I take small groups of 4 or 5 aside for conversation practice. For these groups I usaully have an exercise or game to do with the students, which provides a good for the conversation practice. The students are usually very enthusiastic, and have a near ceaseless supply of questions about my likes and dislikes, so it’s rarely quiet in these groups.

The other teachers have all been very friendly towards me, and they have been very helpful, especially my tutor, who gives me many ideas for things to do with the students, and supplies me with the exercises and activities I use in the conversation groups. With such support, this experience has never proven too difficult. It really has been a very rewarding time so far, and I look forward to the coming months.

Luke Brennan

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