Presentation on theme: "My English Language Assistant Experience Mhairi Ross talks about her experiences as a language assistant in a primary school in the academie of Besancon."— Presentation transcript:
My English Language Assistant Experience Mhairi Ross talks about her experiences as a language assistant in a primary school in the academie of Besancon. Why did you choose to be a Language Assistant with the British Council? I chose to be a Language Assistant because I relished the challenge of mixing with professionals abroad and getting the opportunity to experience teaching in a foreign country. I also liked how well connected the British Council was to the French authorities and I felt as if it was very well organised. What type of school or institution were you teaching at? I taught in 2 primary schools and also had the opportunity to help in a nursery. Who did you teach? I taught 5-12 year olds 4 days each week and occasional nursery classes. What did your teaching involve on a day-to-day basis? In some classes I acted as an assistant to the teacher, helping class activities and running oral exercises. Since it was primary aged children, we usually played games and sang songs tailored towards each exercise we were doing. In the nursery classes I taught the children basic songs and counting skills. In other classes where teachers had never had a language assistant or did not feel confident teaching English, the teacher sat at the back of the room and allowed me to lead classes. If the children got over-excited playing the games we switched to basic writing or quiet activities. What has been the most enjoyable teaching experience? My most enjoyable teaching experience was on one particular day when I took a class of 12 year olds outside to practise saying the time in English via the Whats the Time Mr Wolf game. The children took to it very well and were so pleased they had learned a British game. Whats more, it proved an invaluable experience for the children whod struggled with the time exercises in class. After the game, Id found that even the children whod struggled really picked up saying the time and soon caught up with the others in the class! How have you integrated with the local community and experienced the culture? I was very lucky because it turned out my landlady, who was retired, had actually been one of the mentors for assistants in previous years. Therefore she knew exactly what kind of position I was in and did not hesitate in introducing me to local people. The town I was in was also quite small so it was fairly easy to meet people. I shopped regularly so got to know many of the staff in the local shops and often went to the local bar with the other assistants and young French people wed met. We were also regularly invited to arts events and dinner with my landlady and her husband, who offered to drive us to the surrounding villages so we could get a better view of the region. NAME: Mhairi Ross DEGREE: French at the University of Glasgow TEACHING LOCATION: Audincourt, Besançon, France
My English Language Assistant Experience Do you feel that your language skills have improved? If yes, why and what ways would you recommend to others? I feel that my language skills now are a world away from what they were before Id gone to France. Meeting French people on a daily basis, working with them and even just watching French tv teaches you so many words you never thought youd need to know. It also encourages you to talk to local people (you have to if youre in a small town where they dont speak much English). Even if this seems daunting, you pick it up so quickly and before you know it youve just said a sentence you werent even aware you knew how to say! Get listening, and the speaking will follow on naturally. Have you taken part in activities which you wouldnt normally have done? Definitely. I went to an art exhibition even though Im not a great fan of art. I also went to an English play that was touring. I dont really like theatre or art however I wanted to meet new people. Much to my surprise I made friends with a few people and also started to enjoy the events that I never used to! Sometimes you have to talk yourself into doing things you dont like and force yourself to talk to people. Its all very worthwhile afterwards! If you were to recommend the British Council Language Assistants Programme to someone else what would you say? Id say that the British Council Language Assistants Programme is fantastically organised and all the hard work is done for you. All you have to do is fill out the form and send it off. The receiving parties in France are also extremely helpful and with all the hints, tips, resources and contact details we were given I never felt alone or that I couldnt get help if I needed it. What advice would you give future assistants? I would say if you do anything, do everything! It really is the best way to meet people. Talk to other assistants before you go and stay in touch while youre away. If you know others in the same region contact them. Its great to know theres someone nearby who knows what youre going through. Above all, enjoy yourself. It really will be the best thing you ever did, even if it feels in the first week that its the worst. Mingle, make friends and do things out of your comfort zone. Youll come home a more confident person with wider horizons and an amazing foreign language skill! If you go to France, dont be scared to be forward. French people dont do hints! If you want something, ask for it. Theyll be more than happy to help you It really will be the best thing you ever did, even if it feels in the first week that its the worst. Mingle, make friends and do things out of your comfort zone. Youll come home a more confident person with wider horizons and an amazing foreign language skill!
My English Language Assistant Experience What is the most important or most valuable result the experience has given you? First and foremost it would have to be my language abilities. On a few occasions I actually had French people not noticing I was Scottish while I was talking to them, so that made me realise how much Id improved in 7 short months. On a more personal level my confidence has vastly improved. Im no longer afraid to talk to people I dont know well or to ask for help when I need it. These skills are invaluable both at university and in the world of work. Any other comments/experiences you want to share? Many assistants are afraid of leaving their friends and family behind when they go abroad. The key thing to remember is that they will still be there when you get back! Trust yourself, take a big giant leap out of your comfort zone and watch the good times roll in! When youre a language assistant, youre not just there to teach. Youre there to show the people you are teaching why they should learn your language. So smile and have fun, it will more than likely be the best thing you ever do!