Do you speak Dutch….?

Experience in any field is important. In education experience brings with it the confidence to try new things.  This year as well as all the usual ‘new things’ I find myself trying at school (some seem to pop up every year), I also find myself, together with Mar a colleague of ten years, venturing off on a new project. Together we are offering art and language workshops to the bilingual and international schools in the Netherlands.

The start of any new school year is busy, but added to that we did our first outing as ‘Lignum Learning‘ educational experts.

cuijk

Working with a single group of 26 first year pupils (aged 12), who were just a week into their bilingual journey we produced two artworks focusing on the idea of journeys that they make locally and internationally and the trips that they might hope to make in the future.

Normally we see our groups of pupils for 60 minutes at a time before they disappear off to their next timetabled lesson. Today though we worked with the same group from 8.30am until 5pm in a hugely intensive and focused session.

The end results were seem in two large-scale group artworks based on a map of the local area and a world map. We had been brought in by the school because they wanted to expose the children to an intense day of ‘native speakers’ of English leading the lessons.

We were introduced at the start as a teacher from England and a teacher from America.  We subsequently maintained the whole day that we couldn’t speak any Dutch. Both of us stuck rigidly to not responding to anything said in the pupils’ first language, which was at times difficult but of course in keeping with stimulating them to speak English.  But the children’s reaction in the final moments of the presentation to parents at the end of the day, when we slipped into fluent Dutch was an absolute treat to see!

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