Benbecula-based project co-ordinator Gordon Wells has returned from a series of meetings in Barra with educators for all ages. He was invited over to attend an ESOL Welcome Point event at the Cothrom office in the Children’s Centre in Castlebay, but also took the opportunity to visit Castlebay School across the road, and the Barra campus of Lews Castle College around the corner. Gaelic teachers in the school were particularly interested in finding out more about the easy audio recording facility that Ipadio offers, and Gordon was happy to direct them to the guide that appears on the POOLS-T website. There is a direct link here to show language teachers and/or learners how to set up their own “DIY radio station”.
Here’s a sample piece, made over the telephone:
The Series One DVD/CD-Rom package was also distributed to all centres, with some spares left at the Cothrom office. It was encouraging to hear about learners’ progress through the college’s Ulpan courses. The Guthan nan Eilean online video clips may provide valuable supplementary listening practice for learners as they move up through the levels, and begin to encounter authentic speech in the community outside the classroom.
HMIe, the Scottish education inspectorate, has judged work on Guthan nan Eilean/Island Voices to be “Sector Leading and Innovative Practice”. The news is carried in the latest edition of the quarterly POOLS project newsletter, alongside other items of interest to those who follow technological developments in relation to language learning and teaching. The newsletter can be accessed here.
The HMIe reports are contained in the fifth and sixth documents (dated 16/02/10) on their Good Practice page showcasing Excellence in Languages and ESOL. The first document describes the structure and development of the first series of videos as part of the original POOLS project, and includes links to exemplar materials in both Gaelic and English. The second document may be of particular interest to ESOL practitioners in Scotland. It describes Hot Potatoes extension work developed by Cothrom, and links these exercises to Scottish Qualifications Authority ESOL unit levels.
The Cothrom class in English for Speakers of Other Languages is held in a very well appointed upstairs room in the new Balivanich Community Hall. Mary Morrison leads the class with assistance from Suzanne Morrison. It’s a multilingual classroom with learners from Latvia and Poland, who also speak Italian and Russian. There’s a wide range of English levels in the class, with some members having arrived in the Hebrides several years ago, while others have been here just a few months. But there’s a strong desire to learn in the group and a positive spirit of co-operation, so newer arrivals are helped by those who have been here longer.
Last night the Island Voices project co-ordinator Gordon Wells visited the group, so class members had a chance to practise introducing themselves – saying who they were, where they were from, and where they were working now. They also talked about some of their favourite parts of Benbecula. Because it was a very pleasant summer evening the group then made a plan to tour round some of these sites and make some short video recordings.
Favourite spots were the beach, of course, and the community riding school where they got some lovely pictures of the horses. Another highlight was Benbecula airport – because that’s the quickest way to Poland! And Olga wanted to make a film about Balivanich Primary School, where her daughter has been a pupil for three years now.
Here she talks about her impressions of the school, and how much her daughter enjoys it.