At the Adult Education Centre in Ormož, Slovenia, the employees are eager to gain new knowledge in order to offer quality services for our users. We were successful in gaining Erasmus+ KA1 Learning Mobility of Individuals for the second time in the row. The title of the last project is I want more!. Our adult education organizer and English teacher applied to a structured seminar for English teacher in Edinburgh.
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I am an English teacher by profession and I enjoy teaching. I am employed as an adult education organizer, but I also prepare and run English courses for adults. When planning lessons, I try to prepare interesting activities, so that our participants learn and enjoy at the same time. I wanted to upgrade my knowledge and experiences, gain new knowledge and ideas, meet new English teachers, compare my work methods with others and learn about Scottish culture. Due to these reasons, I applied to the structured course for English teachers in the Scottish capital Edinburgh. At inlingua Edinburgh they organize a 14-day seminar Effective communication skills and fluency plus teaching methodology.
I went to Edinburgh at the end of June and arrived in a heat wave, which suited me for easier sightseen in my free time. But this is just a bonus of a mobility, more important is the programme, which I will introduce in more detail.
I stayed at a host family during my mobility, which the school organized for me. I was staying with a nice family and had a half-board, so I could eat more home-made food. I talked with them about city sights, Scottish customs, sports and schooling. I had to take the bus to get to my school. The double decker had free Wi-Fi, but no air conditioning (in the middle of a heat wave).
Ten teachers from Slovenia, Germany, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic attended the seminar. It was divided into three parts: Teacher Training in the morning, Spoken Performance after lunch and optional sightseeing.
At Teacher Training part, we started with CLIL methodology, which I have heard of, but never new what it was really about. During the lesson we learned the vocabulary for water cycle. We all new English very well, but this specific vocabulary is quite demanding. From brainstorming, to pair work, to pictures and other activities we were experts by the end of the day. At other lessons – which weren't only lessons, since we did everything through different activities – we learned about many different activities for activating vocabulary, use of drama, storytelling and games to make lessons more interesting. We checked different web resources and using audio and video in the classroom. Why always watch the video, why not just listen to it and from sounds figure out what is happening. We also talked about presentations skills. Do you know how to correctly tie your shoelaces? You can see the answer in this video and listen to the strategies used by the speaker to gain attention (flattery, personal anecdote, pop culture, synonyms, scientific language, etc.). We also learned about Cuisenaire rods and how to use them at language learning.
The second week was more about the theory of ELT methodologies, speaking, listening and phonology and teaching reading and writing. I already knew most of the things from my student years. But it was nice to revise and hear about new methods.
Spoken Performance was all about speaking about different subjects. We discussed and compared school systems and subjects of different countries. We realized that the differences aren't so big. We talked about Robert Burns, the biggest Scottish poet, and read his poem Of Mice in Scots language. We learned the typical Scottish words and talked about their customs (we were really interested in what men wear under their kilts) and famous Scotts.
On our last day we had observed micro-teaching, for which we had to write a lesson plan for one 45-minute lessons. We had to present 15 minutes of it for your fellow participants. We were all a bit anxious and our hands and voices shook at the beginning. But after a bit of stammering we all drew and what we professionally do and executed our planned lessons with ease.
In the afternoon, we had organized sightseeing for those interested. One of the teacher from inlingua would be our guide and explain interesting fact about Edinburgh. We had an orientation tour of the Old town , we visited Royal Botanic Gardens, the Georgian House, Rosslyn Chapel (it became famous when Dan Brown included it in the Da Vinci code), National Gallery of Scotland, Scottish Parliament, museums and Jupiter Artland. We had whisky tasting, had a beer on pub night and danced Scottish dances at Ceilidh.
In my free time I walked around the city. I visited the sights that served J.K. Rowling as inspiration for Harry Potter. I went to the Edinburgh castle, which was and is, a fort. I climbed Arthur's Seat, the tallest hill at the city's edge and from which you have a stunning view of the city and Firth of Forth. I ate fish & chips at the traditional pub. I went on a one-day excursion up to Loch Ness and Highlands. I went on a one-hour hike from North Berwick to the ruins of the Tantallion castle and imagined how people lived in these harsh weather conditions. I took the train to Glasgow and visited their University. I peeked at Holyrood Palace through the fence since the Queen of England Elizabeth II was staying there during the first week of July. She comes every year at this time to Edinburgh and stays at this Palace.
So, what did I gain from this mobility? At lessons I gained many new ideas, which I will be able to use when planning new English courses for adults. I learned about Scottish culture, since it is important to have this knowledge when teaching the language. I met other English teacher and with them compared our school systems, work methods and our experiences with different international projects. I actively used English and improved my speaking skills. I tasted typical Scottish food and drinks (fish & chips, haggis with neeps and tatties, whisky, beer). I gained on my self-esteem about organizing this kind of mobility and going to a big city on my own.
This is only a rough draft of all the experiences collected during these two weeks in Edinburgh. It is difficult to sum them up, since words cannot explain all the knowledge, ideas and impressions that I gained. But I definitely recommend to anyone to go on such a mobility, since it is a main advantage for improving personal and professional development.
Ana Janžekovič works as an adult education organizer in Adult Education Centre in Ormož, Slovenia. She is responsible for writing and implementing projects, and she also has English language courses for adults. She has been involved in adult education for the past two years. Previously she worked as an English teacher at a primary school.