05 July 2013
A visit to my sister's work
Yesterday, I watched my sister run a fantastic class at the Campbell Institute. The Campbell Institute teaches English to speakers of other languages. Watching Jacinta reminded me of how important it is to keep participants involved in learning. Passiveness in participants is the trainer’s enemy!
The Campbell Institute's website
Jacinta’s students were giving each other 5-minute presentations about their countries — great speaking practice for those presenting, but the listeners could easily have tuned out. Jacinta kept them involved by noting down facts from the 5-minute talks. At the end of each talk, she used her notes to ask questions that the students could answer — if they’d listened.
That simple trick meant she had 100% of people engaged in the activity. Brilliant.
The experience gave me renewed respect for foreign people who have jobs in New Zealand. Imagine conducting business in a foreign language! Negotiating the subtle nuances of workplace politics can baffle people who are born here, let alone people who come from overseas. I take my hat off to anyone whose job requires them to write in English when it’s not their first language.