What a wonderful experience for 14 Lithuanian teachers who decided to join the Erasmus Plus project in Soverato with JUMP!
Once they arrived, after meeting each other and introducing themselves by breaking ice games and informal activities, they were divided into three groups depending on their English level. The trainer Roberta Muratore had the opportunity to adopt a new teaching method and involve 5 of them in 3 mornings of outdoor education.
The warm climate and the quiet atmosphere of Soverato created the perfect environment to teach and learn English differently than usual.
Here is a practical example of the outdoor learning that took place the second week of July.
Participants started their first session with “The mission impossible” activity. The game took place in the city centre where they had to find important information about the cultural heritage of Soverato. (the origin of the name of the city, what Bergamotto is and how people use it in their daily life, and the most important holy place which for many years have been representing a cultural and spiritual reference of faith and devotion for the local community).
The aim of the day was to encourage participants to work together, to join the group as a team to create a good atmosphere among them so that to break the formal wall with local people, generate emotion, give and receive confidence.
The day after, participants were engaged in a restaurant context. They started the activity by being involved with some personal questions about food and drinks and they did the translation of the menu from Italian to the English language. After acquiring the language skills of the context, they were asked to create a dialogue following the instructions given. (Make a complaint, ask for a vegetarian menu and forget the wallet).
They realised how speaking activity provided opportunities for rehearsal and how to face daily social contexts.
After, they visited a private and innovative bookshop library where they had to find different reading genres and talk about their favourite books.
Being already in the city centre, helped with a list of words, they had to find the objects named in the list and take a picture with it. After that, they were asked to describe a shop window. It was a specific task to improve and learn vocabulary. In the end, the last activity called “How do I get there from here?” took place in a park where participants were divided into teams to made a competition. They were given a map with obstacles. They learnt how to ask and how to give directions.
The third morning they started their last outdoor session on the waterfront. The first activity called “How do Iyou feel today?” took place in a park. The main linguistic aim was to present and give practice of lexis of personality/feeling adjectives involving participants by miming emotions. While walking, the following activity “Action verbs” consisted of finding someone who was doing an action they had in a list. The task was to circle the verb, describing the context and create a simple sentence using that verb. The next places participants went to were one of the oldest local bakeries where they had a taste of typical fresh sweet pastries and a local Ceramics shop where they had the pleasure to know the owner and see and hear the story about her traditional artistic creations. The last activity was based on speaking about some tips to improve their fluency for speaking English once they will be back home.
It was a great challenge for them to realise how innovative and efficient these sessions turned out.
Also, participants had the opportunity to share their knowledge and their English competencies speaking about their daily life depending on the context they were brought to.
At the end of the sessions, they were amazed and enthusiastic about what they had improved and how they felt confident of their fluency in speaking English.
Roberta Muratore – JUMP Team