Last Saturday our students escaped the weekend’s torrential rain in Edinburgh’s magnificent hotel Caledonia, host of Herriot Watt’s Tedx event. The theme of the conference was ‘Breaking Barriers’ and with our students new language skills they were doing just that.
We all listened to fascinating talks ranging from artificial intelligence to sexism in Hollywood. The event gave the students an excellent opportunity to practice their ability to listen to a variety of presentation styles in English. During the breakouts the nature of the topics ignited debates amongst our group, determined to challenge each other’s thoughts on these controversial notions. It was brilliant to witness how excitement among pupils to discuss these ideas, surpassed any confidence issues over the English required to get involved in the conversation. At Edinburgh School of English it is especially important to us that our pupils feel just this, the self-assurance to allow classroom work to transcend into real life.
What’s more watching a range of speakers also prompted consideration amongst pupils of how people communicate. Everyone agreed that regardless of the ability to demonstrate perfect English, listeners best understood the ideas from speakers who spoke confidently, with eye contact and belief in what they were saying. The event was a fantastic practical demonstration for our pupils that confidence is one of their greatest assets to communicating effectively. At Edinburgh School of English we are helping our students become so much more than theory and test results. We ignite their passion for learning and experiencing new cultures, ensuring they have the confidence to explain this in English!
Inspired, our students are now going to participate in Edinburgh School of English’s own TedX themed event. Aspiring to replicate the communication skills they saw in action, pupils will get the chance to spread their own ideas on topics they really care about.
The Edinburgh School of English’s cultural programme embodies our completely innovative approach to language learning. Our inclusion of dynamic educational events demonstrates how we weave traditional learning with essential life skills. At the Edinburgh School of English we do not believe in merely passing on theoretical knowledge. Instead, we strive to ignite a passion for learning in general.
‘Bexperimental’, for instance is an interactive science show that encourages kids to take the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in designing and carrying out scientific experiments. It’s a vibrant, fun packed day, that is always enjoyed by everyone but specifically it may just inspire the next generation of Einsteins!
What’s more at the Edinburgh School of English we not only acknowledge that our Young Leaners interests will be diverse but we actively encourage it! This understanding is reflected in the great variety of innovative learning events we promote. The visit to Sky Studios is another favourite among our students and for most it will be a completely unique opportunity to consider interest in the film and television industry. The group work they are required to do in the studios ensures that all pupils push themselves in terms of their communication and listening skills. Sky studios is also an excellent opportunity for individuals to demonstrate leadership qualities as the groups pull together highly entertaining mock Television broadcasts!
We are certain that taking our students out of the classroom, to events like these, will ensure they learn to think creatively and independently. The life skills our pupils gain through these activities would benefit any child, but without realising it our students are engaged in a higher level of thinking in a foreign language. As a result our Young Learners leave with not only a greatly improved understanding of English but most importantly, the confidence to communicate this.
As an English literature graduate and competitive sports woman I joined the school of English as an activity leader. I was excited by the prospect of a school that understood the immense benefits of supplementing classroom work with sports and activity. Edinburgh School of English is more than just a language school and it’s through our activities that theory gets transformed into real life skills. It’s fantastic organising events for groups of kids from so many nationalities, it’s such an incredible social experience for them.
The activity programme also gives me the opportunity to work closely with the kids in a more relaxed environment. I really enjoy hearing their general conversation in English improve, and for me, it’s especially interesting to discuss their opinions of Scotland in comparison to their own countries. I get to learn so much about foreign cultures, discussing everything from politics to favourite musicians while the kids get the challenge of explaining it all in English- it’s a good deal!
By the end of each session it’s always so rewarding to experience our students using their new language skills to make friends and bond over the challenges our activities present. I love witnessing how sports tournaments, dance classes, scavenger hunts and so much more help pull down the language barriers that class teachers have been working against . As a result our students are left with an international network of friends they never would have imagined possible before the summer.