The Spanish Adventure / La aventura de aprender español

By María Clement, ELE and Spanish teacher in Primary at Caxton College

To have a second language is to possess a second soul

Charlemagne´s words are definitely inspiring and sum up the idea of what the ELE department in Primary aims for our students.

One of the responsibilities of the ELE department in Primary at Caxton College is to ease children’s integration in their new lives. Our purpose is to take care of each of our students in order to help them not only to speak a new language but also to be able to express their needs, to make new friends and to appreciate a new culture with different foods, traditions and timetables… and eventually become part of it.

Learning a language can also mean learning a new way of life, especially when you are living in the country where the language is spoken.

In our lessons we try to give explanations or comparisons between the traditions of the students´ countries and the Spanish way of life so that there is a better understanding between the students and their class peers.

We emphasize the fact that for most of our students, coming to Spain has been a big change to get used to, therefore we want them to feel comfortable and not see Spanish as yet another subject to study but as something they can learn but also enjoy.

Our methodology is based on a communicative approach; language is a means of communication and a tool for us to interact with each other, for this reason, our main aim is to create communicative contexts in the classroom so that our learners have the opportunity to speak in our target language which is Spanish.

Of course, apart from this, we need to teach vocabulary and grammar but we try to make the learning meaningful for the children: we teach them vocabulary that has got to do with their daily life and their interests, such as school for example.

Regarding grammar, we need to bear in mind that our eldest students are only 10-11 years old, so we try to teach grammar inductively; this means we show the children how to express ideas in different ways and by doing the class activities they find out “rules”/ “patterns” between words, just like a Spanish child would learn them, through use.

We also highlight the importance of reading since we know it is one of the best ways to learn vocabulary in any language.  We encourage them to read passages in Spanish and teachers read to them to model intonation and pronunciation.

Our ultimate goal is for the children to enjoy learning Spanish and experience positive feelings towards the new language which we hope, which we hope will eventually become an important part of them, a second soul.

“La aventura de aprender español”

Por María Clement, profesora de Español en Caxton College

Tener un segunda idioma es poseer una segunda alma

Las palabras de Carlomagno son sin duda inspiradoras y resumen la idea de lo que el departamento de ELE de Primaria de Caxton College pretende para sus alumnos.

Una de las responsabilidades del departamento es facilitar la adaptación de los estudiantes a sus nuevas vidas. Cuidar de cada uno de ellos y ayudarles no sólo a hablar un nuevo idioma, sino también a ser capaces de expresar sus necesidades, hacer nuevos amigos y apreciar una nueva cultura con diferentes alimentos, tradiciones y horarios para, finalmente, llegar a ser ellos mismos parte de ella.

Aprender un idioma también puede significar aprender un nuevo modo de vida, sobre todo cuando vives en el país donde se habla ese idioma. En nuestras clases intentamos dar explicaciones y hacer comparaciones entre las tradiciones de los países de origen de los alumnos y España. Con esto conseguimos mejorar la comprensión entre todos los compañeros de clase.

También hacemos hincapié en el hecho de que para la mayoría de nuestros estudiantes venir a España ha sido un gran cambio al que se han tenido que adaptar, y por lo tanto, queremos que se sientan cómodos y que no vean el idioma español como otra asignatura más, sino como algo que también se puede disfrutar.

Nuestra metodología está basada en un enfoque comunicativo. El lenguaje es un medio de comunicación y una herramienta con la que podemos interactuar, por lo que nuestro principal objetivo es crear contextos de comunicación en el aula para que nuestros alumnos tengan la oportunidad de hablar en nuestro idioma de destino, en este caso español.

Por supuesto, también enseñamos vocabulario y gramática, pero tratando de hacer el aprendizaje significativo para los niños. Por ejemplo les mostramos vocabulario que tiene algo que ver con su vida cotidiana y sus intereses, como el colegio.

Respecto a la gramática, necesitamos tener en cuenta que nuestros alumnos más mayores tienen sólo 10 o 11 años, por lo que tratamos de enseñar de forma inductiva. Esto significa que mostramos a los niños cómo expresar sus ideas de diferentes maneras. Haciendo las actividades de clase, los alumnos descubren las “normas” lingüísticas, del mismo modo que las aprendería un niño español, a través de su uso.

También destacamos la importancia de la lectura, ya que sabemos que es una de las mejores maneras de aprender vocabulario en cualquier idioma. Les animamos a leer textos en español y los profesores les leen para modelar la entonación y la pronunciación.

Nuestro objetivo final es que los niños disfruten aprendiendo español y experimenten sentimientos positivos hacia el nuevo idioma, que esperamos que se convierta en una parte importante de ellos, una segunda alma.

Jane Dallas: “La lectura abre el corazón a los niños” /Jane Dallas: “Reading Opens Childrens’ hearts and Minds”

Entrevista a Jane Dallas, consultora  y formadora educativa / Interview with Jane Dallas, Education consultant & trainer.
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Esta experta británica en estrategias educativas lleva impartiendo sesiones formativas a profesores de todo el mundo durante más de una década y tras cuarenta años de experiencia docente. En estos días visita Valencia para compartir nuevas líneas pedagógicas con los maestros de Primaria de Caxton College.

En un momento en el que la revolución tecnológica asalta los modelos educativos tradicionales e intenta establecer nuevas visiones en las aulas, esta consultora británica, miembro del comité de especialistas que desarrollaron entre el año 2001 y 2010 el programa nacional de estrategias educativas para mejorar la enseñanza en los colegios de Primaria en Reino Unido, acude a Valencia con un programa de formación basado en el fomento de la lectura. “Esta metodología es tan elemental como transgresora”, apunta Dallas. “Me interesa organizar talleres donde los profesores adquieran nuevas fórmulas para enseñar a través de la experiencia. Y no hay mayor experiencia que la lectura. Con la lectura se mejora la escritura, el vocabulario, el habla y la capacidad de escuchar del alumno”, explica Dallas al finalizar un taller de esta naturaleza en Caxton College, donde acude anualmente para enriquecer, con innovadoras prácticas educativas, el currículum de este colegio británico de Puçol.

De este modo las nuevas tecnologías son una herramienta idónea que facilita el acceso a la información y permite nuevos usos en el día a día de las aulas “pero para nada pueden sustituir a la experiencia de trabajar en clase, de manera colaborativa en grupos reducidos de alumnos, con un libro y tener una lectura abierta y profunda del texto. De ese modo nace una forma de aprendizaje creativa con la que los estudiantes amplían su conocimiento y comienzan a pensar de manera independiente y crítica”.

Este proyecto educativo, tan básico como revolucionario, lo comparte con Carol Satterthwaite, quien desde la plataforma Pie Corbett disfruta de este amor por la literatura que desean trasladar a los más pequeños, sabedoras de que esta afición desarrolla destrezas ineludibles para su futuro. Desde esa tribuna educativa ambas pedagogas proponen a los estudiantes de entre 3 y 11 años la lectura imprescindible de, como mínimo, seis libros anuales. A partir de ahí pueden ampliar el rango cuanto deseen.

“Es fácil proponer este tipo de proyectos a profesores de colegios que se quieren mover, que quieren avanzar, que huyen de lo convencional o de las modas pasajeras”, comenta Dallas, quien no conoce demasiado el sistema educativo español pero que encuentra grandes ventajas en el modelo británico “ya que va más allá de lo que es la enseñanza tradicional porque intenta formar a alumnos independientes, responsables y motivados por el aprendizaje. Este sistema se fija mucho en el aprendizaje junto a la naturaleza, al aire libre”, continúa Dallas, “que comparte similitudes con la siempre bien valorada enseñanza finlandesa”.

El optimismo de Jane Dallas desaparece cuando reflexiona sobre la importancia y el reconocimiento que la sociedad, en general, tiene con los profesores. “Lamentablemente no se les tiene el respeto que merecen. En mi opinión ser profesor es el trabajo más importante del mundo y si se les diera la importancia que merecen el mundo iría mejor porque habría más educación”, concluye Dallas, quien con un tono sosegado y una mirada generosa prosigue su trabajo con una visión humanista en una época en la que la tecnología le resta protagonismo.

Jane Dallas: “Reading Opens Childrens’ hearts and Minds”

The British expert in educational strategies has been travelling the world, holding training sessions for teachers for more than a decade, after forty years experience in the field.  She has been visiting Valencia for the last few days to share new educational projects with the Caxton College Primary teachers.

At a time when Information Technology is revolutionising traditional educational programmes and leading to the establishment of a new version of the classroom, this British consultant, a member of the Committee of Specialists who developed the National Educational Strategies Programme between 2001 and 2010, to improve teaching in Primary schools throughout the UK, has come to Valencia with a training programme based on promoting reading.  

“This methodology is as elementary as it is ground-breaking,” affirms Dallas. “I am interested in organising workshops where the teachers can learn new formulas for teaching through experience.  And there is no better experience than reading.  With reading comes an improvement in writing, vocabulary, speaking and the student’s ability to listen,” she explains, after finishing a workshop of this type in Caxton College, where she returns every year to enrich, with her innovative educational practices, the curriculum of this British school in Puzol.

New Technologies are an ideal tool to help with this task, as they give ease of access to information and can be used in many different ways on a daily basis in the classroom, “but they absolutely cannot substitute the experience of working in class, cooperating together in small groups of students, with a book, enjoying an open and in-depth reading of the text.  Thus a new way of creative learning is born, with which students expand their knowledge and start to think independently and critically”.

This educational project, as basic as it is revolutionary, is shared with Carol Satterthwaite, who uses the Pie Corbett platform to transmit this love for literature to the youngest students, in the knowledge that this pastime can develop incredibly valuable skills for the future. From this educational platform, both teachers propose that students of between 3 and 11 years of age must read at least 6 books per year.  From there, they can broaden the range as desired.

“It’s easy to propose this type of projects to school teachers who want to move on, who want to advance, who run from all that is conventional or out of date”, says Dallas, who does not know the Spanish educational system very well but finds many advantages in the British model “as it goes beyond the traditional because it aims to form independent students, who are also responsible and motivated to learn.  This system is very much linked to learning close to nature, in the open air,” she continues, “and shares some similarities with the always highly acclaimed Finnish educational system.”

Jane Dallas’s optimism disappears when she reflects on the importance and recognition that society in general gives to teachers.  “Unfortunately, they do not receive the respect that they deserve.  In my opinion, being a teacher is the most important job in the world, and if it were given the importance it deserves, it would work much better because there would be more education everywhere,” concludes Dallas, who with her calm tone and kind expression, continues to go about her work with a humanistic vision in a time when technology increasingly takes centre stage.

Staff Book of the Month (October)

By Mr Howe, English Teacher at Caxton College 

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Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice – Matthew Syed

A non-fiction book for Years 10-13. Anyone interested in sport, psychology or science would enjoy this book.

What’s the secret to being a successful athlete? Are they born with God-given talent? Or have they developed their skills over time? Can anyone become an elite athlete? Why are so many top long distance runners from Kenya? Why are so many successful sprinters from Jamaica? Why did 12 elite UK table tennis players come from one street in Reading?

This book uses examples from sport to answer some of these questions. It breaks down a lot of myths we have about talent and what makes people successful. As a sports fan I found the book interesting, but it also changed my attitude towards teaching. It made me realised that students can achieve greatness in any subject if they engage in regular and effective practice.

Link to the book on amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bounce-Myth-Talent-Power-Practice/dp/0007350546

Pupil Book of the Month / Recomendación lectora mensual de nuestros alumnos

By Inés P., Year 10 student at Caxton College

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“I am Malala” – Malala Yousafzai

This is the autobiography of Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel peace prize winner ever. She has inspired thousands of men and women to fight peacefully against terrorism and to fight for education. She shares her inspiring story in this amazing autobiography.

Malala lived in Pakistan with her two brothers and her mum and her dad who owned the girls’ school that Malala attended. She had a normal life, she went to school and really enjoyed it. Her major preoccupations were having top grades in her class until one day the Taliban invaded their city. They took control of the city and imposed really strict rules:  women could not leave the house alone, girls older than 11 couldn’t go to school, neither they could speak with someone who wasn’t from their family. As Malala loved school, she and her friends still went to school and whenever they asked them how old were they, they would always respond eleven. As she and her family suffered a lot her dad gave her the opportunity of writing a blog for the BBC, describing how horrible their conditions were. She became quite famous as many people read it. She even went to England to give speeches to students. Until one day she was on the school bus heading to school and some terrorists stopped the bus. They were looking for her. The terrorists recognized her and shot her in the head.

This book is really inspiring and makes you appreciate what you have and how important education is. I really recommend this book to everyone, particularly to students, to see what incredible things people do just to go to school. Also the book is easy to read as it doesn’t have lots of difficult vocabulary. It’s not really big and it doesn’t take much time to read, but Malala’s story might just change the way you think.

Link to biographical information

https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2014/yousafzai-bio.html

Link to the book on amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Am-Malala-Stood-Education-Taliban/dp/031628663X

Health and Sport / Salud y Deporte

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By Mr Lewis-Jones, Head of Caxton College PE Department

Games Day is a hugely popular and valuable part of the PE curriculum here at Caxton College. We pride ourselves on promoting a healthy and active lifestyle for all our students and Games Day is a great way to showcase this. We are extremely proud of our students who demonstrate the key values at Caxton through PE and Sport. We promote honesty, teamwork and creative thinking as well of a mentality of “be the best you can be”and by taking part in Games Day all students have the opportunity to demonstrate these values.

It is also an opportunity for students to demonstrate a sense of community and belonging by representing their houses and doing their best for themselves and members of their house.

This month’s theme is “Growth Mindset” and nowhere is this more appropriate than in PE. Students have the opportunity in lessons and through extra practices to show that with hard ¨work and determination they can achieve anything.

Salud y Deporte

Por Mr Lewis-Jones, Jefe del Departamento de Educación Física en Caxton College

El Games Day es una actividad muy arraigada en el Plan de Estudios de Educación Física de Caxton College. Por eso, y teniendo en cuenta que desde el colegio promocionamos de manera constante un estilo de vida saludable y activo entre los estudiantes,  el Games Day se presenta como una oportunidad magnífica para poner en juego esa vigorosa actitud. En este sentido, nos sentimos muy orgullosos de nuestros alumnos, ya que son capaces de mostrar los valores fundamentales de Caxton College a través del deporte y la Educación Física. Muestran honestidad, capacidad de trabajo en equipo, grandes habilidades para el razonamiento creativo y también un gran espíritu de superación. 

Este día es una ocasión extraordinaria para que los alumnos demuestren un sentimiento de comunidad y de pertenencia al colegio, representando a sus Casas y esforzándose al máximo no sólo por ellos mismos, también por los demás miembros de su equipo.  

El lema de este mes para nuestros alumnos es “Growth Mindset” (mentalidad de superación), y sin duda la asignatura de Educación Física es idónea para desarrollar de forma práctica este concepto.  Durante las clases y en los entrenamientos extras, los alumnos tienen la ventaja de demostrar que, con trabajo y determinación, pueden conseguir cualquier meta que se propongan.

 

En la final del Programa Becas Europa / In the final round of the “European Grants Programme” ​

La estudiante de Year 13, Estela C., acaba de pasar a la Final de la XI Edición del “Programa de Becas Europa” con el objetivo de estimular el talento y la formación de los alumnos preuniversitarios. Ella misma se ha ofrecido a contarnos su experiencia.   

Por Estela C. Alumna de Year 13 de Caxton College

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El programa de Becas Europa consiste en seleccionar a 50 candidatos con el propósito de viajar por Europa a lo más profundo de la esencia de diferentes universidades, disfrutando de conferencias, actividades culturales y encuentros con personalidades de las instituciones que visiten.

Y los objetivos son premiar, fortalecer y estimular el talento y la formación de los alumnos preuniversitarios promoviendo en ellos un compromiso de desarrollar estos talentos al servicio de la sociedad.

Las diferentes fases de la competición han sido originales y muy divertidas de llevar a cabo, conociendo a otros candidatos y forjando amistades. Al estar clasificada veo mi recorrido por Becas Europa con mucho cariño y con ganas de participar en la 4º Fase de Selección que consiste en asistir a un fin de semana al Campus de la Universidad Francisco de Vitoria. Ahí, formaremos equipos y realizaremos una serie de pruebas para seleccionar a los 50 ganadores del viaje final. Sin embargo el hecho de estar en la final ya proporciona una serie de ventajas para cuando seamos universitarios, ya que te incluyen en un programa con mentores que te apoyan y aconsejan durante esta etapa tan importante.

En cada ciudad del viaje final, los alumnos participan en la vida cultural del lugar: la ópera, el teatro musical, un taller gastronómico… Ayudan a enriquecerse con la belleza y creatividad de la cultura de cada lugar. Además, se realizan actividades de ocio típicas de cada ciudad como el remo en Oxford, una gymkhana urbana en Heidelberg, disfrutar de un simulador del Ferrari F1 o realizar visitas turísticas a los lugares europeos más representativos. Es más, en ediciones pasadas, Becas Europa ha contado con una gran variedad de ponentes y encuentros con personalidades en las instituciones que visita. Desde el Papa Benedicto XVI a la primera dama de Inglaterra, Cherie Blair. Concluyendo cada edición con un encuentro con SS.MM. D. Felipe y Dña. Letizia, Reyes de España.

La primera vez que me dieron la oportunidad de participar lo dudé porque no sabía a lo que me estaba presentando pero, después de informarme supe que era una gran oportunidad y que valía la pena intentarlo. La primera prueba es solo responder a unas preguntas generales y personales, así que  animo a los futuros candidatos a que lo intenten y se embarquen en esta aventura tan emocionante.

Becas Europa es una oportunidad única, llena de actividades interesantes y personas que te hacen ser mejor, voy a disfrutar de la final y con suerte del viaje increíble pero solo con haber sido parte de la familia de Becas Europa ya me siento afortunada.


Our Year 13 student, Estela C., has just reached the Finals of the XI Edition of the “European Grants Programme”, which was created to encourage the talent and training of pre-university students. She tells us about her experience in her own words.  

By Estela C. Year 13 student at Caxton College

The European Grants programme consists of selecting 50 candidates who will then travel around Europe, to experience in depth the essence of different Universities, while attending conferences, enjoying cultural activities and meeting with people from the institutions visited.  

The aims are to reward, strengthen and stimulate the talent and training of these pre-University students, while fostering in them a commitment to develop their talents for the benefit of society as a whole.

The different rounds of the competition were original and great fun for us, as we got to meet the other candidates and forged friendships with them. Now that I have been classified, I look back fondly on my experience so far with European Grants, and am really looking forward to taking part in the fourth selection stage.  This will consist of spending a weekend on campus at the Francisco University in Vitoria.  There, we will be put into teams and will have to perform a series of tests in order to choose the 50 finalists who will go on the trip. However, just making it to the final round already gives us a number of advantages for when we go to University, as we are included in a mentoring programme, and will receive support and advice during this important stage of our lives.

In every city on the final trip, the winning students will experience the cultural scene there: the opera, musical theatre, cookery workshops… These are enriching events which help to appreciate the beauty and creativity in the culture of each of the cities. There are also typical recreational activities in the host towns, such as rowing in Oxford, an urban gymkhana in Heidelberg, enjoying a Ferrari F1 simulator or guided tours of the most representative European cities.  In addition, in former years, European Grants has been fortunate to count on the participation of a wide range of speakers and meetings with famous personalities in the institutions visited, from Pope Benedict XVI to the UK’s first lady, Cherie Blair. Each edition concludes with a meeting with Their Majesties Don Felipe and Doña Letizia, King & Queen of Spain.

The first time I was offered the chance to take part in this contest, I hesitated because I did not quite know what was involved, but after finding out more about it I realised that it was a great opportunity, and one worth aiming for.  The first round only involves answering some general and personal questions, so I would encourage all future candidates to try for it, and to embark on this wonderfully exciting adventure.

European Grants is a unique opportunity, full of interesting activities and people who will make you want to be a better person.  I intend to thoroughly enjoy the final round and, if I am lucky enough, the incredible journey that follows. However, I already feel very fortunate just to have been a part of the family that makes up European Grants.