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Brush up your English - Report of group 20

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Patrick Triemer

on 25 March 2013

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Transcript of Brush up your English - Report of group 20

Brush up
Norwich Feelings on the trip to Norwich

The trip to Norwich started on the 3rd February and we all were very excited, because nobody knew what would happen. There were lots of questions in our minds like:
“Is my suitcase too heavy?”
“Will the planes be on time?”
“What will the host family be like?”
“Will I understand the British people?”
Questions, questions and the answers had to wait.
We met on the airport in Berlin/ Tegel and the fun started. We are a really great group and nobody was left alone with his ticket on the ticket machine. It was the first adventure we had.
After arriving in Norwich we were taken to our host families and our listening and speaking skills had to be proved when we met them. After this meeting the course could start because we all had recognized that we would survive with our communication skills.
The next morning started with the next adventure. Equipped with a map of Norwich we had to find our way to the NILE – the Norwich Institute of Language Education and fortunately everybody arrived in time.
The lessons at NILE were really exhausting because they were from 9 am to 4 pm and there were much to learn for us. But I must say that we had lots of fun too. The teachers were really nice and we felt welcomed so it wasn’t too hard to learn a lot. Everybody felt that the communication skills improved and we saw our progress every day.
On our trip to Norwich during the lessons and the guided tours, on the day trips to Ely and Cambridge we got lots of information and there was no time to assimilate it all. We sometimes felt tired and overloaded and it seemed to us that there was no more space for a single piece of information in our brains. Nevertheless it was a great experience that nobody in our group wants to miss.
The last day saw us with mixed emotions. We all were happy to go back home to our families that we had missed very much. But the most of us had nice host families that tried to make us feel home with them and the people from NILE too were really kind and helpful so that we were a bit sad to leave them. And although we never seemed to get warm in Norwich because of the terrible weather we would go back there again (but only in summer). What have you enjoyed most

The first we enjoyed most was our homestay accommodation. Our groupmembers stayed in comfortable houses and apartments with friendly hosts. During our stay in Norwich we had informative conversations about the lifestyle, the schoolsystems, traditions in Britain and Germany and other interesting subjects.
The second were our impressive trips to Ely and Cambridge. A guided tour with an expert guide is always a great way to discover important places. The day trips offered us a lot of background information about the history, the sights and the architecture of both cities. Besides we enjoyed the common stays in typical English pubs and cafes to taste fish and chips or scones with clotted cream and jam.
The visits of English Primary and High Schools were unforgettable experiences during our stay in Norwich. We were astonished at the technical equipments of these schools.
Finally Norwich has so much to offer. That’s why we would like to come back but we prefer doing this in spring or summer. What you have learnt about the region you are staying now.

The first Monday of our stay we were divided into groups and did a tour through the city. We got instructions of NILE where we had to go and what we had to find out. The weather was fantastic. So this was really great and we learnt a lot of interesting things about Norwich. On Tuesday we talked about our tours and got a paper with lots of useful information.
There was a guided tour through the city too. We started after our lessons but this time the weather was against us. It was so wet and icy cold that we were not able to listen to the guide. That was a pity. At least we all learnt about the production of mustard and that Norwich has got a very long history.
At the weekends we went to Ely and Cambridge. In Ely we visited the beautiful cathedral which is the second oldest in Britain. We saw also the house where Oliver Cromwell had lived and what is now a museum. And of course we walked around the lovely old city. In Cambridge we had a guided tour and heard a lot about the city, the universities and the history of Cambridge.
Luckily we also got one afternoon to visit the castle museum of Norwich. This museum is great. There are lots of different offers for children for example. So children should get attracted to museums because they can try different things and learn by doing what people knew at that time. Why other teacher colleagues should take part in a course at this language school

Our 2-week- course in England were at NILE in Norwich- Norwich Institute for Language Education.
The course started on the 4th of February- a really cold morning. But it should go worse! We had minus degrees, a lot of rain or snow and wind.
There were 3 lessons on the timetable from 9 till 4 every day. Some days we had also evening- sessions to learn more about Norwich, English dances and pubs and even a real English Afternoon Tea at the cathedral.
On Saturday we were in Ely- had a guided tour of the amazing cathedral and private visits in different tearooms after lunch. On Sunday we visited Cambridge, enjoyed also a guided tour through the older part, learned more about some colleges and entered the oldest pub in town. Of course we visited the tearooms in Cambridge too. You can´t say anything against a scone with jam and clotted cream.
Marek, the coordinator of the culture parts always tried very hard to organize tickets for the cinema, visits and guided tours. It was self – evident for him to fulfill our special wishes. The only thing he couldn’t change was the partly dreadful weather.
But our main task was our course at NILE day by day. It started with a lesson with Maria, a younger dynamic woman and 5 allegations about her life and herself. It was funny to find out her lies and we learned the first of a lot of phrases- “you´re a big fat liar”. During the 2 weeks we had more lessons with her and many different activities- wrote stories, sang songs, found lost sentences, collocations , tried speed- dating and had a lot of laughing.
Mostly Maria tried to explain us the psychological way to use English. If we asked some special tricky grammar questions, she searched a good reason for this- often it was only her personal “grammar feeling”. I don´t know, how much we got: “I never had used this in this or that way!”
Chris, a brilliant story teller and very good pronunciation- teacher with an expressive face had to teach us often after lunchtime. It was the best time for our “Suppenkoma”! But he could give us new energy with any “ZIPP”s or “ZAPP”s or “DOING-DOING-DOING”.
We liked his clear and really well- pronounced speaking. It was a real pleasure for us to listen to him when he told us some of his stories. A special experience was his pronunciation lesson- especially to learn the difference between “v” and “w” with the German one.
Carol, the third fighter for good and only English in our classroom was also an interesting experience. We talked about the right tenses, described amazing pictures from holiday dreaming, use many different adjectives, collocations and so one. Most important for me was the lesson about Sir Ernest Shackleton and his Antarctic Explorations.
Also we were really impressed by the good technical equipment- a smart board in each room- full connected. Often in our schools it´s only a wish.
On the 2nd Wednesday we stayed at 3 different schools in Norwich. Our 2 primary teachers visited a primary school nearby NILE.
And the secondary and grammar school teachers visited the Catholic High School Notre Dame or the Ormiston Victory Academy. What we saw was sometimes very different to our day-to-day school work. The silence was really impressive, but also to see the differences to our language classes.

Last, but not least- sometimes we felt overloaded, but we had interesting lessons, got new ideas for our classes, tried new methods and found more fun than stress.
Despite the untypical hard winter weather, the English germs, the colds or often the absent fresh air in our classroom we enjoyed our trip to Norwich, our often nice host families and the team from NILE. Recommendations for our teachers at the language school

Our stay at NILE was very useful for our work as English teachers.
The lessons there helped us to improve our language skills as well as our teaching methods.
We did a lot of exercises that we can use in our own lessons at school.
The teachers at NILE were very helpful in every way.

On the first day at the institute we did a tour of Norwich to discover the city. We had to do several tasks and answer questions in different groups. Afterwards we shared our experience and discussed our results. That way we learned a lot about Norwich.
Two days after that we did a guided tour of Norwich as a part of our social programme.
Perhaps it would have been better to do a short guided tour to find out about important facts of the city first. Afterwards we could have done our own tour to find out about more specific things.

One interesting point of our stay in Norwich was the Castle museum. Part of our lessons was a visit of the castle. There we had the opportunity to visit the exhibitions on different topics. We met at the castle at 2 o’clock, but as the museum already closed at 4:30, we did not have enough time to explore all topics properly.
We had to fill in questionnaires about the castle. So we concentrated too much on this task instead of looking at all the interesting pieces.
We think we should have had more time to explore the museum. So we could have talked about it afterwards in a lesson.

Our recommendation is to use parts of the social programme as teaching resources especially the tasks dealing with the area we stayed at. How will this stay influence our job as teachers.

The stay in Norwich was definitely a unique experience for all participants of our group. We all had had our expectations before about what we will get out of this course at NILE. I think we all have taken many suggestions with us back home. There are many examples of items we could take on, e.g. how to develop listening or reading skills in class or the exercises of practising the right pronunciation. Although it was just repetition for most of our group we had a lot of fun too. We won`t forget practising different sounds with Chris or the lessons when we were captivated by Chris’ stories. It was astonishing to see that little things (a key, a candle, an old postcard, an old watch etc.) can have an immense power to make people think and talk about something. And we did talk a lot!

Also the other teachers at NILE gave us many ideas we can use in our own lessons now. There is ,e.g. a simple way to warm up your students for getting ready for an English lesson by choosing a certain number of words that begin with the same letter. Then the students have to write a little story with the help of these chosen words. I have already practised this way in my classes and what can I say, ‘It works!’

Also other kinds of practising group or partner works we have been taught and of course, these will influence our work at school as well.

All in all we can say that the stay in Norwich was a success and the lessons we had there have been very useful for improving our language usage and for developing our teaching skills. WHAT I HAVE MISSED

to make a distinction
I missed some spezial ideas for different schools (primary, secondary and grammar school)
I missed inclusion at school (I mean that it was so good. You couldn’t notice the way of inclusion).
They didn’t talk about INCLUSION at school. They did it.
I missed the daylight during our guide tour through Norwich.
I missed more time to discover the town on my own way.
I missed more time. We could spend only 2 hours in the museum.
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