Our Lower Sixth-run primary school year 6 enrichment programme, Primary Ambitions, is in full swing with 250 primary school pupils coming on site every Friday afternoon. The programme is fantastic from our partner primary schools’ perspective – we provide hands-on enrichment sessions filled with games, activities, and insights in 19 different topics. Equally, it is impactful for our Lower Sixth pupils too. They learn how to collaborate, lead a group and deliver materials clearly as well as further their understanding of our local community. What better than a personal account of a sixth form pupil’s experience to illustrate this! Riccardo (Lower Sixth) has kindly shared his thoughts on teaching the Primary Ambitions’ Spanish module.
‘I will share with you what will be an exhilarating journey through our first Primary Ambitions session. The overall teaching experience was something which we didn’t expect to find so engaging and captivating and we will definitely cherish it.
It goes without saying that there was some tension before the arrival of the primary school students. The atmosphere in the classroom was one of apprehension and concern, not only because of the uncanny role swap where we students had to become teachers, but also as we hadn’t met the pupils and were unsure about what their behaviour was going to be like, their understanding of Spanish and their excitement for the topic. We had thoroughly prepared for a fun and exciting lesson which was designed to ease the year 6s into an introductory Spanish lesson. We were up for the challenge and thrilled to be teaching for the first time!
When the pupils arrived, my two colleagues, Jemina and Joseph, collected them from Hampden Hall and escorted them to our classroom. We started with a quick introduction of all the teachers including Riccardo (me), Joseph, Sveva, Jemina and Aaron. Then, we learned all their names and began the lesson.
We weren’t sure how much the students knew but, soon after we started, we could tell some had a rudimentary understanding of Spanish and others hadn’t studied it before. This was one of the challenges we faced as we had to balance the involvement of all the students in the lesson, making sure no one was left behind. We achieved this by asking volunteers to participate in activities in pairs, allowing us to work with them to ensure their understanding was concrete and to keep the lesson light-hearted by having a laugh or two. The students sped through the activities as we navigated them through the lesson. We were supervised by Ms. Casais who made sure all ran smoothly.
The lesson was a success, and we realised our fear beforehand was for nothing! One of the things we enjoyed the most as teachers was seeing the pupils summon the courage to speak in front of their classmates. We also loved their smiles when we handed them a sticker! The activity in which the students had the most fun was guessing each other’s Spanish sentences and, it’s safe to say, the toughest for them was singing the Spanish songs. I think over time they won’t be embarrassed and will sing at the top of their lungs.
Overall, it was a great experience, and we expect it will be even better next time! Joseph proudly said, ‘I didn’t think it would be this rewarding to see them go from no understanding to being able to speak in Spanish’. To be a part of their learning meant a lot to us. Not to mention, it was a blast!’
Riccardo (Lower Sixth)