Monday, April 30, 2012

Walk the Line: Wednesday Night at the English School

Every other Wednesday evening at CIS there’s an optional English activity wherein Emily plans something awesome such as “Article Club” or “Game Night”, and most of the volunteer English teachers attend and some of the English students show up, and we have a fun time mixing students and teachers and levels and languages.

This past Wednesday we had a “Cultural Exchange”. What began last teaching cycle as a lecture/slideshow-type activity transformed this cycle into something more interactive and, we hope, even more stimulating of learning language and sharing cultural values. Each of the teachers had set up a little booth with some visual information of their hometown/state/country which varied from as near together as Minnesota and Wisconsin to as far away as Maine and Australia with a couple in between (Arkansas and Oregon – okay, it was a pretty U.S.-centric exhibition, but I digress).

We set out a variety of U.S.-inspired food fare including buttermilk pancakes, Wisconsin-style cheese, and apples from the Northwestern U.S. and began the evening as a kind of cocktail-hour-milling-about-time during which the English students were free to (and did!) nosh and schmooze about the room, learning about our different home realities as we learned more about theirs’ as well (“that’s what it’s like in Maine, so what’s it like in your hometown?).

After cocktail-hour-milling-about-time, a couple of us taught some dance forms that we do at home, namely country line and Irish set dancing. As we danced to Johnny Cash and traditional Irish music and experienced culture from a more visceral place in ourselves, I marveled at the universality of having fun and looking silly.

All in all, it was a lovely night to walk the line.

By Rachel Winograd

Some students even took a video!

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