Thursday, October 11, 2012

Children's English

Here's Jenni telling yall about Children's English. She's super nice.
          Hello Manna readers! I am Jenni, and one of the things I do is teach Manna’s Advanced Children’s English class. This class is held in our library every tuesday and thursday from 4-5:30pm. Knowing English is an extremely important and powerful tool in Ecuador. If you know English you have better career opportunities and generally speaking, can obtain a higher quality of life. It gives you more options. Because of this, our English classes are some of the most popular and fullest classes.

            Kids English is an interesting program because parents enroll their children for classes, not the kids themselves. The kids then are made to take extra classes when I am sure they would rather be playing with their friends after school. The largest class is Basic, with about 20 students, then intermediate with about 12 students, and then mine. I have 4 kids in my class and their ages range from 9-13 years old. I may be biased, but my students most incredible, sweet and smartest kids I know. They behave extremely well in classes, love to learn and pick up on everything so quickly! I am constantly amazed by how fast they can learn this difficult language. I LOVE my class!

            So I will admit that English classes can get pretty boring. The past few weeks in my english class have been very grammar heavy. We play games and have fun but overall its been a little dry. This week I introduced cooking/kitchen vocabulary and decided that it would be perfect to make something in class to make things more exiting. The kids deserved a fun day. I decided on no-bake granola bars: easy, can be made in a 1/2 hour, and delicious!

            During class I passed the recipe out to the kids and we translated it together, making sure to emphasize our vocab words (to measure, cup, teaspoon, mix, etc.). When I then announced we were going to make the bars their faces lit up: “Really, teacher?”. Then, they got even more excited when they realized the recipe called for peanutbutter. “You have peanut butter here?” they all asked. When I confirmed, yes, they all broke out in excitement. “I have never tried peanut butter before!!!” they all exclaimed.  They were so excited! They explained how they constantly see people eating peanutbutter out of the jar in American movies. It was pretty funny.

Explaining the recipe
Showing the kids how to measure 1 cup of cereal (in English!)

All of them wanted to help!

So much giggling as they press the bars into the pan!

They loved the peanutbutter/honey mixture we used to congeal the bars

Making the granola bars with the kids was incredibly fun. They all fought over who got to measure, mix, and press the bars into the pan. They all got to try peanutbutter, which I then explained you can buy here! (its just not very common to eat.) The bars sat while they took their weekly quiz and afterwards we all hung out and enjoyed our delicious granola bars.

This was by far my most fulfilling English class. The excitement from my kids, their enthusiasm to help and learn, and giving them an opportunity to try something new, really made me feel that somehow, in some tiny way, I was helping make their world a little better. And even if it was only for 30 minutes, that makes me incredibly happy.

- Love and peanutbutter -

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