July 10. A six-hour delayed flight. The airport bus finally arrived in Dublin. Trinity College on the left, a traditional Irish pub on the right. Just enough time to locate a TV screen and watch the last two minutes of the Euro 2016 Final. Result: Portugal, European champions!
That’s how my English & Culture (Methodology for teachers of English) Course started.
July 11. The English Matters team gathered the more than 100 pieces from the puzzle and grouped them into four courses and classes. Tutor Ann Marie’s class got fifteen enthusiastic pieces from Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Croatia, Turkey, Greece and Portugal! Making those pieces fit together would be our task for the next twelve days.
The Inquiry-based learning project worked as the perfect launch pad: four small groups exploring the city, teachers getting to know each other, as well as the Irish – questioning, collecting data, reporting findings… teamwork at its best, right from the start! A pleasant way to feel the city’s atmosphere and allow oneself experience the huge kindness of Dubliners.
Those twelve days started moving forward too fast, just like holidays, which they were not…
Twelve days of a “workshake”: creative writing (how I loved taking active part in it!), a brisk talk on ICT (a bunch of ideas!), reading and writing activities (a country awarded four Literature Nobel Prizes, not to mention such notable Irish writers as Wilde, Meehan, Kavanagh, Doyle…), sharing resources and experiences (you wouldn’t believe how creative and hardworking European teachers can be!), snapshots of Irish cinema, music and art (more ideas for the classroom!), a ©ontexts4Content focus with Field Projects (guided visits to exhibitions, to Irish landmarks…), social activities (traditional Irish music and Ceili Dances that made me sweat…), and a Food Fair (what an amazing idea to allow for a taste of European Food!), all of this wrapped in an Erasmus PLUS spirit!
July 22. Inevitable departure. Time for formal evaluation – reflective journal, Inquiry-based learning presentation, 3 slides presentation…
July 22. On board the plane, time for inner evaluation: Language refreshment; Personal and professional development; Deep cultural understanding; New friendships. Completed puzzle.
Féach leat go luath! (See you soon)
Ângela Rafael (Portugal)