“Putting pupils in touch with kids in other countries makes an enormous difference. It really brings language teaching alive. At a basic level, it’s about communication.”
Since we started to develop the MatchMySchool website, we’ve spoken to lots of language teachers about their experiences and why linking up with classes and kids in other countries really makes a difference. One of these teachers is Cécile Sadmi, who teaches English in a secondary school near Lille in Northern France. Over the course of her career, Cécile has developed contacts in a number of countries overseas. “Putting pupils in touch with kids in other countries makes an enormous difference. It really brings language teaching alive. At a basic level, it’s about communication.”
Keep it simple
Keeping it simple is often the best approach. After she’d made links with a school in Turkey, Cécile arranged for the pupils in both teachers’ classes to write and exchange letters in English. “It meant so much for the children. They never usually receive letters, so when we got Aisha’s box, with a letter for every child and little gifts too, they were so excited. It was wonderful what an impact it had for every kid to get a letter.”
“It was wonderful what an impact it had for every kid to get a letter.”
Encouraged by the success of this experiment, Cécile went on to reach out to schools in India and Cambodia too. “My pupils could see how different their lives were from the those of children in other parts of the world. In India, everything was different – the food, the weather. The children’s life styles were different too – it was a real eye-opener for them. In Cambodia, learning English is seen as so important. It’s seen as a way to have a different sort of life, so the children there were really enthusiastic.”
Asked if she would continue looking for ways to help her pupils connect with others abroad, Cécile was unequivocal. “Definitely. Finding ways to let the children use what they’ve learned means it’s not just theoretical. Also, the children learn from each other. The beauty of it is it doesn’t feel like a lesson. They want to know the vocabulary and everything because they want to connect with each other.”.