Activities of Engagement

Our second day in the schools of Beja and outlying municipalities was filled with activities of engagement. The volunteers actively worked to engage the students and teachers in their respective educational settings with introductory conversational English speaking opportunities.

At the vocational-technical school, Joanne and Marcia enticed reluctant speakers and interested students, focusing on the topic of environment, to converse in English.

At the Escola Secundaria com 3 Ciclo D Manuel 1 de Beja, Constance and Judy mentored and facilitated students to reflect on factors they deem significant when submitting applications for employment. They engaged students in a written exercise to compare and contrast approaches and strategies used to enter the work force in the United States versus Portugal.

Transported by train, Tim and Peggy went to the municipal school in Cuba. Upon arrival they received an introductory tour of the school. Both teams taught classes engaging the students in conversation about the United States, after a preliminary introduction about their personal backgrounds. Both were enlightened with the ways of the school and socio-cultural differences between the urban versus rural settings. In addition, they were treated like royalty to a sumptuous gastronomical noon meal delight.

An adventure in orienteering prefaced Kathleen A.’s day as she circuitously made her way to the Escola de Santa Maria on a timely basis. She, also, promoted student conversational English. Kathleen A. met many motivated teachers excited about the united effort to meld an effective educational curriculum for the EU Program.

At the Poly-Technical University, Janice and Keith provided their students with a “high tech” presentation of their students’ requested topics. They prefaced their session with introductory information about themselves and their background.

Off to Vidigueria, on the school bus, were Joanie and Beatrice. At their school, in an outlying municipality from Beja, they worked with students provided with alternative educational learning tracks. They found the students to be very respectful, and all were proud of their beautiful community and local museum.

At the Escola de Santiago Maior in Beja, Brenda and Kathleen provided conversational English experience in a multi-level Portuguese class. They also team taught a delightful group of twenty-four students at the eighth grade level. These eighth grade students were not only engaged, but enthusiastic to converse. They were observed to be extremely supportive of their fellow classmates struggling to respond in English.

All in all, the day was full of varied experiences culminating with a half-hour of intense basic Portuguese language lesson provided by Joachim Mosca, wrap-up meeting session with Phyllis, journal reading/thought of the day and wonderful meal at our local Beja restaurant, Pastelaria Café bar A Merenda.

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