With another academic year coming to a close, the teachers of Oxbridge Barcelona began to reflect on the year behind them and plan the ESL courses for the 2016-2017 academic year. We began by brainstorming on the activities and teaching methods that were well received by the students, but more importantly, helped students advance their English. Furthermore, we collaboratively identified new subjects and activities that could be offered to students in the following academic year.
We unanimously agreed that at the students were most engaged in subjects related to lifestyle
. We've had lifestyle courses before as well but now we would like to expand on the subject and create the following new topics in 2016-2017:
- Cuisine: To teach students about the ever-expanding world of gastronomy and introduce them to various culinary practices, food products, spices and assist them with vocabulary that could be used during their future trips.
- Traveling: Since many students enjoy and are active travellers, Oxbridge teachers felt that it would be beneficial to students to provide activities that would introduce new vocabulary and discussion topics along with English travelling tips which the students can utilize.
- Cultures: During 2015-2016, we discovered that students would often ask about different cultures and certain cultural items, expressions and vocabulary. We determined that activities designed to introduce students to various cultures through the English lens and language would be highly beneficial to students.
- Etiquette and Mannerism: Much like the cultural English, students often asked about the different global mannerisms ranging from common English practices to French, to Spanish and even other continents.
- Art, Literature, History and Music: While activities related to art and music have been provided to students in the past, they have been few and far in between. However, when they were provided with “arts and music” activities students showed a keen interest in the topics and were eager to learn. As a result, we agreed there was enough interest and enough content for the topic to warrant its own field.
- Science and Nature: Over the course of 2015-16 we worked with students in a diverse range of jobs of which some were science and nature related. As a result students would often ask questions regarding the issues or definition of words related to this field. Moving forward, we would like to introduce this as a stand-alone course to help students advance in this field.
- Recreational Activities and Sports: Factoring in the influence of sport and the active lifestyle that exists in Spain and Europe, it has become evident that the students would highly benefit from learning from both the vocabulary and sports related topics.
On a general level, we also noticed that while students were very motivated and interested to learn English expressions, idiom and phrasal verbs, they often found it difficult to remember it when it was presented to them in a list. However, when they were presented to them in the context of another activity, students were able to remember it better and used it correctly in future classes. Hence, we suggested that instead of separating expressions, idioms and phrasal verbs and teaching them as stand-alone vocabulary activities, in 2016-2017 activities, when applicable and possible, try to include 1 or expressions that relate to the topic.
Hopefully our ESL course designs for next academic year will be full of exciting activities for students. We look forward to seeing our students' reactions!