The British School of Barcelona has just launched the 12th edition of the Language Assistance (LA) Programme. In collaboration with 90 participating educational centres in all Catalonia, the “Sharing to Learn” project is an extremely enriching initiative, by which Pre-University students volunteer as language assistants to visit local schools once a week and support younger pupils with their learning of English, especially as it comes to oral communication skills (speaking and listening).
As part of their CAS (Community, Active, Service) core curriculum, BSB Nexus students are given the option to choose to sign up for the LA programme at the beginning of each academic year. This is an opportunity for them to use their talents and passions to help local children build skills in English, whilst developing their self-confidence, leadership skills and motivational capabilities. By the end of the school year students are expected to have gained important, transferable skills to help them in their career, whatever industry they choose to work in.
“Sharing To Learn” has now become so successful that no less than thirty-two students from Year 12 have signed up for the programme this year. “We think that such a big interest builds upon excellent experience from last year and students’ honest and thoughtful reflections”, Mrs Kovak, IB and CAS Co-ordinator, explains.
A Year 13 student summarised her LA experience as follows: “I have never taught before, and to do this for the first time was very eye opening because I never thought that teaching could be so fun, to be honest, I never thought that there was more to it. So, I wanted to try this CAS project because I have never taught before and I had never done community work before, and I believed it would be an enriching experience. At the start there were also challenges, like with any new experience. I was worried about how I would build the trust with the kids because they saw us as grown-ups and strangers who speak a different language, but with time we managed to overcome that and build a relationship with them to help them. I think that definitely one of the things I’ve liked most about the language assistance programme was that I have managed to see the progress of the kids from the very first day to the last day and I thought that was very special. I have ended up considering becoming a teacher just because I’ve liked it so much.”