Developing Recreational Learning Opportunity for ESL

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Developing Recreational Learning Opportunity for ESL

Post by S.F. » Wed Jul 27, 2005 5:34 pm

Hello, Bonjour! My name is Sarah, I am new to the forum. I am not an ESL teacher, however I am trying to make connections with people who are experienced in this area. I am employed by Parks Canada Agency and work at the Motherwell Homestead National Historic Site in Saskatchewan. I have worked as a heritage interpreter for 10 years and have just been assigned the task of developing an on-site program suited to English Second Language visitors.
The Motherwell Homestead is a farmstead which is restored to the early settlement period on the prairies (1912). We have a 'living history' program that recreates this chapter of the past. Visitors meet interpretive staff in period costume. The original fieldstone house and barn are restored and open to the public. We have a variety of farm animals on site.
I have begun researching ESL recreational opportunities already being offered to the public, but have not found a great deal of information. I believe that out of classroom learning experiences (such as a visit to Motherwell Homestead) could be a great benefit to ESL students.
What do ESL teachers expect when organizing out of classroom excursions for their students? How much focus should I put on the site history (Settlement of the prairies/Ontarian Influence/Motherwell's role as Minister of Agriculture Provincially and Federally/ Scientific Farming, etc.)
Our ESL visitors are usually adult learners, arriving in large groups, from a variety of backgrounds. They possess a range of english language skills from beginner to advanced.
If anyone has any advice or suggestions for me I would greatly appreciate your help. Thank-you, Sarah.

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Post by emile » Mon Aug 01, 2005 1:17 am

I think a lot of teachers take their students out for trips, but not many put so much thought into it, it's just a nice break from the classroom, especially when the students are on intensive English courses.

However, I think your farmstead excursion would definitely appeal to ESL teachers if they felt that the tour would be conducted by someone sensitive to various cultures and who could grade their language so that the beginners could understand, too. Maybe you could produce learning packs for ESL students on the tour with vocabulary and simplified descriptions and so on, or even somevocab translations for beginner students.

Carol Keeney
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Post by Carol Keeney » Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:21 pm

It sounds like a wonderful program but if the students do not understand what they are hearing, you run the risk of losing their attention. I would use try to appeal to the senses of sight and touch when planning any activity. This does involve seeing the people dressed up in costume and you might want to include a short video when they arrive. Is it possible to think of an activity they could take part in? Think simple arts and craft or some type of activity. I know when people visit a mine at an amusement park they have the opportunity to "Mine" for gold. Even if they do not catch the history section they do remember some things about the mine because they were involved.Good luck to you. You might want to check out my new book which approaches teaching through the metaphor of the stage. That's what we are all involved with...entertainment. Carol Keeney

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