Extracurricular Educational Project in Montearagon

With regard to the educational project that is in place in Montearagón, it is one that is derived from the original project as proposed upon the founding of the Fomento Enseñanza organization. To begin, I will list the various educational pedagogical aims that are in place at Montearagón, following this, there will then be a discussion regarding the various educational projects that are undertaken at the school.

The pedagogical aims of Montearagón are as follows; To help the parents of the students to give their children a quality education, inspired by a transcendent vision of human existence, and on the principle of dignity of the personal characteristic of the Christian spirit; A quality and comprehensive education, A personalized education, Giving individualized attention to each family and each student, Promote the development of human virtues and civic virtues, Promote equality and respect between men and women, Promote the work, personal and team effort of the student as the main educational means and basis of their training, Develop multilingual competence (with a focus on English), Promote permanent teacher training, as well as educational research and innovation, Promote training activities to all members of the educational community, Self-evaluation and reflection (Fomento.

edu/Montearagón, 2019). Each of these pedagogical aims is equal in importance and are the keystones of delivering education at Montearagón.

As well as their pedagogical aims there are various active educational projects in Montearagón. These are as follows; Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), which is teaching a subject through a language which is not the primary language of the student for example History through English; Google Schools programme, an initiative taken by Google to integrate technology into schools, Montearagón being one of the representative schools in Aragón (Heraldo.

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es, 2019); Child Talks, a speaking orientated programme which allows students to express their opinions, ideas and knowledge through the means of English; Maths Made Fun, a project in which students incorporate mathematical reasoning in a fun way; Walking into English, a programme aimed at developing students English skills through the subjects of Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Art; Visiting Those With Needs, a project in which students, in small groups, visit nursing homes of the elderly or disabled and keep them company once a week; English Corner + Speaking Time.

this is a project where students are able to talk to native speakers of English in small groups; Drama Walking into English; a drama project where students perform a drama class through English; Scratch, a programming platform that allows students to learn with their computers through making videos and games; STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), a programme that includes the integration of various different methodologies that promote logical thinking and experimentation; Robotics, a project aimed at introducing students into the field of robotics; Emprennde, an entrepreneurship programme dedicated towards the development of students for the future; and Debate, a programme that is aimed towards developing and honing students skills in the field of debate (Fomento.edu, 2020).

It can be concluded that the Colegio de Fomento Montearagón has quite a vast portfolio of educational projects, promoting subjects from English to Science and Social Sciences. With this substantial investment in educational projects tied with their pedagogical goals, it is evident that Montearagón utilizes all their resources to the maximum capacity providing a very high level of education.

Upon arrival at the Colegio de Fomento Montearagón, I was assigned various different roles as a Language Assistant, many of which evolved and changed throughout the year. To begin, there will be a brief description of what my role was as a Language Assistant in general, following this, the analysis will be divided into 3 different sections, based upon the trimestral structure in place at Montearagón. The trimesters at Montearagón were structured as follows; Trimester 1, the 16th of September until the 26th of November; Trimester 2, the 27th of November until the 3rd of March; and Trimester 3, the 4th of March until the end of the school year, 17th of June. Each section will include a description of the activities that were done, how they were conducted, and how these roles evolved throughout the trimesters.

With regards to Trimester 1, there will be a list of the responsibilities listed and following this a description of what each entailed. Upon beginning in Montearagón I was assigned the following responsibilities: Teach curricular English classes with a group from 2ESO, 3ESO, and 4ESO and do a ‘Speaker’s Corner’ with 2ESO, 3ESO, and 4ESO. Thus, at the beginning of the year, my duties were very straightforward and easily managed. The two other English teachers at the school had already created a syllabus for the upcoming year which made the outline of what my teaching responsibilities were. I, however, had the fortune to be given the group of students who, in each respective year, had the highest level of English, while the other two teachers split the rest of the students into two other groups. As well as the syllabus, I was also given a textbook, workbook, and teacher guide for each of the classes I was teaching.

Each of these books, (Prepare 5, Prepare 6 and Prepare 7) was very useful in teaching the classes as it had various activities covering all four key concepts of English: Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening. Thus, after every 4 chapters in the book the students were given an exam on these chapters which subsequently contributed towards the students’ grades that were sent home in the evaluations during the trimester. During the trimester there were two parent-teacher meetings, unlike many schools in Montearagón, as stated in their values and principles, parents had a very close, hands-on relationship with the school and had two parent-teacher meetings per trimester. This parent-teacher meeting involved a teacher who was assigned to their child who discussed all of the students’ grades with the parents after reports from each individual subject, these were known as ‘Teacher Advisors’. With this, in the first trimester, most of my responsibilities in the classroom were preparing the students for these exams, revising material they had covered in previous years at school, and trying to get the students to engage and speak more English.

Thus, on a weekly basis, my classes normally consisted of an amalgamation of all four literacy skills with one day dedicated to solely speaking. During this day of solely speaking I would normally either play group orientated games with students such as debates, ‘you be the teacher’ (which consisted of allowing students to be the teacher and revise some of the content we have covered whether it be grammar or vocabulary), ‘Who’s telling the truth’ or the ‘Desert Island Activity’, all to which the students interacted and responded to with great enthusiasm. Along with these activities, I was also allowed the flexibility to cover my own topics as well. These topics ranged from journals, news reports to film reviews. This flexibility was granted due to the capabilities of my students to work at a fast pace. Though working at a fast pace the students were all on the same level of understanding, with some even superseding their abilities at times. Other responsibilities included correcting students’ homework on a regular basis and, even though I was not obliged to do so, correcting their exams as well.

Concerning the ‘Speakers Corner’, I was assigned 28 groups of approximately 5 or 6 students and was tasked with taking them from class, once a week, for a 15-minute session, solely for the purposes of speaking practice. Upon being given these groups, I was tasked with assigning these groups a specific time in the week to take them for their session, filling up the available slots in my timetable where I was not teaching a curricular class. Having organised my timetable with the appropriate time slots, I started taking the students for their session which normally consisted of playing small games such as hangman, taboo, Pictionary, charades, stop the bus or one of the various games that I play with my students in their curricular classes. As the weeks progressed it was clear to see that the students were enjoying these 15 minute weekly sessions in the ‘Speakers Corner’. However, during the week before the final week of the trimester, the 18th to the 22nd of November, the school had their annual Cambridge Exams.

The purpose of these exams was to assess students based on their results to organise those who will be preparing to take the exams the following May/ June. Following these exams, the ‘Speakers Corner’ groups were readjusted to cater for those who were going to be taking the exams. Thus, my role doing the ‘Speakers Corner’ was to change as I was now assigned to be assigned groups preparing for Cambridge exams as well as those who were not taking the exams who were to continue with the regular ‘Speakers Corner’. Following this division of groups, I was given the responsibility of tutoring 3 groups taking the KET exams and 3 groups taking the FIRST exams, these groups were broken down like so; KET, 2 groups from 1ESO (one group was a mix of 1ESOA and 1ESOB) and 1 group from 2ESO; FIRST, 1 mixed group of 2ESO and 3ESO students and 2 groups of 4ESO (one group was a mix of 4ESOA and 4ESOB) students. At this stage, I was also assigned new speakers corner groups from 1ESO as well as those who were not taking exams in 2ESO, 3ESO and 4ESO, which resulted in a total of 16 speakers groups for the rest of the year.

Another important role I was assigned was to keep a record of grades from the work students had completed throughout the year. The record I kept was to contribute towards the grade the student had sent home for the inter evaluations that they had every semester. This record ranged from different activities I assigned them, class tests, and completion of homework. Also, before every evaluation, I was required to attend a meeting on a Tuesday evening after school, thus twice per trimester. The purpose of this meeting was to meet with the other teachers from the respective classes and discuss the grades of the students and answer any queries there may have been. For example, if a student’s grade dropped from the previous Trimester or inter evaluation, I would have to provide justification for why their grade dropped, whether it be from a poor exam result or not having completed activities they were assigned. These meetings also helped provide clarity between the teachers so they would all be on the same level regarding the performance of a student and allow them to give the parents an in-depth review of their child.

In Trimester 2 my roles in the classroom remained similar to those in the previous trimester. I continued to teach 2ESO, 3ESO, and 4ESO the curricular classes in line with the syllabus as well as continuing to conduct the once a week speaking class. As well as teaching the curricular classes, as mentioned, I began taking the groups that were preparing for the Cambridge exams. However, with these Cambridge classes, there was a 50 minute period assigned to the groups that were from the same class, for example, students solely from 1ESOA, by the class Adjunto or Class Deputy. Whereas, with the mixed groups I had to find a suitable slot where I was free to take them and where the students were not doing a curricular subject like mathematics or Spanish.

As with regard to the ‘Speakers Corner’ groups, I was free to take those groups whenever I had the available time slot to do so. The Cambridge exam preparation group classes consisted of taking the students for a 50-minute session where we focused solely on doing Cambridge exercises. The material provided for this class was through the respective trainer books for each level, KET and FIRST. In these books, there are various exercises as well as sample papers to complete. During the class, the students would do the exercises, with my assistance if they needed it, and we would correct them as a group after they had completed them and I would explain why each answer was the answer had they needed the help. Along with conducting these exercises, I was also required to produce productive and critical feedback to the students and help them in the areas where they may have been having difficulties. Along with doing these exercises I also corrected their writing exercises on a weekly basis, providing constructive criticism, explaining to students where they could improve their writing, and how they could do so.

The ‘Speakers Corner’ sessions continued as they previously had during the previous trimester, however, depending on the group taken I began to challenge the students a little more, looking for them to produce slightly more advanced vocabulary than they previously had during their ‘Speakers Corner’. To my pleasant surprise, the younger students were very keen on doing so, a lot of them trying very hard to impress me, the native English speaker. Also during Trimester 2, I was given the duty to take a group from 6th Primary on a bi-weekly basis for the ‘Speakers Corner’, during which we played more conventionalised games suited to their level, albeit for their age they put a tremendous amount of effort and energy into the activities we did.

The 3rd Trimester began on the 4th of March. It was during this trimester that my role as a language assistant had a complete transformation due to the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-19 disease, commonly known as Covid-19 or the Coronavirus. Up until the 13th of March 2020, my roles and responsibilities as a language assistant had remained the same as they had in the previous trimester, teaching the 3 curricular classes, taking students for the Cambridge preparation classes and taking the small groups out of class for the ‘Speakers Corner’. However, beginning the following week on the 16th of March, we began to teach our classrooms online via Google Classroom.

This meant I was now responsible for the creation of an online classroom for my 3 curricular classes and my 6 Cambridge preparation classes, the small ‘Speakers Corner’ groups were cancelled due to the difficulty of carrying out these classes. Before we went into the stage of teaching online, a meeting was held in the English department and it was agreed we would now begin the annual Cambridge preparation with all classes. Having created the classrooms I had to assign each class I had a number of activities to do on a weekly basis. In order to assign the students their weekly tasks, I had to create a self-evaluation Google Form and assign them Cambridge activities based on their level. Thus, with 2ESO, the class was split into two groups, those doing PET were assigned PET activities and those doing FIRST were assigned FIRST activities, in 3ESO and 4ESO all students were assigned C1 activities.

Though the C1 activities are of a very advanced level for the age of the students, their performance rate was exceptionally high. As well as creating the work, the teachers had an online document in which I was required to keep updated regularly with the activities I was assigning the students, as well as, record those who were and were not completing their homework activities. Along with this, I was required to be active on the Google Classroom and my school email account to answer any questions students may have. This was the system in place up until the Easter break (6th to the 13th of April). After the Easter break, I was required to begin doing Google Meets with the students. Google Meet is a platform similar to Skype where users may initiate a video call as well as present their screen with information.

At this stage also our classes had been for 30 minutes a day, based upon the student’s timetable. This meant I had class, with 2ESO and 4ESO 4 times a week and 3ESO 3 times a week. With regard to the Cambridge preparation classes, they stayed the same with the assignment of 1 activity per week. At the end of April, it was decided that classes would be extended to 45 minutes per session with more of an emphasis on Google Meets. The standard class, in-turn consisted of assigning students a Cambridge activity and allowing them 25 minutes to complete it and spending the last 20 minutes of class on a Google Meet answering questions regarding the homework as well as playing games with the students like Quizizz or Kahoot for example. During this time of teaching at home as well, there have been many online meetings with the other teachers at the school in which there has been a record kept to ensure that student’s parents are kept up to date with the progression and growth of their education.

Overall, at the beginning of the school year, I was assigned 3 straightforward roles: 1. Teach the curricular classes, 2. Take small groups out of class for the ‘Speaker’s Corner’ and, 3. Keeping a record of student’s performances. As they progressed, however, these roles evolved and changed with the introduction of the Cambridge preparation groups and ultimately with the beginning of the teaching online from home due to the Coronavirus outbreak. As a language assistant, these roles have had a positive impact and have shown the various different aspects of teaching English as a foreign language in diversified circumstances.

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Extracurricular Educational Project in Montearagon. (2022, Jan 07). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/extracurricular-educational-project-in-montearagon-essay

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