It's the second week of the program and Brendon and I have decided to change things up a bit in the way we publish the blog. This term we are going to give the students more of a voice by posting up their reflection on the day. We are extremely thankful that everyone feels comfortable enough to publish these posts and to share their personal experience. This week we have Sophie reflecting on the Wednesday, Ali reflecting the Thursday and Poppy reviewing the Friday.
Today, as soon as we arrived at the station, we got onto the bus and went right to Collingwood English language school (CELS). Since we had already done plenty of planning the previous Friday in the city, we all knew what we were doing. Today was the first time Louis was able to come, because he was sick for all of last week, so we made sure to make him feel welcome, and quickly, he was part of the group as much as anyone else. When we met the CELS students, we didn’t know how well they were going to be able to understand us, but from the start, we were able to gage it, and they really surprised me with how much English they all knew. We began with a simple naming game, where I learned a few names. I remember Jason, Earth, Abdi (full name was Abdurahman, and I know that because I have a friend with that name and we also call him Abdi.) and DJ. After that, we did another ice- breaker activity, which was Jas and Ali’s rhythm game, which even I felt was difficult to understand with just a verbal explanation, but once we got into the game, everyone started to understand. I thought that was a really good game for us to do with the CELS students because it didn’t involve speaking at all, and music is a universal language. After that, we went outside to the basketball courts, where Yota and I introduced dodge-ball. We played 3 rounds because everyone was having so much fun. Since dodge-ball is also quite a universal game, it didn't require much explaining and the CELS students picked it up very quickly. I really enjoyed our time with the CELS students today :) After that, we met a man named Steve, who took us through a bike course as well as taught us a bit about bike safety, including the ABCDE acronym. The workshop was especially difficult when we needed to ride slowly, close to each other and make sharp turns. We all rated ourselves high, including myself, but when it came to completing the challenges, we had a bit of difficulty. After that, I feel like I'm more of a 3 than a 5 but I'll be well on my way to being a 5. Today was a lot of fun and I think I learned valuable things about bike safety.
Today wasn't as interesting as the others days so far as we mainly did desk work and nothing really hands on but it was good to see the people from CELS and I got to give DJ my letter today so it was good that he got to get to know me more. Sadly they did not bring their letters so he just told me about himself. The planning for them coming wasn't as hard as before as we knew how much English they speak, how old they were and all round had a lot more experience with them than before. I found it fun playing dodge-ball again I wasn't as good as I was last time but I still got a few people out. I did think it was good for the people from CELS to play a game that they had already learnt as they had to take in a lot of information today on the bike safety ABCDD. It was nice teaching them this as they were very good listeners although they would have to be to pick up English so fast. Today did get a bit slow paced at times but i find it went well and we were quite successful in teaching them bike safety.
Caving is where you travel through an underground cave, climbing and squeezing through the ledges and tight spots until you find a way out. Once we had arrived, everyone put on a jumpsuit (that made us look like the ghostbusters) and a helmet to protect us from injury. Before we started, we were asked to rate how we were feeling out of ten; one, being really confident and at ease about it, and ten, being completely terrified and not wanting to participate. I wasn’t looking forward to caving and can get a bit claustrophobic, so I gave myself a seven. My friends were very supportive and helped me gain enough confidence to enter the cave, and ten minutes in, I had gone down to a two. Throughout the day, everyone had a turn at being the designated leader, and navigated the rest of the group through the case, making sure to stop every few minutes and check that everyone was ok. Some strategies that we used to get the group through the cave safely were each having assigned numbers that we would call out when the leader said so, making sure there was always someone behind you and alerting them of anything important, such as puddles or tight fits. These required everyone to take on some peer leadership and take responsibility for other people in the group so that collectively, we all made it out of the cave safely and were as comfortable as possible. After I finished, I was proud of myself and had managed to enjoy caving, although I probably won’t do it again. I learned that even when I’m put in a spot that pushes at my comfort zone, I can always appreciate the beauty of the place that I’m in, and make the most out of a situation. The creek inside of the cave was lovely and there was gold stuff everywhere, which added to the natural beauty. On the ride home, I enjoyed singing along to all the songs on the playlist, with the rest of the group.