Saturday, 17 August 2013

English workshop (short duration) for 11-12 year olds - The 14th and 16th of August 2013


Because of the 15th of August being a public holiday the children spent the whole 14th with me. We decided to prepare the adaptation of an Indonesian legend to a theatrical-like play in English for the parents on Friday.

It was quite a challenge for us all as we chose who did and had to read what. Not only did they enjoy the legend but also the fact that they actively participated in its adaptation. We had our first rehearsal (in the classroom) for a colleague of mine who came to take some photos and the moment they realised  he had enjoyed their "performance" they felt a lot more confident.

We watched a "cartoon" film without any sound to which they had to "give voice" as the story unfolded and it was quite interesting to see how they got engaged into this activity and to which extent some of them were capable of anticipating the next action, as well as try to express it in English (simple sentences).

They continued doing their artistic works and once they had one hour some managed to finish them by late afternoon before we had a second rehearsal this time in the auditorium, where the presentation would take place. 

I had two people sit in to provide them with their opinions as far as the tone of their voices was concerned, as well as the intelligibility of the narration and the performances of the "king" and "ogre" of "our" play. These proved to be very important for them as they corresponded to the perspectives of potential people from the audience and they all sounded and looked determined to perform well the following day.

On the 16th every child seemed to be excited and nervous, but so was, I must admit (as well as absolutely exhausted). One of the artistic works had to be finished but we still had time to do one more crosswords and watch a short documentary in English (with subtitles in English) before the final rehearsal until parents and guest started arriving.

I decided to invite my former Air Traffic Control abinitio students both from Cape Verde and Portugal and some resident teachers (who are still at the training school during this period of time) to sit in through the theatrical play, not only because I felt the children would like to see the auditorium full but also because having realised they were very determined in their purposes this might constitute a further challenge than just have the parents and grandparents sit in and listen to them.


As one of the concerns of one of the girls was the possibility that her grandfather might not understand what was going on, once he didn't speak English I felt the need to make a small introduction to the play and briefly say what each of them would be doing or who they would be impersonating (in the case of the "king" and the "ogre").

I must confess I had never heard them read so well in English, particularly because it was not an easy task but felt extremely proud that they did so and above all that the public reacted so warmly praising their performance with enthusiastic almost non-stopping clapping.

Note: All the photographs were taken by our colleague João de Barros, whom I would like to openly thank for the time and patience.

(To be continued)

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