During the last week of Term 2, Palmerston North’s learners were still pretty excited about learning ‘together again’ after lockdown. So the question was put: “How did students LEARN TOGETHER long ago in New Zealand?”
We investigated how ‘school’ might look in the future and shared how school was today (for their children and grandchildren). We noted that school did not happen for about half the class because they had been busy helping with cultivating crops or, as one mentioned, “learning how to shoot”.
We did some work on subject names, dates, timetables and for the new learners in the ESOL-Literacy class, the labeling of school equipment. Now it was time to look at the ‘Yesterday School’.
Te Manawa Museum in Palmerston North has a programme called ‘Old School Days’ based in an actual little old school building. There were so many comparisons for our English Language Partners’ learners to make, like the wooden floor and the desks.
Comments were heard like “I had a tablet like this in Myanmar” and “I was surprised when I found coloured chalk”.
The Te Manawa ‘teacher’ was dressed suitably, and we learned about the rules for teachers in the olden days like no colourful clothing (unlike our lovely coloured Bhutanese scarves and necklaces) and no marriage, and fire lighting early each school morning.
The activity of writing with ink was hugely popular and many mastered it well! Even the blotched ones were carried proudly home, for good conversations with family members about their learning. The class were expert at rote learning of some sentences (a familiar style of learning) and doing the number work.
Photos provided another discussion topic for the class when they saw how students would often ride a horse to and from school, and they noticed the costumes worn. This class would have stayed ‘talking and doing’ much longer, had time permitted!
A visit to an ‘old school’ was an ideal location for much learning and could naturally be followed up with a visit to a Kiwi 2020 school.
If you know someone who could benefit from joining our classes, please contact your nearest English Language Partners centre! Our specialised, community-focused approach is tailored to all levels, from absolute beginners upwards, and our compassionate approach to language learning allows our newest Kiwis to join in, make new friends, and become self-sufficient in New Zealand.