After learning from home in the first part of 2020, Dunedin ELP staff and learners returned to the classroom with a newfound appreciation of being together and of life in Dunedin. Classes marked the end of the year through outings that connected them to their local community and environment.
The return to face to face learning after lockdown brought a newfound appreciation for being together in the physical classroom, and learners also expressed a desire to know more about their immediate surrounds. When asked by teachers what they wanted to focus on, learners expressed enthusiasm for exploring the local environment of Dunedin. As we moved down alert levels, field trips became a possibility and teachers and learners planned class outings together.
Class outings provide an excellent learning focus. After practising language in class, learners have the opportunity to use language in an authentic context. These opportunities for communication outside the classroom can enhance learners’ confidence to use English in their daily lives. Field trips also generate rich vocabulary, which can be further explored back in the classroom. And of course, field trips also increase connection to the local environment and foster a sense of belonging.
Here are a few examples of learners enjoying learning outside the classroom from Term 4, 2020.
The Tuesday and Thursday English Language Group planned and enjoyed a splendid spring morning outing focussing on urban nature in St Clair. They collected leaves and then displayed and described them, noting their different shapes and textures. Learners then wrote and shared descriptions of the leaves.
2020 saw a renewed interest in growing food at home and the learners at the King Edward Court ESOL Literacy class were no exception. Planting seeds together in class was a great opportunity to learn new vocabulary and share skills and knowledge. Learners embraced the opportunity to develop practical gardening skills and learn about growing vegetables in the Dunedin climate. To complete the unit on gardening, the class enjoyed an outing to their teacher’s garden. Each learner left with a tomato seedling and the knowledge of how to care for it.
The Macandrew Road ESOL Literacy class decided to visit the South Dunedin Pop-up Library. The library staff were very helpful and showed everyone how to borrow books and access Wifi. During the visit, three learners completed application forms and got Dunedin library cards, so that everyone in the class had a library card and the knowledge of how and where to use it with their families over the summer break.
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