Monday, July 11, 2016

English Practicum 2016 and Another Visitor!

This past semester, I once again taught the introduction to our Culture and Language Acquisition (CLA) program.  It was the first time I have repeated a course here at Etnos, and I was excited to give it some tweaks and improvements!  On the whole, I think it was a much more solid class than the first time.  To end the semester, the students spent 3 weeks studying English here on campus to practice what they have learned and get a feel for how the program works.

Three student gals baking with Kaylee and the girls
This year was much different than the last time we did this practicum.  With all that has been going on the past couple months, we still haven't regained the stability we would like to have and on top of it all, we went into it with practically the whole family sick. Most of us recovered quickly, but Kaylee continued to suffer through the entire first half.  Thankfully, we had enough other English speakers on campus that it wasn't a hindrance to the program.

The practice is as much a reflection of how I have taught as much as it is about the students' ability, so of course now I have lots more thoughts about how to improve my class again!

The BIG highlight this year was that my nephew Michael joined us!  It was his first time travelling internationally and was quite the adventure.  He helped me with several projects that were not only helpful for me, but gave the students the opportunity to observe and listen to us work.  He was also Jilmer's language helper, spending an hour each day helping him improve his vocabulary.

Michael cutting back mango trees blocking the lights on the
volleyball court (and burning a wasp nest)
Frying donuts for breakfast
Building shelves for our house
In spite of the craziness of running the English program, we managed to get him some good Bolivian experiences, too:

Checking out a jaguar at the Santa Cruz Zoo
Visiting Santa Cruz's central plaza and cathedral

Grabbing a café con leche in the plaza
Dining "out," his last night in Bolivia
My favorite part of his visit was his last Saturday, when he and I went on an adventure to find a beautiful waterfall west of us on the edge of the mountains.  But you'll have to read more about that over at the Tinker Thinker blog:  click here for photos and video!

Michael taking a gander at the 295-foot drop!