Following my previous post on teaching retired people, I received a few emails and DM about it. Teaching retired people is not as trendy as teaching young learners, but yet, more and more seniors are learning a foreign language. Today, I want to write a project I started with a B1-B2 class last fall.
What is the project (task)?
This group has a nice dynamic, they have been together ( in the same class) for the past year, and they all like to travel. Quite naturally, the project was to organize the perfect weekend to London (which is one hour from our city, Lyon, by plane). In groups of 3, they had to create a timetable and activities, helped by some flyers and brochures I was able to provide. They had, then, to convince the other groups that their schedule was better.
How long was the initial task?
Our class is 90 minutes so it took initially two classes to prepare within groups, then to present to the others.
What happened after?
They voted for the perfect program, class was over but here was the hitch: they were now deeply motivated to organize a real weekend in London. I made a deal with them: if I had two or three helpers, I could organize the whole weekend. They all agreed, and soon enough, I was in front of my travel agency with two of my students. We found the perfect week to schedule our getaway altogether, they established a budget, and all of them decided which role they would endorse. The travel coordinator, the activity one, the accountant, even a referee! I pretty much had nothing to do at some point!
Not the entire class is participating to the trip: out of 15, only 3 are not coming. This means that we cannot focus entirely on our big project, a lot of work must be prepared at home (excel sheets etc…) I had to find another teacher to help me, as we had to split the group in two (not everybody wanted to do the same thing..)
The fact that we had to split the group made them research the attractions they wanted to do (museums, musicals…) and to present them to the other group.
What’s the teacher’s role?
As I said, at some point, I totally stepped back. Because my students were deeply motivated, I didn’t have much to do, except monitoring or providing ideas when they were a little bit stuck. I only had to lead to structure the schedule, as it was particularly noisy that day!
When is this famous getaway?
Our plane will take off on the 9th of April, in less than a month. I am stressed like hell, because this is the very first time I am doing such a thing! It’s quite risky, I had to get some help from a legal advisor, but organizing a trip is such an interesting experience, especially with highly motivated students that I am only focusing on the bright side of it!