We were delighted to host a group of trainee English language teachers all the way from Russia last April. The ten second year students from Kolomna State Pedagogical Institute near Moscow spent two weeks at our campus in Dublin City Centre and by all accounts everyone left the course with a keen sense of achievement.
“We have done this for about three or four years now,” says group leader, Natalya Akhrenova. “You are nearly the only school that does teacher training in Ireland and accepts our students and our students are future teachers and they need experience of teaching and to see methodologies that you use here in Ireland. And besides, it’s cheaper here than it is in England.”
Though several of her colleagues have been to Oscars International before, it’s Natalya’s first time in Dublin.
“I enjoyed it very much and I enjoyed the classes,” she says. “There was lots of differences between the ways that you teach and how we teach and I learnt a lot and so did the students. I thought the atmosphere was friendly and helpful. I enjoyed all the tours that the school gave which were included in the package. We had a very nice time here.”
For some of the students it was their first time teaching in front of a classroom of students – a daunting task in your mother tongue, not to mention a non-native language.
“They managed to overcome their nerves over all and they did very well,” says Natalya.
The students stayed with host families and were therefore able to use English in what Natalia calls “natural circumstances”.
“I stayed with a very friendly family of five,” says 19-year-old teacher trainee, Kate. “They have a six-year-old and it was my first time communicating with English speaking children so it was difficult. I couldn’t understand the first word but in time I understood and we played together quite a bit.”
“It’s my first time abroad and it’s very useful to speak in only English, with other teachers and with students and to see other teachers’ classes. In the past I only spoke with European people but here I got to speak to Brazilians, Uruguayans, people from Korea and Mexico so it was good to hear the different accents. I think I got more experience in two weeks than I got in two years.”
“It’s always great having the Russian trainees here every year,” says Course Coordinator, Neil Davison. “It’s become a regular fixture of our school year and we really look forward to it. This year’s group took it very seriously, but we had a lot of fun too. They had so much enthusiasm and it was great to see it being put to such good use. It was pretty intensive and they really rose to the challenge. By the end if it they were engaging very well with our students and it was a joy to watch. They really were a great bunch and I wish them all the best with their future careers.”
“It’s been a great experience for them,” says Natalya. “They got lots of exposure tot he culture through the tours and their host families and to see people teaching in different ways, it broadens their horizons and gives them invaluable experience.”