My teacher course at the Linguaviva Centre in Dublin
05.-15.08.2014 Martina Busse
We were so glad about receiving a positive response to our Erasmus+ teacher training application and decided to start our activities immediately. After searching for suitable courses in the UK and Ireland for a while I decided to go to Dublin. I hadn't been there before and so I was really very curious about finding out about this country and its people.
The staff at the Dublin Linguaviva Centre really were very friendly and attentive. They informed me that the teacher training course “Teaching Methodology“ didn't have enough numbers. Instead they offered the course “ Immersion in Irish History, Culture and Literature“. This course was also addressed to non-native English teachers who wished, “for pedagogic purposes, to deepen their knowledge and appreciation of the great Irish literature tradition“. A look at their sample timetable made me decided to take this course because it promised really interesting aspects. Linguaviva then sent a questionnaire to find out about my individual interests and knowledge in the areas covered in the course. They also sent a reading list to prepare for the course.
Linguaviva also organised the accommodation. I chose to stay with a family (breakfast and dinner included) because I was interested in learning about how a Dublin family lives and hoped for some “chats in the kitchen“.
I took the plane from Düsseldorf to Dublin and then the airport transfer bus to my “family“. It turned out to be a very friendly lady of about 60, called Mrs Elliot, a widow, and a very good cook, who enjoyed having people around in her house. So we were three „students“ in her very nice and comfortable house which was about 15 min. by bus from the language school and Dublin city centre.
The Linguaviva Centre is located in an old Georgian building. It has all the modern facilities however it has preserved its Georgian elegance and style. On my first day the place was overcrowded with students from all over the world: Many Europeans like Spaniards and French but also Chinese and people of other Asian origins.
After a warm welcome and introduction to the place from Geraldine, one of the office ladies, I went to my course. We were only six students: three teachers from the Czech Republic, one French pensioner, a German former teacher and me. Our lecturer, Fiana Griffin, author of the book “Why Do the Irish...?”, started an extremely interesting and enjoyable course. Fiana put early and and modern Irish literature into the context of the story of Ireland's development from an oppressed colony to Celtic Tiger. Classes varied a lot but always included an element of language acquisition and ideas and techniques for using literature in the classroom. We had many opportunities to join in a lively discussion about all kinds of language, literature, political and social aspects and exchange our views and experiences. I learned a lot about the school system and teaching in the Czech Republic, too.
Of course, there was also some homework to do, which was mostly reading to prepare for the next classes but also a small project to prepare and present at the end of the course. I did a project on news coverage in Irish newspapers.
The course also included a package of special activities – usually in the afternoon hours. We had interesting guided city tours, readings, Beckett's “Waiting for Godot” and other activities like e. g. an Irish Dance Party. Here we joined other student groups and there was a chance to mix and exchange. This was very interesting and entertaining and I also learned a lot about the various motivations of the young Europeans to come to Dublin to improve their English.
Still there was some time to walk through the many beautiful parks and places of Dublin, taste a pint of Guinness in one of Dublin's many pubs or take a walk along the the river Liffey.
The two weeks passed by much too quickly and I returned home with many new impressions and ideas, a lot more confident about my profession. The Erasmus+ programme also made us English teachers cooperate much more which is a very positive side effect. For all those reasons our team of English teachers at the Börde-Berufskolleg in Soest are planning to implement such mobilities into our school's programme.