At Ingla education doesn’t stop at the threshold of the classroom. English is as much a culture as a language, and we encourage our students to explore that culture at its beating heart in London. In this spirit, to ring in the new year with new ideas, we recently organised an experimental week of educational/enrichment classes that we dubbed Week Zero. During Week Zero our students would have a themed lesson in the morning and then explore these themes, grammar, and vocabulary further in the afternoon with a trip or cultural activity. This provided them with the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in new language by using it and seeing it in context in the real world.
The next day in the classroom we went for slightly lighter fare, as we discussed food from around the world and, especially, what typical food was found in our students’ home countries. The language lesson was describing food chains (where food comes from) and how to describe a process. We finished in the classroom by sharing a recipe for a typical dish, and then going to Borough Market to find the ingredients. The challenge was for Inglans to describe how to make this dish and show their fellow classmates what it’s made of.
Week Zero is the kind of thing that makes Ingla special. We don’t just teach our students English, but we want to impart lessons about the world around them. We want them to be in love with English.
Our first lesson was on the British Empire and its role in creating a diverse society in places like London. It was a sort of history/language lesson which gave our students the vocabulary to talk about such a complex subject and the idioms and language to give their opinions on living in a multicultural society. We then took this new knowledge to the Victoria and Albert Museum to explore these issues in more depth. Inglans had to race against each other to find various objects in the museum described in cryptic riddles, testing their logic and ability to decipher abstract English. At the end of the day we discussed how these objects – Tippoo’s Tiger, an exquisite handcrafted Jamaican comb, samurai armour, and more – connected to our lesson that morning.
Finally, one of the last highlights of Week Zero was a celebration of London. So much is made of the negative aspects of our city (pollution, price, noise, traffic) that people often forget what an amazing place it is to live. Ingla loves London, and we want Inglans to love it too. In the classroom we talked about our favourite places in London, and our experiences of what it’s like to live here. After our lesson we went out and got a bird’s-eye-view of the city from the amazing Sky Garden, 500 feet above the streets we could see right to the edge of London. Finally, we finished the day at the Museum of London, a gem of a museum right in the heart of the city, amidst the ruins of the old London Wall. Here our students learned about the history of our city from ancient times, to the swinging sixties, and right up to the present.