Sunday, October 22, 2017

Teaching seniors: A wonderful experience

This summer I had a wonderful experience.
Story goes something like this. It was the end of May and I was let go from the company I worked for. I had so much free time in my hands and nothing to do.
One day, my friend Erikaiti called: "Why don't you come work for us? We have a wonderful program for senior citizens".
And that's how it began.
My friend worked for a non-govermantal organisation, Ethelon, connecting volunteers and running wonderful programs and actions that help people.
So, I thought why not?
I had taught adults before, I even help my uncle (80) to learn English from time to time, so I went.
I met 11 wonderful ladies.
I can't describe them as "old".
They were people who had children and grandchildren, people who used to be very active before they retired, people who remained active even in the age of 70.
They learned languages, went to the gym or to learn folk dances, pottery, computers and much more.
And why is this strange? It isn't I mean in other countries, older people do so many things and keep healthy, they exercise, and they keep learning?
Why should we stay in the 50's image of the granny with the scarf on her head, closed in 4 walls knitting?
My students were beginners, so we covered very basic things, I tried to have communicative lessons, teaching them basic vocabulary and using it in realistic role-plays, so that they could actually use wha they have learned when abroad.
They were all very diligent students, keeping notes, asking questions and participating. Although they were not that used to communicative methods and were expecting a more traditional lesson, they adapted to it very quickly.
I was glad I had the chance to participate in such an initiative and I hope to do something like that soon.

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