Teacher: What do we do before playtime?
Why are the CASA students in English class from the time they enter school to the time they go home? The students attending HD Ningbo CASA are learning English all day long, during formal English lessons and throughout the entirety of the day. The whole school day CASA manages to teach their young learners the English language through practical life experiences.
The students in CASA are assigned to a class that is co-taught by four different teachers; there are three Chinese teachers and one international teacher. The international teacher is instructed to only speak English and in most cases the Chinese teachers in the classroom are speaking bilingually all day long. Since the school day is not laid out into different “periods”, all of the English promoting classroom teachers are with their class for the whole eight-hour school day. Each class has their own unique schedule that they must transition through from 8:00am to 4:00pm. So, what better way for young learners to build foundational English and fast track learning then to learn the basics of personal care and how school works via English.
Each international staff member has their own preferences on how to promote English speaking, listening, writing, and reading but everyone is promoting the same language that can easily be seen and obtained around CASA. Making every interaction with the students a personal connection seems to be the most successful. This is why teachers base most conversations around these four sentence structures: “like/don’t like …”, “want/don’t want …”, “need/don’t need …”, and “am/am not …”. Any learning experience can be fostered around these personal sentence starters that can be applied to anyone or anything covered in school or seen outside of school.
Learning through real-life experiences help CASA students to pick-up new language faster than any formal English lesson ever could.
The students quickly learn clothing vocabulary when preparing for naptime. “Please take off your shirt.”, “Put on your pajamas.”, and “Put away your shoes.” are just a sample of commands that students learn through hands on experiences.
The last but arguably most importantly language acquisition tool used in HD Ningbo CASA is English Play Time. This can be seen in many different ways and actually links back to how each international staff member has their own preference on how to promote the English language in every aspect of the children’s day. The idea is to mold the young learners brain into believing that learning English is an attractive “game” to play and never a tedious task.