On Thursday 31st May, the group of volunteers went to teach English for the first time at the local school. The school meets every weekday afternoon. There is one class, which caters for ages 4 to 15. This is a great challenge for anyone teaching anything; such a wide age range means that the topics have to be kept very broad, and accessible for a wide range of abilities and prior knowledge.

I had split the volunteers into three groups of two, with the aim of splitting the class into three groups of narrower age range. Each pair prepared their own class ready to present to the group. However, in the end, the class did not work like this. As the volunteers were able to arrive at the school at varying times, then each pair taught the class consecutively.

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The lesson was a roaring success. The interest of the children has been stimulated by the volunteers’ presence here in the community, so they see real and tangible benefits to learning the language, to aid in communication. The volunteers themselves had prepared their classes thoughtfully and effectively to cater for such a wide audience. This time they approached essential topics such as numbers, colours, the alphabet, and introductions. Each pair had their own slant on the activities, using repetition, games and interaction to maintain interest and to maximise learning opportunities.

The lesson was also an opportunity for the students to teach some elements of Portuguese to their “teachers”. This is yet another example of exchange that is happening here on our placement.

Here are some photos demonstrating the activities of the volunteers. These classes are going to continue until our departure in July.


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