Friday, February 18, 2005

Belgian notes 2

I'm having a little break between high school performances. This morning went well, other than being on a stage where I couldn't see the audience (nobody knew how to put the house lights up).

Yesterday I was at an English immersion primary school. In some of these old schools, the gyms are tile-lined, tall and narrow, with horrible acoustics and the heat full-on. That was the case here. The children in the first group were grades 1-3, so they haven't been studying English for long. They were quite chatty, too. We had some fun, but it was a challenge. Thank goodness for puppets and fingerplays!

The second group, grades 4-5, was much easier. They understood everything, listened attentively and asked really great questions. In both groups they asked how old I am, right off. I always tell them, but I also explain that though this is a question adults always ask kids, it's a question kids aren't really supposed to ask adults (I think it was Judy Nichols who pointed that out to me).

My puppet Trixie brushed her hair with her toothbrush, thought her foot was a telephone, and generally fooled around in front of all the kids. I don't believe she picked her nose, though I can't be sure. Mavis didn't come out of the bag, as the energy in the room was already fairly frenetic, especially with the younger kids.

In both groups, kids clustered around me at the end, asking questions and telling me important things in both English and French. Some were surprised to hear me speak French. One told me that she would tell the stories to her Mamy, and that her Mamy speaks English. One wanted to know if I had children and was interested to hear that I have a cat.

This English-immersion idea is fairly new in the elementary schools in Belgium. Next week I have three more, in three different villages.

More later.


Anonymous said...

It sounded like a busy day! I clicked on the cat, which I hadn't seen before. We love reading your blogs (which should really read "'blogs"). Today it's snowing as it was yesterday and probably will tomorrow. How do you manage the poor acoustics? Love and cheers for continued success, Muz

PriscillaHowe said...

Fortunately, the microphone that belonged to the school helped a little with the acoustics. Otherwise I just muddle through.