- On 04 November 2016
- By Thomas
During the October Via Lingua TEFL Course in Florence trainees had the opportunity to make presentations to several ESL classes at the American Language Center as part of the English program 2016-17. This exciting experience allowed the Via Lingua participants to interact directly with the local Florentine community, adding to their cultural knowledge and creating a personal and professional rapport with the students! Below are excerpts!
October 26, 2016
Sarah presented on being a life coach. She brought in a handout so that we could see the different areas a life coach would work on with a client. Alessandro offered to be a volunteer client so that Sarah could give a mock life-coaching session. Sarah asked Alessandro to focus on one of the areas on the handout. He chose Career/Profession, and Sarah proceeded to ask him a series of questions about his goals and how he will achieve them. The questions revealed that one of Alessandro’s goals is to do his English homework regularly. Sarah asked him to commit to a time he would do them and to report back to her. The mock coaching session worked. When I inquired yesterday, Alessandro commented on how the commitment had encouraged him to complete his English homework over the weekend. The rest of the students also found the presentation interesting, especially Cristina, who is a family mediator. She commented that some of the strategies she learned in mediation are similar to those that Sarah demonstrated and discussed in her presentation.
Luna’s presentation was about being mixed race (half Argentinian and half Japanese). She focused on the rejection and ridicule people who are mixed race can experience, especially in Japan. She spoke a bit about how the perception of people who are “Hafu” (the Japanese expression for someone who is mixed race) is changing in Japan especially because of people like Miss Universe Japan (Hafu herself) who often speak out about the challenges of being mixed race. Luna spoke a bit about herself and her own experience denying her mixed heritage, but mostly raised awareness through the use of a video and images of people like Miss Universe Japan. The students enjoyed the presentation, learned something new and a few students who have parents from two different countries (Italy and the United States and Germany and Italy) could even relate to the experiences Luna brought up in her presentation.
Kali spoke about being transgender. Her presentation made a fairly big impact on the students. She spoke about the difference between sex and gender but she mostly focused on how and why people who are transgender can suffer and used statistics and examples to elucidate her point (e.g. not being able to change the sex on identification like a driver’s license or a birth certificate). She gave a heartfelt example of how she was often pulled over by police in Saudi Arabia because police saw a woman driving a car. On one or two occasions she was even arrested. Kali also spoke about the small things we can do to make transgender people feel accepted by a community. For example, trying to use the pronoun that corresponds to the gender to which the person is transitioning and trying not to ask questions like: “What is your real name?” All the students demonstrated keen interest (they asked questions and nodded throughout his presentation) and compassion when Kali was speaking candidly about his personal experience.