A Portugese Perspective of a Pilgrims Summer Course
Joaquim da Silva attended a special group course organised for APPI the Portugese Teachers' Association in 2004.
Here he writes about his experience, first published in the APPI Newsletter.
When I was first asked to write this article on the course my colleagues and myself attended last summer in Canterbury, I sort of thrilled at the idea as this would mean the opportunity to actually flashback to some of the nicest summer days I have ever spent on an English course!
Superbly outlined by two highly professional language teachers, Chris Price and Silvia Stephan, the course took place in a very pleasant environment - The University of Kent. Indeed the settings were truly beautiful. Sometimes on our way to Rutherford College (where the cafeteria-style dining hall was to be found), I would stop right in front of that immense green valley and solemnly contemplate its plants and grass growing thickly and healthily, truly reminding us of The Dead Poet's Society.
I thoroughly enjoyed the two weeks we spent there, walking to and fro' the campus lanes through the woods. Rabbits leaping merrily every single morning and garden birds, shy and retiring types, were seeking out our quieter residential nooks to make their homes. But not for us the furtive glimpse of a Robin's nest in a kettle. The entire bed of summer plants - flowers, leaves, the lot - was shredded for one big, untidy nest! The whole environment was so magical 'well some people do have fairies at the bottom of their gardens', I often thought. That's enough musing for now.
Moving on to the curriculum, while intense, it proved to be very valuable as a tool to refer to when teaching. It was tremendously rewarding, both at a personal and professional level. In fact, on a personal perspective, I got to know people from all over the world - just like true Pilgrims - and, professionally speaking, I am still amazed at how much I have learned and the wealth of resources I have been exposed to and given.
There were activities and venues of all kinds in the area: sports, recreational, historical, spectator and for all ages. In that regard, we had the opportunity to visit Canterbury Cathedral, which has a tradition of visitor welcome. This reaches back to the days of mediaeval pilgrimages and the experience becomes truly one of the greatest places of Christendom. Also, the Cathedral Choir plays a very important part of the worship, attracting an intense following and great appreciation. During a guided tour we were treated by Pilgrims, we were proudly told that Canterbury Cathedral is linked to the lives of many great ecclesiastical and national figures. Among the former are the saints of Canterbury - Augustine, Theodore, to name but a few - all of whom were archbishops of that diocese and held in universal respect. In a nutshell, the cathedral plays a national part in the Anglican faith in England and is seen as one of the most important centres of worship. The leader of the Church of England is the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Another good thing about our Pilgrims course was the fact that, in the evening, we also had a panoply of development activities and personal interest sessions we could all attend. They ranged from cognitive activities for grammar teaching to glass painting, salsa dancing drum playing or even a T'ai Chi lesson. As a matter of fact, there were just too many to mention off the cuff in this way!
To wrap it all up, a quick word about our farewell party. What a memorable moment we all had! We decided that we would perform a traditional Portugese tune (from the song amos Cantar as JaneirasV) and adapt the lyrics to some of the funniest episodes we lived or catch phrases by our trainers. With tears and laughter, we knew we would fly back home with our hearts filled with cherished moments.
Our sincere thanks to Joaquim for this sharing of his Pilgrims experience. Perhaps you too would like to share the experience, go to http://teachers.pilgrims.co.uk/teachers/default.asp and see the great courses we have on offer for 2005.
EU Funding is available, but you must apply NOW! The deadline for applications is 1 March!