“The children in my class didn’t speak any English but they were able to learn from us and start using words and phrases both inside and outside the classroom. It was rewarding to see the growth in their use of language by the end of the week.”
Volunteering in Morocco
Following our successful return to overseas trips in the Autumn term, we were pleased to run two more trips this half-term – a welcome return to the ski slopes in Austria and a brand-new volunteering opportunity in Morocco.
The exciting Moroccan link was forged by French-speaking Head, Alex Frazer on a recent visit to meet with Saâd Baddou of Association Aghbalou, an educational charity, and staff at L’École de Douar Shib, a primary school 15 miles outside Marrakech.
Ten eager Lower Sixth students were quick to sign up for this once in a lifetime experience and began six weeks of training with Mrs Grigat-Bradley, learning useful teaching skills to equip them for the classroom. Arriving in Morocco, they enjoyed a day of acclimatisation and cultural activities before beginning their programme of teaching. This consisted of three hours of English tuition every morning with other subjects such as Art, Music and Sport taught in the afternoon. Students were supported by students from L’École Normale Supérieure de Marrakech (part of the Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech) who are currently studying for teaching degrees; they helped them by translating in Arabic and French when communication barriers arose.
It is believed that this is the first time that anyone has brought school students from overseas to teach and as a result the project attracted the interest of the Moroccan Education Minister and local press. We felt very privileged to be a part of the work that is being sponsored by Association Aghbalou to embed additional educational programmes in the school. Investment has already benefited L’École de Douar Shib with better classroom and playground facilities and our visit was also to serve as good publicity for the inspiring work that is happening there which is certain to have a measurable impact on pupils’ academic and pastoral development.
Maisie who is interested in becoming a teacher found her interests in education were furthered by her time in Morocco and shared her experience, “The children in my class didn’t speak any English but they were able to learn from us and start using words and phrases both inside and outside the classroom. It was rewarding to see the growth in their use of language by the end of the week. It has certainly made me even more determined to pursue a career in teaching.”
This life-changing opportunity has made a truly memorable impression on all the students involved and we look forward to continuing this partnership and seeing many more students benefit from these visits.