Beyond Academics

Visit to St Joseph's Academy, Kilmarnock, Scotland

‘The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.’ …Malcolm Forbes

I, Mrs Sarika Passi, went to St Joseph’s Academy, Kilmarnock, Scotland, from 11 May ‘15 to 21 May ‘15 for a teacher exchange programme under the aegis of British Council.

I was received at the airport by Mr Ben Davis, The Head Teacher of the school. We then went through the streets of Kilmarnock to get the feel of the place which is abound with beautiful ancient structured buildings and cobbled streets. After that I went to St Joseph’s Academy and had sumptuous lunch with Mr Ben and Ms Rachel Woodward, an Art teacher. After lunch I visited the Art Department of the school and met some students of Advanced Higher level giving finishing touches to their portfolios. It was indeed amazing to see that the teacher had used Art as a medium to reflect ones culture, family values and had also integrated it with other subjects like Biology, Social Studies etc.

On 12 May ‘15, a welcome assembly was organized in my honour where in students sang beautiful songs on the notes of the keyboard. Mr Ben Davis, the Head teacher of the school ,welcomed me in the school by presenting a momento. He then introduced me to the students and teachers. I had a small interaction with the teachers and also gave a small talk to the students. They all gave me a hearty welcome and were more than happy to take me around the school and different classrooms.

While in school, I observed almost all different subjects and classes like Mathematics, English, Music (Instrumental), Spanish, French, Biology Practical and Religious Education. I found out that the teachers gave a lot of emphasis on group activities, team work and out of the box thinking. A lot of innovative and creative exercises were being done like in the French class, students were given a worksheet called ‘The Virtual Tour of Quebec City’. The students were required to browse google maps in order to locate and find different places using landmarks given in the worksheet and write answers to the questions asked in French language. In the instrumental music class, students were divided into groups and were being trained to play keyboard, drum, guitar and xylophone. 

In the Maths class, the students were doing sums based on factors and multiples. The teacher had put the sums on the smart board and the students were trying to find answers in their notebooks. The teacher moved around in the class attending to students’ queries and doubts.

I also went and saw the Technology and designing department where I saw students working with different machines and making beautiful imprints and designs on glass, wood, mobile covers, plastics etc. using a software. It was truly an amalgamation of technology and creativity. The head of the department, Mr David, gifted me a rectangular wooden plank with a lovely, friendly message written on it. He also gave me a jewellery box and a tree cut out from plastic made into a stand for hanging earrings etc.

I also visited St. Pattrick’s Primary school at Kilmarnock having a strength of 72 students. All the teachers there were bubbling with energy and they had students of two age groups sharing the same classroom. All the children were completely engaged in different activities and class work assigned to them. The students in one class were making booklets on ‘Roots of Empathy’ wherein they were asked to express their views on….I felt sad when…..or I felt angry when….Such exercises can definitely give an insight into the child’s mind and can help the teacher to assess their behavior and problems.

 

I also visited St Joseph’s Nursery and Primary school. The entire classroom was filled with lots of games, puzzles and apparatus and the tiny tots were completely engrossed in their fun learning activities. One of the teachers was taking a muffin making class with a group of students, another teacher was helping the students make interesting shapes and structures using building blocks. Some children were floating boats, steamers in water and another group was trying to move the blades of their windmills.

 

I loved the story telling session wherein one of the teachers was narrating the story ‘ Mrs Honey’s Hat’…First of all the teacher narrated the story with complete voice modulation and expression and then she asked the little ones to become the characters from the story. She started with the story again with all the students jumping to perform their act and anxiously waiting for their turn. All in all it not only made them comprehend the entire story but also kept them occupied till the end.

On the last day of my visit to the school, a Good Bye Assembly was organized. Mr Ben Davis, wanted me to teach some Hindi to the students. I went ahead with telling them some simple words and sentences often used by us in our everyday conversation. The students were delighted to interact with me in Hindi and asked me many questions about India and its culture. I wished them Good Luck for their exams and bid Good bye with a heavy heart.
During my stay, I not only attended schools and classes but also visited many places like the Ceilidh ( Scottish Dance Festival), Glasgow Mela, A multi cultural festival at South Side Souk, the capital city Edinburgh, Mass at Catholic Church, Meeting Lord Provost, Mayor of the city, Dean Castle, Lochlomond, Island of Arran and shopping malls. The entire stay and all other wonderful arrangements were made by Ms Rachel Woodward in consultation with the Head Teacher Mr Ben Davis who truly made my stay one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I met their families and friends too who also welcomed me with complete love and warmth.


Overall it was indeed a great learning experience for me wherein I not only shared their teaching learning practices but also their lifestyle, customs, traditions, eating habits and above all their friendship, love and hospitality.
You have to go wholeheartedly into anything in order to achieve anything worth having…. Sarika Passi (PRT)


Subscribe to Newsletter

Bal Bharati Public School

  • Sector-21, Noida, U.P
  • 0120 - 2534064 / 2538533