The answer to that question before half term for almost all members of staff at Penpol, including languages co-ordinator Mr Emery, was a resounding ‘no!’ or perhaps a meek ‘un poco’. However, if you were to now ask that question to most of the KS2 staff and teaching assistants at Penpol, you would be met with the confident reply ‘si! Me gusta hablar en español!’
Over the half term break, 8 members of staff from Penpol took part in an 8 day immersion course in Santander, Northern Spain. The trip was only possible after Penpol School was successful in gaining funding from Erasmus+, which is the European Union programme for education, in July. Penpol are now on a two year journey to further enhance the language teaching at Penpol by allowing staff to develop their professional practice, build relationships with international peers and gain fresh ideas from language learning experiences in Spain and France.
The shoes were on the other feet for the teachers of Penpol, with intense but immensely enjoyable 3 hour daily Spanish lessons with experienced and fully qualified Spanish teachers.
It was a really invigorating feeling being a student again in a classroom. Mr Pollard, Class 11 Teacher.
From learning the basic phrases such as ‘¿Como te llamas?’ on day 1, staff completed the week learning the verb conjugations for regular and irregular verbs, as well as regularly conversing in practice role plays in class. The lessons were hugely rewarding and by the end of the week, all staff had grown in confidence ordering in restaurants and even conversing in Spanish with locals.
Aside from the daily lessons, the days were also packed with challenges which were not too dissimilar from BBC one’s show ‘The Apprentice’. On the first day, staff had to explore the city by foot and find out important facts, cultural information and even learn a joke from a local. There was also a night of learning how to dance, Flamenco- style, to the delight of Mr Peck! There was also plenty of time to enjoy the delights of Santander, such as the Palacio de la Magdelena, the stunning local beaches and experience the plethora of Pintxos (tapas-style dishes) on offer across the city’s many restaurants and bars.
The week was testament to Penpol’s enthusiasm for languages and, after an action-packed week, each member of staff not only graduated with flying colours but also came away with a lots of ideas to bring back into the classroom, as well as the confidence to teach Spanish in a fun and engaging way.
Gracias y hasta luego!