The Columbus School

English for Community

We are delighted to share a blog written by student Miguel Cardona López, from The Columbus School, who is part of team English for Community delivering a Global Goals project for the 2020-21 GSL Global Goals Competition.

Their project is among over 957 social action projects currently running as part of the GSL movement and we are excited to be supporting them to design and lead positive social change in their community!

Project Summary

We have identified a need for education in our country (Colombia), one that increments the job opportunities as well as changing the job market and lower unemployment. We decided to specialize in the language development of young minds and teach them English.

Our country’s poverty and the illiteracy rate is dangerously high, and we think that starting a new movement of educating the less fortunate with new, never aging skill sets, like English, a dominant language all throughout the first world, will drastically improve their lives and those of their future children.

There are many things that have inspired us to do this project, one of which is how we have been privileged with the opportunities we have had and know that we could also use that to benefit others. Also, we have the opportunity to study in a good school which apart from teaching us many things, has taught us our second language which is English. I think what most inspired us to do this was the fact that we had an opportunity to choose who to help and we thought that one of the greatest abilities is learning a new language. We are planning to use our advanced English levels, and our knowledge of how a second language is taught and learned, to help a community of young boys from poor economic situations, learn English, and hopefully be welcomed to all the opportunities it has given us. Through this, we hope that they will be able to get stable, profitable jobs, and get their families out of the vicious cycle of illiteracy and poverty.

We have everything almost planned as well the class plans almost done. Plus we are taking clothes that we don’t need and donating them to that foundation. One of our teammates, Juliana Palacio, has all the clothes picked up.

The Journey

We have developed a lot of social management and pedagogy skills as of late. We’ve learned our teaching and learning styles, how we see the world and how our own ways of taking in information shaped how we view the world and its necessary skills.

Our biggest challenge at the moment is our time management. Given that people’s schedules don’t always match up, and keeping the project consistent requires a lot of free time that often isn’t readily available in the busy life of the youth. Our solution for the moment has been a ‘taking turns’ agreement, getting together and contributing when we can, but when we’re not always available, people will volunteer to give additional individual attention or send over resources for them to use in the meanwhile, such as clothes, pencils, thermoses, and/or books. So they can take certain matters in their own hands whilst we keep working on the next establishment of our project. This way, we make ourselves constantly present, instead of leaving them for any period of time where our lives don’t line up accordingly with their offered schedules.

As hard as it’s been to not keep the project up in the consistent manner that we dreamed of, we have been able to find a compromise in this system, and it has been proven successful for both parties. To this point, some of us have had some issues with tolerance when interacting with kids and that has helped us with tolerance and our patience when dealing with children.

The Next Chapter

We would totally recommend that other people get involved in similar projects. Not only is it a great way to contribute to your community, and in turn improving its future for others and yourself, but it offers a feeling of fulfilment endemic to giving and helping.

Educating is also a great way to review and relearn yourself, being able to teach a subject reassures your grasp on it, and the way you teach it, can offer a promise of a spread of information. All one really has to do is take the time to properly educate a group of willing participants, and they themselves will most likely take the role of teaching others, have they recognized the value/understood what you have taught them. This will make, what one would have thought as a one time impact, a chain of positive reinforcement that will really make a noticeable change in the long run.

Being able to look around and see how your willingness to make a difference motivates those around you and the ones you help to continue on and spread their teachings is an experience that you will most certainly not want to miss out on. And if done right, it will echo for generations.

We planned some activities and quizzes that will help us know what they know and what they have to work on. We will start with the colors and basic words. We spoke to experts that are teachers of small children in our school and he told us that the best thing to start with were numbers, colors and letters.

We would like people to expand our ideas and help children all around the world.

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