I believe communication is one of the bases for a good education, and not sharing the same language with the students at school is definitely challenging. Being a volunteer in a Polish school has taken me out of my comfort zone and has made me look for other ways of communication apart from the verbal one. In the beginning, it was hard to connect with children as I was a total stranger to them who was not speaking their language. But little by little, they started coming to me to say hello, sit in my laps or show me some staff. It is impressive to observe how they manage to explain something with gestures or objects. For me it has been really exciting to discover the many possibilities we have to communicate with them, like using Google Translator, especially with the oldest ones, asking the teachers to translate, using all kind of gestures or using a mix of English and Polish.
Some weeks ago, Ari and I started teaching some English and Spanish lessons, and it has been an amazing opportunity. Even their low level of English and our low level of Polish, we always find a way to understand each other. Having some routines like asking them how they are, how is the weather and singing some songs makes them feel confident and participate in the lessons. We always try to use videos, songs and stories to make it more significant for them. Moreover, we normally use games or crafts to provide an active learning.
Even the communicative difficulties we may face in our school daily life, love is an international language, and feeling a loved member of this community is amazing. I hope this connection keeps growing and we can continue learning together.
Alba from Catalunya, volunteer in Wolno Mi in Gliwice
This project is co-founded by European Solidarity Corps