The Final Days

July 20, 2016

A cultivation of language and communication skills has been in the process for over three weeks. And now, the final days of the program are upon the students—all of whom have dedicated themselves intellectually, day in and day out.

Due to the approaching conclusion, teachers have been slowing the classes down, allowing students to taper their minds in the days before their final exam, which is otherwise known as the “STAMP Assessment.”

The STAMP Assessment is a way by which a student's language proficiency can be measured. At St. Michael’s, obviously, the students will have STAMP Assessments in French and Chinese, which will be proctored by the staff of each respective Academy.

Nevertheless, a test is just a test. The true value that the students will be taking from this program is their newly-fostered communication and critical thinking skills—all of which, most importantly, can now be easily applied to Chinese or French.

For classes, today, students had a wide array of topics being discussed and lessons taught. For the Chinese Academy, here are a few:

  • Pronunciation: One class, today, took time to review pronunciations for Chinese words and phrases. As many heritage speakers of the language know, it’s the small, miniscule pronunciations that make the biggest difference. To speak Chinese, it’s imperative that you’re meticulous with the details.
  • Video Time: In several classes—in order to give the students a break from the usual routine—students and teachers watched various Chinese videos and cartoons, and then applied the video to the lesson, discussing the vocabulary found and used throughout it.
  • Developing Countries: In another class, a student-teacher discussion took place, in which they reviewed which countries are developing and which are not. Moreover, they learned about the characteristics that lead a country to be considered “developing.”
  • Weather: Another class reviewed weather vocabulary, such as: rain, snow, hot, cold, etc.

For the French Academy, here’s what went on in a few of their classes:

  • Geography: One class honed in on learning about geography—specifically, the geography in Francophone countries.
  • Generational Analysis: In another class, a teacher posed societal-based questions, which led to a discussion analyzing the justices found in and injustices perpetuated by people of the students’ generation. After the discussion, students were asked to write an editorial piece about one problem facing today’s youth.
  • Christmas...in July?: In one class, students were presented with a graphic that analyzed the level of societal importance that Christmas has, when compared with other countries in Europe.

As you can see, classes are slowly making the drift from being language-intensive—and instead, they’re becoming predominantly discussion-based, which is phenomonal practice for when the students leave the program and apply their newfound knowledge to the real world.

The reality of the end of the program is gradually beginning to seep into the minds of the students. While they’re happy to be able to reconnect with family and friends soon, a small, lingering feeling of melancholy is in the air, nonetheless.

Students are sad to say goodbye to the friends they’ve made and experiences they’ve had over these past four weeks—which is, most defintely, understandable! 

Cooking class