The world in your Classroom

10 september 2016

The World in Your Classroom is a volunteer programme for internationals who live in the The Hague region. TWIYC promotes positive intercultural communication between Dutch teenagers and international adults by organizing guest lectures at local high schools in English. Lecturers talk about their cultures, countries or areas of expertise for the most advanced pupils. They receive a special training to prepare for their lectures during which they learn about the Dutch educational system, how to make a lesson plan and how to keep their interventions interactive and suited to teenagers’ concentration levels and centres of interest.

This school year is the fourth edition of this programme conceived by the municipality of The Hague in collaboration with PEP Den Haag (Participation and Emancipation Professionals), ACCESS and The Hague Bridge.

“Last year more than 100 internationals from 50 nationalities participated in the programme giving Dutch students, aged 13 to 17 from almost 20 high schools, a unique opportunity to broaden their horizons and to practice their modern languages in a fun way,” says Wai-kin Chung from PEP Den Haag.

This year, most guest lectures will be held from November 21st to December 2nd. A few schools will hold theirs later in December or in February 2017.

Schools indicate their preferences for a continent, country or topic. They schedule guest lectures not only during English lessons, but also during civics or geography classes. English teacher Ms. Gaitrie Goli declares: “Last school year we ensured that all classes at The Edith Stein College high school received a TWIYC guest lecture. Our goal was for the younger students and MAVO level to hear about society-related topics and for the older or more academic or international transition classes we requested lectures related to the news or politics.“ When asked about a guest lecture which especially captivated her students she mentions: ”Ms. Dana Saxon came to talk about her research to find her ancestors who were slaves in The Unite d States and showed us her family tree.” She adds:” We enjoyed her lecture so much that she was invited during Black History month for a workshop as part of her work at Ancestors Unknown.” She concludes: ”As a school we have recognized the potential of this programme for our students since its pilot started and we look forward to our 2016 lectures!” Some schools have requested conversation lessons in other modern languages as their students appreciate the visit of a native speaker.

Since last year TWIYC has recruited native speakers of French, Spanish and German to come and stimulate conversation through games, short videos and quizzes. Thirty eight year-old guest lecturer Estelle Saevarsson from the French island of Corsica recalls: "I discovered TWIYC during an event for internationals organized by Volunteer The Hague.” She reflects on why among all possible volunteering vacancies she chose becoming a guest lecturer for TWIYC:” What convinced me to participate was the concept of sharing experiences, of stimulating fluency in other languages combined with a positive approach to diversity. I find these lectures to be inspired by a genuine message of tolerance.” She adds. “I started by attending a convivial and studious training session at PEP Den Haag. I was then assigned 5 classes at various educational levels at three schools.” When asked about how she approached her French lectures she answers: ”Depending on the school’s requests, I offered a wide range of topics such as learning and singing the song “Formidable” by Stromae in French, and a presentation about the French educational system for older students to card or miming games for younger groups.” Estelle offers the following piece of advice: ”The key is to be ready to adjust your prepared activities to each group’s level of fluency and keep the lesson interactive and enjoyable.” She concludes:” My experience with TWIYC students and teachers was very memorable and enriching. I definitely want to stay on board and continue this new school year!” 

TWIYC will offer conversation and culture-related classes for students learning Mandarin Chinese for the first time this year.

You may already sign up for The world in Your Classroom by filling out a form at the bottom of the page for lecturers at www.theworldinyourclassroom.nl by October 17 2016.

Third from the left- French guest lecturer Estelle Saevarsson during her training session
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