It's been just over a month since I started volunteering for The Condor Trust, giving English lessons to the students each week. They are all kind, intelligent and hardworking young people and I feel privileged to teach them. Soon after meeting them I discovered that their English speaking practice is limited at school, so one of my main focuses in lessons has been conversation practice. A lesson I did a few weeks back really encouraged this. Using a murder mystery theme, I gave my students the following setting:
The Queen of England was murdered in her bed last night. All of you were in Buckingham Palace the night she was murdered. Invent an alibi to prove your innocence.
It was interesting to see how the setting and situation stimulated a creative response. The lesson aim was to get the students using the past tense but also to encourage them to use more imaginative language.
However, I wasn't quite expecting such fantastic and convincing alibis. One of my students, assigned to the
character of the Queen's bodyguard, claimed he was stabbed in the back with tranquilisers while guarding Her Majesty. Just before he fell to the floor he swore he had seen the body of a woman looming over the Queen’s bed. Another student, given the role of the Queen’s cook, insisted she was out shopping...
Shopping for poison to put in the Queen’s food? I mused. As the detective, I questioned everything to provoke bigger responses and engage my students as much as possible in conversation- it worked too! All were eager to prove their innocence as well as their speaking ability.
I love my work here and look forward to writing about more of my classes soon!