UPDATE 2013/04/03: Please ignore this request – a class in Brazil has stepped forward with Skyping sessions for my unemployed Granny!
A UK granny would like to Skype with non-native English speakers to help them practise pronunciation…
Background Some of you might know that for the last six months I’ve been working with the “Granny Cloud”, the brainchild of Prof Sugata Mitra and Dr Suneeta Kulkarni. I provide a bit of administrative and technical support to this great project (more: BBC article, SOLES and SOMES wiki, The Granny Cloud blog). Essentially this is English-speaking “Grannies” Skyping with disadvantaged children in India and Colombia. When I say “grannies”, I use the term VERY loosely! It includes, grandpas, uncles, aunties, mums, dads… just about anyone who can spare the time to chat regularly with the kids. I’m sure that you can see that this would be a two-way street with many benefits on both sides.
The situation fluctuates but, right now, we really have more grannies than we do classes to Skype with. Trouble is, it takes quite a lot of effort on the ground to get these centres going and recent publicity has brought even more willing grannies out of the woodwork. I had the feeling that some were becoming a little frustrated so I thought I’d ask our registered grannies if anyone would be interested in occasionally Skyping into a regular UK primary school – reading stories with the school I work at. I found there was enough interest to run a few trial sessions over the last couple of months. It was always a bit of an experiment but we’ve now decided to drop them. The kids enjoyed the sessions but lessons at the school are constrained by a hectic curriculum and it was difficult to get a good fit. Some flexibility is also needed in the schedule to accommodate lessons that underrun or overrun while a Skype call is, by necessity, a relatively fixed appointment. It didn’t work for us but it might work better for you, especially if part of the purpose is language learning and culture exchange.
One Granny in particular is seeking to connect with a school and set up a regular Skype session. She is a retired teacher herself, very friendly, and loves the feeling of being back in the classroom. She is a young-at-heart 78 year-old, competent with computers (email, Skype, blogging etc) and comes from a village in Bedfordshire, towards the south of England. She has varied interests: animals, saving the planet, music and many others. She says she “firmly believes the young hold the future of our world but need guidance”.
- Children ages 12+ but younger might be considered too
- Less-privileged children who want to learn
- Aim is to Skype to practise conversational English/cultural exchange
- Available weekdays, 09:00 to 17:00 UK time.
- Ideally one or two regular 30 to 45-minute sessions a week
If you can see an opportunity at your school, please email me: email@example.com with some details of your class and its situation, and I’ll pass them along to my “Granny”.