Saint Joseph Cléder en Irlande

7 December 2023

Ecole Saint Joseph de Cléder, une mobilité personnel / enseignant en formation à Dublin en Irlande en octobre 2023

Autour de la formation d’anglais avec CLIL sur l’Irlande.

Voici le récit de mobilité :

I’m a bilingual school teacher in Saint Joseph’s school in Cléder, looking after pre-primary and primary children. I mainly teach in breton. 


During the former holidays, the All Saints holidays, I have spend one week in Dublin to learn English. I was not alone (I wouldn’t have dared to travel alone in a foreign country). Frank, the Erasmus coordinator for the catholic schools in the diocese of Quimper, and incidentally the father of one of my pupils, was very interested too to improve his English. It has been a real chance for me to go with such a guy to get some help to fill out the form and to get on the good web pages. Everbody here will admit that getting the form filled out is quite challenging. 


First af all, both of us needed to assess our English level, for us to choose the best suiting course in the language learning center. We took an English placement test on the website called Eu-academy. As far as I can remember, there are fifty items in the test, which takes less than one hour to make you know your placement in the European Framewok of Reference for Languages. 


Then we needed to find an accomodation not too far from Dublin. Two weeks before leaving our beloved Britanny we still didn’t have found any accomodation and I confess a panicking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Eventually we found a wonderfull appartment in a very new builded quarter of the southern suburbs of Dublin, next to the tram line. Finally we were half an hour from the city center by tram. And after getting out the tram we just had to walk ten minutes to get the school. 


We boarded the ferry in Roscoff on Friday evening, the day before the holidays. So that, on Saturday and Sunday, we had time to drive from Corck to Dublin, to unpack our luggages, to go to church, to find the school and to visit Dublin. 


The course began on Monday morning. The school is named Europass Teacher Academy. Actually Europass Teacher Academy it is not only one school but an English learning company which has many schools throughout Europ. Since our departure from Roscoff, Franck and I had not spoken a single word in french, trying to make our brain gently turn on more and more in English. That explains why I was a little disappointed when I met the other pupils of my group : two thirds of them were French, and many of them came from the same college or high-school (I don’t remember which kind of secondary school it was) . When a French native speaker aims to improve his English, it is a problem for two reasons. The first reason is that French people very often can’t keep themselves speaking French. And the second reason is that even when they struggle to speak English together, the result is a kind of French disguised under English words. 


Fortunately there were also people from other european countries : a guy from Denmark, two girls from Slovenia and a girl from the Netherlands. I realize at that point how uncomfortable I was feeling talking to such good speakers. Let me explain. As I am talking in front of you, you may be impressed as the speech sounds to be told out by a quite fluent speaker. But you must take into consideration two things. The first one is that I had time to write it down, and time to practice to speak it out. The second one is that the most of us aren’t able to point out the language mistakes I didn’t manage to avoid. When I was talking with Brenda, the girl from Netherlands, or with Jacob, the guy from Denmark, it was not obvious at all not to misunderstand what they were talking about, to catch the gist, and to be able to chat with them in a quite sponteous way. Sometimes I only remained speechless. But I know that humility is the price to pay. 


We had the same teacher all the week, Helen Callanan. The course she provides is as much learning English as teaching English. For example we learnt how to paraphrase a very short story, which is a good way to extract the main ideas of a text and to increase the vocabulary. We also learn how to create a discussing situation from a little story whose protagonists had to be ranked from worst to better, which is a very good method to make the pupils argue. That methodology she called Content and Language Integrated Learning is valid for any language. 


The course day begins at nine a.m. and finish at two p.m., like a school day in Ireland. On the afternoon we were free to visit Dublin. Dublin is not a very big town, and is far less impressive than Paris or London. But as soon as we find someone to explain the history of the town, it can really be gripping. Once we had a walking tour that was very interesting. The guide, knowing we were learning speakers, spoke slow enough to make us catch the all of his explanations about Molly Malone, the famous cockles and mussels seller, about the Guiness family and the rows of houses they build for their workers, about 

Daniel O’ Connell, hailed in his time as the Liberator of the catholic Ireland, about the Irish parliamant, windowless because of the British taxes, about the Great Famine in the nineteenth century. I also visited the Epic, which is the museum of Irish emigration through the world, the Dublin castle were Bram Stocker, the famous Dracula’novelist, had been working, the Saint Patrick’s cathedral, where we heard vespers sung by a children and adults’choir, the 

Temple bar, a gorgeous pub in Dublin, but unfortunately overcrowded. 


As a matter of conclusion, I will say that, as a school master, being in a learner position is salutary for my pupils. One month before going to Ireland, I had gone back to studying English, and since I got back home, I still work at least a quarter of hour everyday. Where is my motivation rooted ? In the desire to go back to Ireland next year of course !”

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