Newsletter December 2013

The Conlan School Course Guide

The Conlan School Course Guide demonstrates the broad range of study programmes we can offer you and your students. Through our ever growing network of contacts in the business and educational community, our aim is to provide experiences that will expand knowledge and increase confidence within the culture of Wales and the UK. We hope that during your time with us you and your students can progress personally and positively in every aspect of life!

Please, click here to download "The Conlan School Course Guide"!

Winter Wonderland and Christmas Market come to Chester

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la la la la!

Christmas is upon us and ‘tis indeed the season to be jolly…and this year Marketing Cheshire, together with a number of local partners, has driven and managed “Chester Christmas Campaign”
We first found out about the Chester Christmas Campaign back in October when Marketing Cheshire delivered a number of workshops for one of our groups.
The event is designed to drive footfall during the Christmas period, a very important time of year for the local economy. Organising and coordinating an event of this scale began many months before; Chester first saw the fruits of everyone’s labour the last week in November when an array of little wooden chalets started appearing outside the city’s town hall, offering a variety of local products including crafts, clothing, jewellery, giftware and local food and drink.
Katrina Michel, Chief Executive of Marketing Cheshire said: “We are delighted to be launching this new initiative to revitalise Chester’s Christmas offer. The Christmas Market will be in keeping with Chester’s fabulous heritage and reputation as a beautiful, historic city.”
The official beginning of the festive Christmas season in Chester was marked on 21st November with the Christmas light switch on, a parade of floats and lanterns, music, dancing and merriment starting on Northgate Street, parading through town and ending at the Racecourse. The host of this year’s Winter Wonderland described it as a “magical fantasyland filled with fun and excitement for all the family…”

Conwy Christmas

Like most places at this time of year Conwy has a Christmas market. The shops stay open later, and as there is a medieval castle dominating the village, this time of year is called Late Knight Shopping!
The most traditional aspect of Christmas in Conwy takes place on 24th December, Christmas Eve. This is when up to 3,000 people gather in the car park next to the castle, below the castle walls. Expectant children, holding their parents’ or grandparents’ hands, or sitting on their fathers’ shoulders, gaze up at the castle with excitement. The crowd gathered suddenly becomes silent, then there is a great cheer as Santa climbs onto the castle battlements. The children jump around with joy as he makes his way down and onto the castle walls. Eventually he arrives on the stage built near the castle in the car park, from where he reads out the Christmas messages he has received from the children. He also shares out his big bag of sweets, but only if the children have been good this year!
This is such a special event, and popular too, that local police have to put emergency traffic measures in place to cope with the increased volume of vehicles. Sadly, over the last three years Santa hasn’t appeared due to the weather. His reindeers were obviously saving their strength for the long night ahead delivering presents!

Using Video in the Classroom

Using technology in the classroom is becoming more and more popular these days. Let’s face it, almost every teenager owns a smart phone which allows them access to the internet at their fingertips, literally. So isn’t it a good idea to channel that amazing accessibility through incorporating the use of this technology into the classroom? The most popular use of technology is the use of video clips. YouTube provides a wide array of videos which cater to every ability and level and can sometimes demonstrate things that we as teachers may not be able to, for example typical English comedy, accents and so on. So why should we use video in the classroom? Video tends to appeal to all students, particularly if it is linked to a subject which they are interested in, and therefore is an excellent way of introducing a topic to really grab their attention and engage them in discussion.
Yvonne, our Director of Studies at Abergele, recently conducted a workshop for Abergele teachers to help support and build confidence in the use of video in the classroom. The teachers all found it very informative and feel motivated to develop the use of video in their own lessons – well done Yvonne!
One of our favourite websites, ‘Movie segments’ (see links below), allows teachers to select movie clips related to a particular topic. This is a fantastic resource as it not only provides the video clips but also a lesson plan to be used in conjunction with the video. I’m sure many teachers would agree that any help with planning is always sincerely welcomed! Furthermore, these clips can be used for assessing grammar, as warm ups, cool downs or a full lesson. All in all it is a fantastic resource – we would highly recommend you take a look!

Grundtvig - Learn about Art and Get in the Game

The fourth meeting of the Grundtvig Lifelong Learning project “Learn about Art and Get in the Game” that Conlan is proud to be a partner in took place on the 28th and 29th of November. This time it was the turn of our Italian friends to be hosts, in the beautiful town of Busto Arsizio, just 30km north west of Milan.
It was a very successful meeting in terms of a lot of progress made towards fulfilling the overall project aims and objectives. These included creating a glossary of art terms that will be translated into each partner’s native language, a Guide to Guiding to help art enthusiasts become art guides in their home areas, and perfecting the leaflet we all designed in the third meeting in South Wales back in June.
We were very well looked after by our hosts, who showed us around their school, ICT Enrico Tosi. It was a great place and an interesting experience to see exactly how an Italian High School works, and how similar it is to the UK! We were guided very well around Busto, wined and dined as only the Italians know how, and finally shown around the wonders of Milan, including Il Duomo and a viewing of Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. Spectacular!
Our thanks to Rita and everyone at ICT Tosi. See you all in Turkey for the final meeting in May 2014!

Phrase of the Month: “By Hook or by Crook”

By whatever means necessary - be they fair or foul.
'Hook' is a word with many meanings and as a consequence it appears in numerous English phrases - 'get one's hooks into', 'hook, line and sinker', 'on/off the hook', 'sling your hook' and, most notably, 'by hook or by crook'. That last phrase is one of the holy grails of etymology; many people are sure they know the derivation but, in truth, the origin is rather obscure. We can be sure that it is a very old phrase and that it was in general use by the late 14th century.
There may be examples of a form of the expression in the writings of John Wyclif from around 1380, but scholars aren't sure of their date. The first substantiated citation is from John Gower's Confessio Amantis, 1390: What with hepe and what with croke they [false Witness and Perjury] make her maister ofte winne. [Hepe was the mediaeval name for a curved billhook]
The earliest example of the modern usage of the phrase is in Philip Stubbes' The Anatomie of Abuses, 1583: “Either by hooke or crooke, by night or day.” Other suggestions include: that “by hook or by crook” derives from the custom in mediaeval England of allowing peasants to take from royal forests whatever deadwood they could pull down with a shepherd's crook or cut with a reaper's billhook. This feudal custom was recorded in the 1820s by the English rural campaigner William Cobbett, although the custom itself long predates that reference. Another commonly repeated suggestion is that the phrase comes from the names of the villages of Hook Head and the nearby Crooke, in Waterford, Ireland. Hook Head and Crooke are on opposite sides of the Waterford channel and Oliver Cromwell is reputed to have said that Waterford would fall 'by Hook or by Crooke', that is, by a landing of his army at one of those two places during the siege of the town in 1649/50.
Whichever reference is the origin, the modern meaning is clear: do whatever it takes to complete the task, whether legal or not!