Newsletter January 2014

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"!

Staff Development Workshops

Workshops at Conlan School are run monthly. With a mixture of very experienced teachers and younger raw talents, an excellent forum is created where teachers can share experience and ideas and think of ways in which to expand their repertoire in order to constantly develop their skills. Yvonne’s November workshop on Using Video in the Classroom was well attended and teachers contributed to suggest how new technologies and visual media can be brought into the classroom in a fun and productive way, how video and Internet can launch communicative activities and language usage, whilst also looking at some specific kinds of activities. Error Correction was the subject of December’s workshop run by Stephen in which this sensitive area but essential skill was explored to the benefit of all who attended. It is without doubt that all teachers present got closer to finding the balance between allowing mistakes/errors for the sake of fluency and correcting individual mistakes to promote more accurate language usage and language acquisition. The focus of January’s workshop will be CLIL. With an increasing interest in subject-focused courses in our school, it is important that we all understand how CLIL-style activities can benefit our students, understand some of the theoretical and practical issues of integrating subject and language learning, plus how CLIL can be blended with Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) to best effect. All teachers are encouraged at Conlan to develop workshops so that multiple styles can be presented, giving teachers a range of different viewpoints from which to be inspired. We hope it indeed inspires some new and interesting lessons for our students in 2014!

Street Life, Picking a Pocket or Two…

The month of January sees the opening at the Grosvenor Museum of a display of photographs depicting a different aspect of Victorian Chester together with images of life on our city’s streets.
This exhibition doesn’t portray the Victorian image we are accustomed to; it is not the way you would imagine Charlotte Brontë painting the picture of Mr Rochester in all his gothic glory…
The pictures are in fact of petty thieves, prostitutes and drunks living in poverty on the streets of Chester. The photographs are taken from local newspaper reports and prisons, reminding us of how hard life could be, and what the consequence of stealing would mean in those times.
The exhibition also captures the street as the centre stage of people’s day to day lives, from children playing, living their childhood without worries to women walking their babies in prams and men congregating outside the local pub, immortalising working class Britain through the years.
The exhibition will run from the 3rd of January through to the end of March at the Grosvenor Museum, Grosvenor Street, Chester, CH1 2DD. Tel: 01244 972197

Evening of Mince Pies and Mulled Merriment!

As a thank you to all our Host Families for supporting our work and being a pivotal part in creating an all-round positive experience for our students, we organised an evening of Mince Pies and Mulled Merriment before the Christmas break.
The theme was: Christmas Jumper…needless to say, the only two people who turned up in their Christmas finest were the Centre Manager, Jess and the Director of Studies, Carla!
The evening was a chance not only to offer our appreciation for all the hard work done, but also to exchange past experiences, future plans and get to know one another in a more relaxed atmosphere instead of the usual 3.30 am start, standing half asleep in the pouring rain, in a car park, helping students load their “way over the weight limit” suitcases on the bus and waving them off!
It was a lovely evening and hopefully there will be more to follow.

Phrase of the Month: Scott free

Without incurring payment; or escaping without punishment.
Dred Scott was a black slave born in Virginia, USA in 1799. In several celebrated court cases, right up to the USA Supreme Court in 1857, he attempted to gain his freedom. These cases all failed but Scott was later made a free man by his so-called owners, the Blow family. Knowing this, we might feel that we don't need to look further for the origin of 'scott free'. Many people, especially in the USA, are convinced that the phrase originated with the story of Dred Scott.
The etymology of this phrase shows the danger of trying to prove a case on circumstantial evidence alone. In fact, the phrase isn't 'scott free', it is 'scot free' and it has nothing to do with Mr. Scott.
Given the reputation of Scotsmen as being careful with their money we might look to Scotland for the origin of 'scot free'. Wrong again, but at least we are in the right part of the world now. 'Skat' is a Scandinavian word for tax or payment and the word migrated to Britain and mutated into 'scot' as the name of a redistributive taxation, levied as early the 10th century as a form of municipal poor relief.
'Scot' as a term for tax has been used since then in various forms - Church scot, Rome scot, Soul scot and so on. Whatever the tax, the phrase 'getting off scot free' simply refers to not paying one's taxes.
No one likes paying tax and people have been getting off scot free since at least the 11th century. The first reference in print to 'scot free' is in the Writ of Edward the Confessor. We don't have a precise date for the writ but Edward died in 1066, which is a long time before Dred Scott.
The use of the figurative version of the phrase, that is, one where no actual scot tax was paid but in which someone escapes custody, began in the 16th century, as in this example from John Maplet's natural history Green Forest, 1567:
"Daniell scaped scotchfree by Gods prouidence."
'Scotchfree' was a variant based on a mishearing. An example of the currently used form, that is, 'scot free', comes a few years later, in Robert Greene's The Historie of Dorastus and Fawnia, 1588:
These and the like considerations something daunted Pandosto his courage, so that hee was content rather to put up a manifest injurie with peace, then hunt after revenge, dishonor and losse; determining since Egistus had escaped scot-free.