Newsletter December 2015

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"!

Events in Chester and Wales during December
Christmas is in full swing and December is packed with events to visit – it’s a great time to bring a group of students to the UK.
Welsh Highland Railway throughout December
Travel though the beautiful scenery of Snowdonia. Ffestiniog Railway trains offer an authentic Victorian experience with staff in period costume and run between Porthmadog and Tan-y-Bwlch on 12 - 13 and 19 - 20 December. The Welsh Highland trains run between Caernarfon and Waunfawr the same dates as Ffestiniog and 22 - 23 December. Santa and his elves pass through the train giving out presents to the children during the journey and Adults can relax with a glass of sherry and a mince pie on the ride back.

Chester Christmas Market
Chester Christmas Market is back for 2015 and will be situated outside Chester`s historic Town Hall and beautiful cathedral, near the old Roman Forum. Shoppers are in for a magical time at the FREE Chester Christmas Market 2015, with 70 traditional wooden chalets situated in the heart of Chester, all wrapped around a sparkling Christmas tree.
There are festive treats and gifts on offer, including quality local and regional products, crafts, clothing, accessories, jewellery, unique gifts and stocking fillers which make perfect presents! Don't forget to sample the delicious hot food and drinks, including tasty mulled wine and hot chocolate; the perfect way to keep warm whilst enjoying the market.
This year the market runs from Thursday 19th November – Sunday 20th December 2015.

Expérience de travail français en Angleterre!
The 18th of December marks the end of our 2015 season and with it, we say goodbye and good luck to our last Work Experience programme of the year.
The group are from France, and have been here since the beginning of November.
They have myriad backgrounds and have taken part in work placements in companies in and around Chester, from Marketing Cheshire, to Chester Court Hotel, and Cheshire Community Action to name just a few.
Feedback has been extremely positive highlighting that students have been working really well and to a high standard.
In a competitive job market, such as todays’, we believe that expanding your horizons and gaining work experience abroad will pay dividends in your future career, and we hope that this opportunity will allow the students who have taken part, to further distinguish themselves by gaining additional life and professional skills.

Kahoot and Socrative – Learning Tools
You may or may not have heard of these two ingenious teaching tools. I learned about them during our CLIL Conference. When it comes to using new kinds of technology in the classroom if I am going to use something, it has to be simple, quick and reliable. I don’t want to spend hours on an activity that does not work when I am standing in front of fifteen teenagers.
Kahoot and Socrative are brilliant and tick all three boxes. They are both tools that teachers can use to create quizzes online. Once created, the students use their phones to log onto it and then they play against one another to answer the questions and win.
I did a test quiz on each one to check how long it would take to create quizzes. I used colours for Kahoot and did a “Wales” quiz on Socrative. I downloaded colour images from Google Images for the first. Each quiz took me about 10 minutes to create. The interface for each one is very each to use and very clear. It’s simple to upload images or just write questions.
The possibilities are endless. They could be used for vocabulary review using images, for answering comprehension questions on a reading or listening exercise, for practising grammar or for a fun general knowledge quiz.
As the quiz progresses, students get scores on how quick they are and whether they got the answer correct. With Socrative, the performance can be seen in graphs and charts at the end too.
If you want to add a fun element to your class, I would recommend trying both of these quiz tools. Any teacher can use them with ease and they really add an exciting way to practice your subject in class using modern technology.

CLIL and Teaching Excellence Conference 2015
In November 2015, Conlan School in collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University and Christleton High School ran a conference for teachers from across Europe. Delegates came from schools and colleges in Germany, Austria and Italy.
Through the sessions, delegates were encouraged to assess, develop and transfer CLIL methodology into their own classroom practice while also being asked to look at the needs of students. Delegates had the opportunity to shadow and observe UK-based teachers in action and be part of the experience.
While observing classes, delegates were surprised by the level of student engagement in classrooms and the use of student self-assessment to inform teaching practices. Teachers at Christleton High School are encouraged to deliver lessons so that students receive the ‘input’ at home through research or study and demonstrate the ‘output’ in class. Delegates found this particular approach intriguing and made them re-think the way they teach to include student self-assessment in their own lessons. As part of student self-assessment, teachers ensure there is time within the lesson for students to reflect upon their learning process so that they understand not only what they have been taught, but also how they learn best. This then enables a teacher to gauge a student’s understanding of content and decide on the best methods of delivering future content.
In a presentation from students themselves, delegates were told how students thought they learned best and how they are best challenged to stretch themselves further. Delegates also got a chance to speak directly to the students to find out more.
Christleton High School is recognised by OFSTED, the schools inspectorate, as “outstanding.” The school is renowned not just for the academic performance of its students, but also as a centre for teacher development, winning many awards including the Prince’s Trust Award.

Idiom of the month
A Hot Potato
Definition: An issue that is difficult to deal with.
Example: He dropped the topic like a hot potato