On Friday morning we saw Gabriele and Chiara drawing something on the wall of the patio.
Students and teachers were gathering for the last day of the summer school.
As usual there were chats, laughs, mugs of tea and cups of coffee while everyone was still waking up.
On the last day we were supposed to sum up the summer school, but nobody felt that it was needed: Gabriele and Chiara spontaneously expressed the best summary of the summer school with that image drawn on the wall.
We gathered around the picture to take a photo of such a special group of participants -students and teachers-, all feeling that the image behind us was expressing the core of this first summer school after Covid. And also the first one at Sands school.
After two years of break due to Covid we wanted to restart with a theme connected with “community”.
We were all carrying the impact of lockdowns, social distance, remote learning.
We all came form different places and cultural or national backgrounds. We all were longing for being together again, for learning together and living a good experience together.
A community of learners
How do you achieve a sense of community in a short term when all over the world social life is disrupted? When human relations are extremely conflictual?
When the challenge of understanding and listening to one another are so poor and in some places so miserable that human voices can’t be listened anymore as bombs, explosions, shelling, killing and fears are submitting people in all countries involved and even worldwide? who would like to go to war rather than enjoy their life?
Well, I confess that I was quite concern until Easter about the possibility of running the summer school, then I was even more troubled about the possibility to create an enjoyable oasis where the human identity could shine over those challenges.
It happens that life is taking something off on one side but gives back on the other. It happens that life opens a new door where others have been closed. It happens that we can still enjoy the life in this beautiful world despite all those horrible events.
In the last few days before we started, Sean came up with a generous, unexpected offer to teach… I felt it like a gift of life! As if someone gives you a pain relief when your back is aching…
The first day everyone was a bit on-hold, not knowing what to expect and what was going to be: this is clearly a quite common start point. The wonder was to see how after just a couple of days each student began to flourish in self confidence, in familiarity, in interacting with one another speaking English even during break-time and amid group of the same nationality!
English as means of communications
Although the actual English or grammar lessons were quite limited this summer, we saw that English became in fact the means of communications in our small, short-term community!
It simply happened by getting connected in a learning experience that was really engaging as the contents delivered by Sean spoke not only to the brain of the learners, but to their heart too!
A magic! A wonder!
Thank you to the team of teachers: Sean, Emma, Marc, Georgia, Duncan, Adrian and everyone else involved with a bigger or smaller role.
Thank you to the friendly school that hosted this summer pilot project!
This Summer school 2022 at Sands, with its common learning experience, will stay in our memory for a very long time.
Its legacy is in the image that Gabriele and Chiara drew on the wall of the school and in the message of the Native Americans that Sean delivered with warmth on the second day of the summer school: