ESL Service Learning Project 2024

Jointly with 39th School

For twenty years running, the ESL Department has been organizing and conducting the annual service learning program during the second half of the second semester every year. This program was started by ESL Department Chair Ms. Roumyana Ivanova in the spring of 2005, and it has been an important part of the ESL Curriculum ever since. The purpose of the program is to introduce the idea of service learning to the 8th grade students and to inspire them to participate in similar projects during their time at the College. It is organized in conjunction with grades 1-4 at 39th School in Mladost 2.

The program’s purpose is to have our 8th graders work together with elementary school students toward a common goal. The 8th graders are expected to prepare game worksheets, make a board game and share them with students from the local elementary school. All 8th graders also do research on methods of teaching English and analyze them to determine their benefits. This supports the students when working on the games for their younger partners. By having the 8th graders act as older buddies for the younger students, we motivate them to develop their English skills and cultivate pride in their work. On the other hand, the elementary school students learn some English as well as receive the finished products as gifts.

An important part of the program is the opportunity for our students to work on the project pieces in our SCIFI Lab. We have our students work in their groups on the boards, game pieces, and other elements needed for their board games. It is a novel experience for our students that we find quite beneficial for developing their team-work skills and improving the quality of the games they make together.

Meanwhile, the 8th graders visit their buddies at 39th School on three separate occasions and have them work on game-like activities to learn some new English vocabulary and basic sentence skills. The culminating activity of the program tооk place today, May 10, when our younger partners visited campus to be introduced to the completed games and play together with their partners from the 8th grade. Next, the ESL teachers will deliver the games to the respective classrooms at 39th School in Mladost 2.

The 8th graders’ journal entries highlight how useful and meaningful the program is. Most of them state that they have learned a lot during the program about working with partners and about organizing their time well.