CultureWorks students ready themselves for busiest time of the year, keeping their calendars close by

CultureWorks Award winners for this term
CultureWorks Award winners for this term

At this time of school year, the most watched device for ESL students is not a computer. And no, not the student behind or in front of you either. Even pizza at lunch is set aside.

The key now is the calendar. It may be on the wall, but many are still planning where that wall may be and when they have access to it. A smart phone is a likely place to find the dates required.

CultureWorks students are no different than anyone else in the busiest time of the year.

So let’s take a look at some events in August, most of which play into September.

Events taking place at our ESL school

CultureWorks students will be beginning a new term or joining the classes for the first time in London, Ont., or Ottawa.

Wednesday, Sept. 5. No problem.

But what happened in August?

Well, some were packing their bags and leaving their homes in sites far away, getting prepared to come to Canada for the first time.

Others were making certain they graduate from CultureWorks so that they could enter university, either down the street or in another Canadian city.

And some, unfortunately, were heading home to Saudi Arabia.

(More on that in next week’s blog as we look at the recall, along with the tale of one CultureWorks student who managed to stay in Canada).

Meanwhile, last day each term for CultureWorks students includes the delightful poster presentations, where Level 6 and Level 7 two-person teams show off the results of their eight weeks of work.

A closer look at the poster presentations and Independent Study class

Wednesday, Aug. 15. Let’s get started.

In the morning, teachers, moderators and even the CW management wandered through to gaze at pieces of work that seem out of this world in the degree of talent required.

CultureWorks teacher Karen Preston headed up this term’s version of what is known as the Independent Study class at our ESL school.

Karen said the focus of the program is to let the students select a project they are interested in and “run with it” from beginning to end.

“They start Week 1. They are putting together an idea, working with their partner if they have one, perhaps doing a bit of background research,” Karen said.

“By second or third week, they have put together a project proposal where they have to put all their ideas together, look to see how they might put together a project and depending on what level, they will have to present that information in one way or another, either just to the teacher or to the teacher and other classmates to give them feedback and further ideas.

“And they continue to build from there to Week 8 when they actually present their entire project to everyone.”

All sounds simple? No, not really.

Corina and Yiding share their poster presentation project

Corina and Yiding, both in their graduating term, took on a tremendously interesting subject in which the legal and trading name was MC-Dicer. It is an application software that is designed to solve “people’s small decisions that are difficult to make in life.”

Whew, sound tough? That would be true.

“At first, I think it’s a important topic,” Yiding said. “Because it’s a normal situation in our life and we have to face the situation in decisiveness every day, every time in our life. Like what kind of clothes do I have to wear? I prefer Chinese food or Korean food for my lunch? On and on.”

Yiding and Corina designed an app for their Independent Study class
Yiding and Corina designed an app for their Independent Study class

Why choose this subject?

“Because we think it’s an interesting topic and Yiding agreed with me,” Corina said. “At first, we just think it’s interesting and second because we just think that way works for us, so we wanted to make it more professional. We wanted to create an app and we will create more games.”

Yiding and Corina’s poster presentation
Yiding and Corina’s poster presentation

Karen said the effort put forward by such students as Corina and Yiding is noted each term.

“I love how much effort they put into it when they have something that they want to work on, that it’s not us assigning a textbook page or us giving them a topic to work on,” Karen said.

“They are choosing something that they find interesting and then they tend to put more energy into that and want to share and are proud of what they are sharing on this day.”

Corina and Yiding talk about their experience with the CultureWorks ESL program

At the end of the morning presentations and before awards were handed out and the cake consumed, Corina and Yiding took time out to talk big picture about the CultureWorks ESL program. Both are entering King’s University College in September.

“I think it’s a good time because it helped me to seek the life in Canada and CultureWorks helps us to make friends,” Corina, now 20, said.

“We can just enjoy some of the local life and we have activities. And actually it just makes us feel better. We are not afraid of going into the university in September.”

Yiding noted the fact that their final day at CultureWorks ESL learning was on Brescia University College property.

“I think the biggest part is that it’s located in Brescia and we know that most of the students who study in CultureWorks are prepared for their university life,” Yiding, 21, said.

“You can see and talk with the university students: ‘What do you think of the university life? What kind of study habits do you have?’ We can learn from these students who are already studying on this campus.”

Next up for Corina and Yiding? First day at King’s?

Thursday, Sept. 6. You’re welcome.

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