Learning English & Improving Vocabulary
The activity was based around a large-scale image of a human body on the floor. One half of the body was a female and the other half a male. After the children enjoyed a fun painting/colouring activity, they were asked to pick-up paper cards with positive, negative, and neutral words to describe the two separate genders. The paper cards had two sides with descriptive words in English and also translated in German. The children had to think about personality traits, career, family life, hobbies, and the living environment of the woman and man.
Through Observation: The Primary School children had a pre-determined understanding of the roles of man and woman in society. I saw a repetitive pattern in the choice of words, and it was interesting to see how the younger ages are developing their thinking and influencing one another.
Creativity in Education
Hermann-Lietz Boarding School, Germany, 2020
As a native English speaker and an Arts Practitioner, I focused on developing the children's vocabulary through creativity and improving their bilingual speaking skills. Throughout the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, I led a series of safe Saturday Art Clubs in the Kunst Haus and outdoor activities with a small number of pupils. In collaboration, the pupils created their interpretation of Vincent Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers'.
In this section, I have included a short interview about my experience at Haubinda Boarding School, and you can find out more info in my visual Blog 'Living & Working Abroad in a Pandemic'. Scroll down and take a look!
English & Art Classes
I developed a weekly creative schedule for the 1-hour classes with the Primary School children. Working with the most gifted and talented, I was interested to combine imagination, play, coloring, and word memory games into learning a new language. It was important to create a unisex activity for boys and girls to work alongside one another where they can express themselves freely.
Improvement: I arrived at the adapted and better version of the activity from trail and error. Previously, I created hand-made paper dolls of a man and a woman. The early thinking was also about the life of the two characters, where the Primary School children role-play and describe the two separate genders.
Group Orientated Activities
As the activity was presented to non-English speaking children, I used a large and simple instruction manual in German. Throughout, I noticed the Primary School children talking to each other about their color choices, helping each other out with words, and discussing about the placement of the descriptive words (on the male or female side). Overall, it appeared to be an exciting and fun way for them to learn another language!
Lockdown & Pandemic Creativity
For the Saturday Art Clubs in the Kunst Haus, I worked on another large-scale artwork that was separated into sections. Inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s painting ‘The Sunflower’ and the idea of all the students creating their unique interpretations of the colours. I drew the basic outline to present to the class, displayed books and materials of the original painting, and asked the pupils (from 6 - 11 grade) to take a section of the sunflower and to create their own version.
Large Scale Vincent Van Gogh 'Sunflowers'
Created at a time of global struggle, anxiety, and uncertainty, Vincent Van Gogh's 'Sunflower' represents feelings of optimism for the future, joy, unity, collaboration, and togetherness. Each Saturday Art Club welcomed new pupils, young to the older ones, who worked on top of someone else's existing artwork.
The Final Result
Truly created in a collaborative effort, it was an achievement to see the final result! Currently, the artwork belongs to Hermann-Lietz Boarding School in Germany.
Haubinda Boarding School’s Newsletter
Interview with Orinta Pranaitytė
Published: April 2020
1. So, Orinta, tell us a little bit about yourself:
Well, where do I start! I have lived on planet Earth for 28 years, I’m a creative individual, with some fire in my soul, and I’m proud to say that my roots are originally from Lithuania. It’s a small Baltic country, with the famous golden ambers washed on the seashores. I immigrated to live in England at a young age, where I received all of my education (from Primary School up to University level). I studied contemporary performance art, gained my Master's Degree in Fine Art, and used my creative skills in just about every job. Did you know that my star sign is Sagittarius? The Archer is a symbol of courage, high goals and adventure-seeking (and that’s basically how I ended up here!).
2. How did you come to Haubinda?
I luckily found Haubinda, or Haubinda found me at a time when I was yearning to travel, work aboard and to gain experience in an educational environment. Even though I was doing well in my job in England, where I focused on art therapy with seniors, I needed a change! I took a leap of faith and contacted Haubinda Boarding School through www.workaway.org. My previous childhood memories of life in Lüdenscheid brought me closer to Germany than any other European country. I packed my bags, left the small town in Boston, UK, got on that flight in Stansted Airport and excitedly welcomed the new experience in Haubinda Boarding School!
3. What are your tasks as English assistant?
My weekly schedule includes work with the 7th - 10th graders in private tutoring (Nachhilfes), where I help the pupils with their grammar, reading and listening comprehension. Throughout the week, I attend English classes and assist the teachers by supporting the pupils who need a little bit of extra help. Also, I check the 13th grader's written work and provide advice. Additionally, I use my skills in creativity as an English Assistant! I plan a weekly art & language activity with the Primary School children, with the aim to further develop their vocabulary. I lead a fun Saturday Art Club in the Art House with a small group of students (7 - 16-year-olds), and together we create interactive artwork.
4. This job usually only lasts a year. Do you have any plans for the future yet?
Yes, I have plans to continue working in education. I enjoy working with young people, and this was always the natural career path for me after university. I wish to be an Art Teacher or to work in the area of Art Therapy. Whether that’s in Germany, England, or in Lithuania!
5. What are you going to miss from Haubinda?
So far, I have been working at Haubinda for only a couple of months, and I can say that it’s a very therapeutic environment to live and work. As an English Assistant, I feel that there is good work and life balance, which I haven’t experienced in other jobs. For example, you can always find time for leisure activities, sports and walks in the forest, which I really enjoy. Most of all, I will miss the energy of the place, the beautiful surrounding, helping the students, and seeing their potential, as well as living in a supportive community.