With each passing day, students are improving their understanding of the English language, growing in their knowledge of American culture, and building lasting relationships with friends and teachers. One of the ways that students are growing at SEI is in their ability to understand and implement life skills. Life skills are vital for students to learn, especially those studying in a cross-cultural environment.
At SEI, many students choose to take one of our life skills courses to help them learn practical tips for their everyday lives. Topics of the class include health and hydration, etiquette, critical thinking, social interaction skills, teamwork, and situational role-playing. For example, today students learned about different worldviews through an activity with balloons. SEI students are enjoying learning practical tools in the classroom that will help them to have a successful future.
Research tells us that one of the best ways to help students learn a new language is to apply their skills in an authentic context. English teachers Mrs. Reichert and Mrs. Cochrum applied this principle today in a collaborative activity between their two classes of Core English. Students worked together to read and follow a recipe to bake brownies, complete with tasty mix-ins of their choice. This activity combines several vital skills for language development: reading instructions, following a sequence of events, communicating with a partner, and interpreting language in context. Students were also able to practice many of the “soft skills” that SEI and American employers value: interpersonal collaboration, confident communication, and application of skills. This activity also includes a built-in reward: delicious dessert!
Staff Spotlight: Ms. Britta Cassel
This year, Ms. Britta Cassel has returned to SEI for her third year as an RTA! Ms. Cassel is an alumna of Wheaton Academy, where she was able to develop friendships with many of the international students there. These friendships led her to work at SEI, where she enjoys caring for and mentoring students as well as learning more about their home cultures.
In the fall, Ms. Cassel will return to Wheaton College for her senior year of university. After graduation, her goal is to become a first grade teacher and to meet the needs of each of her students as they develop the fundamentals of reading and writing. We know that these future students will be lucky to have a teacher as caring and committed as Ms. Cassel!