English: Making Connections in the Modern World
The aim of this project is to provide secondary students at the local school with the opportunity to connect with the world around them through English language and the introduction of technology in the classroom. This project will take place in a very small town and, due to financial constraints, many of the students here may never have the opportunity to travel abroad. Nevertheless, they have expressed interest in learning about other countries and cultures, so we have created this project in an attempt to bring the world to them. We would like to purchase a projector, a projector screen, and a smart TV to utilize modern technology and the plethora of available online resources during lessons. We are also hoping to purchase a new chalkboard, a laminator, and class sets of the Pearson “FOCUS” textbooks to create more interactive, engaging, and effective English lessons. The English teachers at the school have already raised enough money to buy a laptop for the English classroom and the town council has committed to contributing toward the cost of the TV. In addition, we will be hosting three trainings for the teachers in the community regarding these new resources and the benefits of using technology in the classroom. We think this project will be very beneficial to students because it will provide them with the motivation and the skills necessary—familiarity with technology and knowledge of English—to interact with and be active participants in our global community.
We have been invested in using technology and online resources to create more authentic and effective English lessons since long before we began the grant-writing process for this project. For nearly two years now, we have been using online resources and even creating resources of our own to act as supplements to and, at times, replacements for activities in the state textbooks. These activities have proved useful during lessons because they introduce the students to more authentic and grammatically-correct material, but they take a long time to find/make—hence the reason we would like to buy new textbooks as part of this grant project. In addition, we spent all of February, March, and April planning this summer’s English language camp. In the end, we had over twenty in-depth lesson plans that integrated English-language learning with other subjects, such as arts and crafts, music, science, and history. These lessons were more interactive than regular school lessons and they engaged the students by focusing on using English as a means to learn new information or accomplish a task, rather than learning English simply for the sake of learning English. We think this practical approach to English-language learning benefits the students in that it prepares them for real-world communication situations and provides them with a greater sense of accomplishment. We are currently in the process of compiling our lesson plans into a booklet for the Department of Education and are planning to host a seminar in the coming months about integrating art, history, science, and technology into English lessons. Finally, we have already begun the process of collecting physical resources and equipment to add to our English classroom. We recently received a shipment from one organization and we are currently working together with an elementary school in the U.S. to organize a book drive, in the hopes of creating an English-language library for our school. We have also independently raised funds to purchase new bookshelves and a laptop computer for the English classroom, and the town council has committed to contributing financially to this project. The teachers at our school are invested in this project and, as we hope you can see, have been working toward the project goal—creating a more effective and engaging learning environment—since before we decided to pursue this grant project.
The main goal of this project is to create more interesting, engaging, and effective English lessons—this applies to the teachers, as well as the students. Having the ability to use technology and new, better textbooks during lessons will make the teachers’ jobs easier and more interesting. Logic dictates that they will continue to use the materials purchased with grant funds following the closing of the grant, rather than going back to doing things in a more difficult, less interesting way. That being said, as long as the technological equipment is well cared for—which it will be, since the technology training session will teach everyone how to properly use, store, and care for all the equipment—we don’t anticipate sustainability being a problem with this particular project. The teachers are aware of the reoccurring costs associated with this project: sheets for the laminator and a new bulb for the projector when it needs to be replaced. The funds for these materials will be raised through fundraising projects (like bake sales or coin wars) or through contributions from teachers. To make this project sustainable and to create a larger impact, we will keep record of successful lessons and activities—and we will continue collecting or creating supplemental materials—to be used by and shared with others in the future.