lunes, 16 de abril de 2018

Arrival and first day

A dream becoming true. Here I am, as a student in Oxford, living in a college for a course.

I arrived on Sunday. Waiting for boarding to Birmingham, i met some very young students, around eleven or twelve years old. When i saw them, scattered through the hall, my headteacher soul sprang: "My goodness! Why are these students without an adult?! Why are not grouped together?!" I couldn't resist the temptation to ask them those questions. They were living a full year course near Birmingham and were returning after having easter holidays with their families (School Easter Holidays in England are two weeks long, after Easter Sunday). I was amazed how independent, how resolute, how resourceful they appeared being so young. Today, my course manager told me that in England, everybody is surprised about how young the children we send from Spain are.

In my first day of the course, we've been talking about our schools. Another chance to be proud about ours, Colegio JABY. In this occasion, the reasons to fall into the sin of Pride was that our Erasmus+ programs are the only ones I have known about here that are not fully english learning driven. Our projects are always about innovation, about sharing experiences, about methodological and technological change. But most of the other projects are simply about english learning and teaching, led by english teachers. Of course, this is not a bad thing, on the contrary. But i feel that our projects are more holistic, more complete, more complex. They involve the whole school, not only a small part of the faculty and are more ambitious in theme and actions, i think.

A very interesting activity we made today was to visit the most famous Oxford University Press. The money-packed OUP is very important division of the University of Oxford. AND its financial heart. The OUP sells millions of books, most of them textbooks and, specially, english learning textbooks. The profits are so... (SORRY, they are a charity, they are not allowed by law to have profits, the have "surplus")... The "surplus" are so high that they provide HALF the university budget... That's why the University can afford expensive buildings and equipment and a numerous faculty. Of course, i thought about our inititative-less universities, always begging for public money instead of looking or improving their own funding sources and even with students demonstrating against "bussiness in university", as it would be an evil thing. Oxford is lucky to have a succesful brand. But they managed to get the most of it selling related products. Thinking about how Salamanca or Alcala being incapables to have a relatively similar success with spanish language teaching and learning makes me sad. Oops, another sin: envy.

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