Five Tips to survive if you don’t speak English in school

Samosa Media provided a series of bi-lingual creative film workshops for Year 9 students at St Gabriel’s School Lambeth, from November 23 to January 24.

Samosa Media provided a series of bi-lingual creative film workshops for Year 9 students at St Gabriel’s School Lambeth, from November 23 to January 24.

The focus of the workshops was to help improve students’ confidence, language and wellbeing through movement, acting and film.

The workshops were led and delivered by Victor Rios from Samosa Media (who is himself bi-lingual) and engaged the students in both English and Spanish. Natalie Marshall from Samosa Media also participated in the workshops.

A short film made by the students with support from Victor Rios entitled Five Tips to survive if you don’t speak English in school, can be viewed here.

This is the fourth year in succession that Samosa Media has delivered bi-lingual film workshops at St Gabriels. Previous films by the students can be viewed here.

Claudia Lopez-Prieto, St Gabriel’s School EAL Teacher and EAL Raising Achievement Coordinator commented:

The Samosa film and media workshops led by Victor play a core role in the EAL curriculum of the school. As an English as an Additional Language teacher, witnessing the transformative impact of these workshops on students’ confidence, bilingual learning, and pedagogy has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. Nestled in a culturally diverse community, Saint Gabriel’s College is a microcosm of the globalised world we live in. The student body reflects a rich tapestry of languages, backgrounds, and experiences. Recognising the need to foster inclusivity and empower bilingual learners, the school embraced the idea of film and media workshops as a powerful tool for bridging linguistic and cultural gaps.

The creative work emanating from these workshops is nothing short of extraordinary. From scriptwriting to cinematography, students are immersed in a collaborative process that transcends language barriers. Working in both English and Spanish, the workshops provide a unique space where students can express themselves authentically in their mother tongue while simultaneously mastering a second language. Victor’s guidance ensures that each student’s cultural identity is celebrated, creating films that are not only linguistically diverse but also culturally rich. The narrative landscapes these students explore become a canvas for their unique experiences, fostering a sense of pride in their linguistic heritage.

One of the most palpable outcomes of these workshops is the boost in students’ confidence. For many EAL learners, mastering a second language can be a daunting task. The film and media workshops offer a safe environment where students feel empowered to use English creatively. This newfound confidence extends beyond language skills, positively impacting their overall academic performance and social interactions.

Victor as a relatable guide. One of the inherent challenges in teaching EAL students is the struggle to learn English as a secondary language; Victor’s Latin American background and bilingual proficiency make him an ideal guide for these students. His relatability and shared linguistic experience create a sense of connection, breaking down barriers and fostering an environment of trust.

In an approach to representation, Victor’s Latin American heritage brings a refreshing perspective to the workshops. Students see in him a role model who not only shares their linguistic challenges but also embodies success in navigating them. Victor becomes a tangible example of achievement, inspiring students to embrace their bilingual journey with pride. The film and media workshops at Saint Gabriel’s College, under Victor’s adept guidance, are more than just creative endeavours. They are a catalyst for change, fostering confidence, celebrating linguistic diversity, and redefining pedagogical approaches for EAL learners. As the students embark on this cinematic journey, they are not only crafting films, but also shaping a future where language is a bridge rather than a barrier.

Student Feeback and pictures from the workshops are also below.

Why did you want to attend The Samosa Media workshops?

 “Because I wanted to try something new.”

“Because I want to gain confidence in speaking in front of everyone.”

What did you learn from the workshop?

“To not be embarrassed, to not be afraid of cameras and to act and know how to improvise.”

“A lot of things, experiences, how to project my voice and more.”

“I am not shy anymore when speaking in public.”

What tips would you give to students who are in the process of learning to speak English?

“That’s don’t be embarrassed to talk and if you don’t know any English just use your hands.”

“Study a lot, read a lot of books in English, and listen to a lot of music in English.”

“Not be afraid when talking in English.”

Any other feedback you would like to add.

“I really liked this and I’m going to miss you guys.”

“I enjoyed a lot because it was fun, and I felt really comfortable being myself. It was something new and I liked it.”

“I like this workshop because Victor is cool and funny and has helped me with my confidence.”

For further information on the workshop method, please email Samosa Media at info@thesamosa.org.uk

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