After our 3.5 hour drive from Vlad on Saturday morning, we arrived to the enthusiastic greetings from Tanya Ischenko, teacher of English at Municipal Educational Institution Secondary School No 7, “Edelweiss,” in Nakhodka and 200 students. The pace had us going all day, but it was a tremendous opportunity to see students from each school located throughout the immediate region of Nakhodka and learn more about the schools in Far
East Russia. So, today, we and the U.S. teachers traveled to participate in the Second Annual Junior G8 Summit that Tatiana, with help of teachers from the region, had organized for students from each of the schools in the surrounding area. Although it was a fairly long trip, it was a great opportunity to see the countryside.
Tatiana had organized a whole student Summit day at her school which was attended by 200 Russian teens who represented their schools and had been studying the G8 countries. So, this “summit” was a gathering of the representatives from each school who represented the G8 countries. Using Power Point as visual support, the student representatives made presentations in English representing their G8 country, e.g., Japan, US, France, South Africa, Italy, etc., and its position on four major areas: environment, education, economy, and natural and industrial disasters. Then, we participated with the Russian teachers to facilitate four
“modules” of interactive work with the students for the afternoon. Wendy and Becky facilitated the final session where selected student representatives created a set of recommendations to the world gleaned from the discussions held in each of the preceding sessions. As Wendy and I facilitated overseeing the writing of the sets of recommendations in each of the four areas, we were absolutely amazed at how comprehensively they understood the subject, how well prepared they were, and perhaps most of all, the quality and caliber of their English. The students created a quick power point to present to the student participants during the closing session. It was truly an amazing day for all of us, and we have taken away strong evidence of the importance of language instruction that begins early and involves learning through academic content.
One of our wonderful U.S. teachers wrote to Tatiana after the Summit: “The program you ran today was exceptionally well planned and productive. I can only imagine how much work that you put into organizing the student J8 Summit but to include hosting visiting teachers from Russia and the USA in the program at the same time is literally incredible . . . I am very proud to say that I am associated with such a professional educator such as you.”
We close the day with tremendous gratitude to our in-country partner, Elena Novikova, Director of the Asia Pacific School, Maria Lakienko, teacher of English at APS, our wonderful and patient driver, Sascha, our US and Russian teachers, and the wonderful teachers and students of Nakhodka for their gracious hospitality and inspiration – and certain to Tatiana for her incredible organization of this opportunity for everyone,
~Becky and Wendy