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Bungay teachers chosen for trip

PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 May 2010 | UPDATED: 09:40 01 August 2010

THE British Council has funded two Bungay teachers to visit Toulouse in France to learn about education in the country.

Pauline McGowan, headteacher at Ellingham and Woodton Primary Schools and her deputy head Michelle Ireson were two of 20 teachers from Norfolk who went on the two week trip to spend time in primary schools and establish links so that children here can have pen-friends and will eventually be able to visit.

THE British Council has funded two Bungay teachers to visit Toulouse in France to learn about education in the country.

Pauline McGowan, headteacher at Ellingham and Woodton Primary Schools and her deputy head Michelle Ireson were two of 20 teachers from Norfolk who went on the two week trip to spend time in primary schools and establish links so that children here can have pen-friends and will eventually be able to visit.

Mr McGowan said: “The first week was spent at the IUFM in Toulouse, part of Toulouse University dealing with teacher training. We experienced six hours of lectures and seminars each day in French. It was really hard work, listening and trying to understand everything which was being said, and then undertaking tasks, such as story writing and delivering talks all in French.

“My language skills improved immensely during the week to such an extent that we were able to go to the cinema on the Saturday to see Alice in Wonderland, not only in 3D, but also in French.”

During the second week Mrs McGowan and Mrs Ireson spent their time in the Gers department, west of Toulouse.

“We take for granted interactive whiteboards and computers, but there were none to be seen there, except the odd computer which was outdated in our schools several years ago,” said Mrs McGowan.

“We had to ask the 'Mairie' (town hall) for the loan of a projector so that we could show the pupils power points and photographs which our children had prepared for us to take. The whole system is very different.”

Mrs McGowan said one of the most important things for her was desperately trying to follow what was being said during the lectures and the realisation that she was undergoing what some of her pupils do everyday.

“As a teacher, I know that not all our pupils have the language skills to follow everything that is said in every classroom, but being put in that position really brought it home.

“Michelle and I have brought back with us a wealth of experiences and resources to share in our schools and promote more understanding in our pupils.”

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