Day 5 Tuesday 17th May 2022 – Afternoon
Visit and Tour of the Colegio Experimental Bilingue de Grecia
After an excellent lunch as guests of UNAGUAS, Maria drove us to the Liceo Experimental Bilingue de Grecia, where we were greeted by three final year geography students, Lester, Adrianna, and Viorela, whose command of English and manners were impeccable. They showed us around the whole school, including two ongoing English classes, where Mike was invited to talk to the pupils in English describing life in England and his observations on Costa Rica. So important is English, that the timetable allocates 14 hours per week for each student to learn English, compared to only 4 hours per week for Spanish lessons and 3 hours per week for French! The school seemed very well appointed with classrooms and positive posters and slogans on the walls advocating effort and achievement. There was a bias towards the arts, languages, and social sciences. However, there seemed to be a shortage of computers and a lack of science labs.
Laura Chaves, the Academic Director, also accompanied us around the school. Mike and Sheena were introduced to the school principal, who welcomed us in Spanish and was very complementary about the recent partnership between the Highcrest Academy in High Wycombe where 6th form Geography pupils were having joint Zoom lessons with teachers in Grecia and Highcrest and vice versa. Some of the pupils had establish email “pen pals” with fellow pupils in High Wycombe.
After the tour, we were invited to the staff room where we had drinks and homemade plain and cheese tortillas, as well as gluten and sugar free snacks. Maria even met one of her former English teachers. Mike told the pupils and staff in Spanish what Colette Barker, the Head of Geography at Highcrest Academy, had reported about the benefits to teachers and pupils, of the initial partnership with the Colegio Experimental Bilingue de Grecia. Colette hoped that this liaison would continue through the following academic year. Lester then told us of his positive experiences linking with a pupil from Highcrest Academy who had similar interests to Lester.
There was even time for a photo opportunity with Mike and Sheena King from Wycombe For Fairtrade, Colegio pupils Lester, Adrianna, and Viorela, Maria Angela from CoopeVictoria, Laura Chaves, the Academic Director, and the English Teacher from the Liceo.
We were made to feel extremely welcome at the school. Mike and Sheena King were particularly impressed by the pupils and by the positive learning experiences and encouragement which permeated through the school. Our 2-hour visit seemed to flash by, and it was time to say our “farewells” and express our thanks to our friendly hosts at the Liceo.
Caption: Maria Angela’s photo of Mike and Sheena King with the pupil guides, Lester, Adrianna, and Fiorella to their left. On the extreme left-hand side is Laura Chaves, the Deputy Academic Director at the Liceo and the lead link teacher with Highcrest Academy in High Wycombe. Maria Angela is on the extreme left with an old English teacher.