Wednesday, August 25, 2010

back on topic: right, I'm in Chile.

I've been posting lots of Prop 8 rants lately. Partly this is because of all the recent juicy news, and the opportunity for me to sink my mind into some interesting-yet-accessible legal stuff. Also, though, it's been a rough couple of months, and it's a way for me to escape that's slightly more creative than watching TV. I realize it's probably not what you're here for, because you're likely my friend and you likely already agree with me, and you'd rather read about how I'm doing and what life here is like. I'll try to focus more on that.

Today I went to my first English Network (Red de Ingles) meeting, a gathering of the local Chilean English teachers. We're encouraged to go to these, although the one here in Valparaiso only started recently: this is the third meeting, and the first that anyone gave me the date and time for. They wanted me to talk about my experience teaching here. There weren't any more details than that, but I do have a lot to say on that topic, so I wasn't worried.

First up was some woman from some organization talking about the SIMCE standardized test that Chilean students will be taking in October. It's a shortened version of the Test of English for International Communication, and the students are probably going to do very poorly, if they can be persuaded to bother taking it at all. The teachers were all raising eyebrows and sharing mutters of incredulity. In a country with functional English education, it's probably a perfectly reasonable test. In Chile...well, when Cambridge University surveyed Chilean students' English levels, they had 5 levels, from Basic to Advanced. They had to add 2 levels below Basic to produce meaningful results, because 67% of students fell into the Basic level.

Next up turned out to be Stephanie, a WorldTeach volunteer from the 4-month program. She didn't have a lot to say, I think in large part because she's only been in Chile for a month, and in her classroom for a week. She's also a decade younger than me, and not everyone has my big mouth.

Next post: my turn!

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