Outcomes BHIEC Tweed visit Oct 2008
Greatly improved oral skills. Students gradually gained in confidence in their English speaking abilities to the extent that all students addressed the full assembly at Wollumbin HS and were confidently communicating in English to their host family and others by the end of the visit. One student progressed from being able to only utter 3 or 4 word responses to direct questions at the start of the visit to being able to give an extended and coherent reflection on his experience to the whole school assembly.
Significant improvement in writing: All students wrote daily journal entries about their experiences. Correction of grammar and spelling of the journals provided a great opportunity for students to learn directly from their mistakes. All students reported this to have been extremely valuable. This type of learning - error correction of extended unassisted texts has great impact and can "fast track" noticeable progression.
Other curriculum areas:
The visit was a great boost to students' understanding of the physical geography of a very different part of Australia.
The visit provided a great confidence boost for BHIEC students. It takes a lot of courage for some of these students to share their personal stories with anyone, particularly people they don't know well. The overwhelmingly positive response from host students, families, and community members made the BHIEC students feel comfortable and valued - hosts were really interested in all. their conversations.
Students felt accepted - like they became a member of their host family. For some students who are still working through their trauma from refugee and sometimes war experience it was very therapeutic to have this trip. For many this was their first experience outside Sydney since coming to Australia. Many commented on thoughts about the country they came from. The topography, farms, rivers and vegetation stimulated these reflections.
Social and Cultural:
BHIEC students formed strong and lasting friendships with each other, with Chatswood IEC and with Wollumbin HS students. They keep in contact with each other and have arranged to meet each other and enjoy each other's company outside school times.
Hosts at Tweed learned about the culture, educational and personal experiences of BHIEC students. BHIEC students understand what it's like to be a teenager growing up in a rural setting. BHIEC students identify much more strongly with Australia - they feel accepted - less "foreign".